Normal: Your government is FIXED

By:  Diane Benjamin

The citizens of Normal probably already knew “outsiders” aren’t allowed to participate in their government, how many Trustees have quit during their term so the Mayor could appoint a replacement?  The last Mayor did the same thing so incumbents have an edge in the next election.  I expect Chris Koos to do the same thing after the 2018 elections.

This is far worse.

Remember when the Normal Town Council Moved, Seconded, and voted on offering early retirements in 18 seconds?  https://blnnews.com/2017/09/20/normal-meets-for-thirteen-minutes/

Why was there no discussion?

Because the financial state of Normal had already been discussed behind closed doors where citizens weren’t privy to just how bad things are.  We still don’t know, it’s a secret so the Council can keep pretending everything is fine.  Offering early retirements means it isn’t.

On August 11, 2017 the Council held a SECRET meeting – Executive Session.  See the agenda here:  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2690

The Bills for the August 30, 2017 meeting had a payment to Sumek and Associates for $5.345.82 labeled “Planning Session”.  See PDF page 10:   http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2708

I did a Freedom of Information request for this planning session.  This is what I received:

“Planning” isn’t a legal exemption for holding a secret meeting.

The Council met for 3 1/2 hours behind closed doors in violation of the Open Meetings Act.    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=84&ChapterID=2

 Sec. 1. Policy. It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business. In order that the people shall be informed, the General Assembly finds and declares that it is the intent of this Act to ensure that the actions of public bodies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. 

All elected officials are required to take the Open meetings Act training.  New trustee  Chemberly Cummings had taken the Open Meetings Act training on June 16, 2017.  Did she attend this illegal meeting and not remember the training she just had?  All of the Trustees and Mayor have taken the training.  See this FOIA:  OMA training certificates

We don’t know who attended this “Planning Session” because the minutes haven’t been released and probably never will be.  The law says minutes of Executive Session minutes must be reviewed periodically to see which ones can be released.  it doesn’t require ever releasing them.  Obviously no one who attended this SECRET meting cared about the law.

It gets worse.

I filed a Request for Review with Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office:

 

This week they told me they never received it! Now it’s past 60 days since the Executive Session, so they refuse to investigate!

No justice for taxpayers!

Chris Koos and company are allowed to scheme against you in secret and prosecutors don’t care.

Just how bad are Normal’s finances?  It’s a secret!

I’m going to try one more avenue for justice.  If that doesn’t work the taxpayers of Normal will be further fleeced by their government. Law enforcement isn’t willing to stop them.

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Comments

  1. Normal is in trouble. They can only hide it for so long. Their grand plans are falling into ruin and Uptown (downtown Normal) boondoggle is about to start spiraling downward.

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    • I’m waiting for a FOIA I hope doesn’t prove how bad things are.

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      • I think it is bad and getting worse by the day. For the taxpayers of Normal, I hope I am wrong. Now we have the gathering storm of State Farm layoffs to add to what is already happening? I really can’t see how their financial situation is not headed for major problems. The mayor and company have bet the farm on things staying the same and as we have seen things are changing rapidly.

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    • True, but hey, you can rent an apartment in the new Uptown Building for a couple grand, or more a month! So they got that going for them…:)

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  2. WHO in their RIGHT mind would pay THAT kind of money to live in UPCHUCK! If they have that kind of money they would live on a farm or rural estate and pay a ground keeper, etc. You have NO yard, NO privacy, and NO real freedom! Will they let you do target practice, have a garden or raise flamingoes or koalas?
    And you can BET that they’ll up the rent EVERY chance they get.
    That KIND of rent WOULD work in say, New York, Chicago, etc. but NOT in uptown…
    But you probably WOULD also get invited to ALL the KOOS fundraisers-whoopee!

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  3. Normal has run out of other people’s money. My hunch is that these buyouts are just the beginning. This is the first attempt to stop the bleeding…a simple band-aid over a gaping wound. It won’t work and Koos and company will be forced to think of more “solutions”. I’m with Lawrenece451, Uptown is a boondoggle showpiece that never made economic sense from day 1. Two or three vacant shops will begin the process of turning it into Downtown Bloomington (which is not a compliment, Tari). Normal will try to keep up appearances. I wonder if they will “help” Uptown businesses when they begin to struggle or announce closures. Hmmm…

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    • Yes there was no economic “real world” justification for the Down Town boondoggle. Now we have a decline in enrollment at ISU which is going to continue to decline as the disruption of higher education accelerates and the student loan crisis continues to grow. Yes they will try a band-aid at first but soon it will become obvious to everyone that all this spending was a very very bad idea. Our rocket scientist leadership has created a text book example of what not to do with public money.

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      • The repercussions of socialist ideology.

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      • I am not sure about calling this socialist ideology. In my mind the Grade C leadership here which was OK in the 20th Century, has been making really dumb major town alternating financial decisions in a 21st Century world. So in essence, the job of leadership here is way above the Grade C, 20th Century leadership that we currently have. They see the world from a 20th Century mindset. This is why they seem so clueless… because they are using 20th Century ideas and solutions in an exponentially changing 21st Century world.

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  4. One Uptown Circle has been a major catastrophe from the beginning. For years it was a hole in the ground from a previous developer who backed out of the deal. When you have major property in the center of town that remains a hole in the ground for years, that’s proof that this project is not market driven. Out of desperation Normal city government sold the property to Tartan for $1. Again, below market value. Now that the building they’ve constructed is about to open taxpayers should be asking what’s the economic boom for the city of Normal. It’s high end luxury apartments and office space for Normal city employees who are currently across the tracks with no way to get to Uptown because the underpass hasn’t been constructed yet. Normal will pay rent for office space to move employees from a space they already own to a new space they will rent. Best of all the rent money won’t be staying here locally. It’s headed to Tartan’s office in Chicago who in turn won’t be paying the same tax rate as the rest of property owners in Normal because they’ve been blessed with a TIF district. Hopefully people will see the foolishness in all of this because it’s clear Normal city leaders don’t. It’s just a matter of time before all these Uptown dreams begin to implode.

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  5. I wouldn’t say that Normal is fixed…..I contend it’s broken based on this article alone. But then only 5 citizens spoke at the meeting about raising taxes. So it goes.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] In case you forgot the facts, see this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/11/16/normal-your-government-is-fixed/ […]

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