Gleason’s Decatur legacy – Must Read

By:  Diane Benjamin

It looks like the Decatur newspaper actually investigates government, unlike the Pantagraph.  Both are owned by Lee Enterprises.  (Stock price $2.75 a share)

It’s a long read, but it NEVER mentions Decatur’s former City Manager (and now Bloomington’s) Tim Gleason.  Everything is blamed on the City Council.

City Managers are hired to run the City.  Therefore is something goes south, the City Manager is to blame.  This project went south long before the Bloomington Council decided to hire Gleason.  I’m betting they didn’t know anything about it.

See the story here:


 City leaders are in talks over whether taxpayers will pay for a multimillion-dollar mistake in the $91 million Lake Decatur dredging project, documents obtained by the Herald & Review show.

Here’s the short version:

Decatur gets their water from Lake Decatur.  After the drought of 2012, they decided to dredge the Lake.  To pay for it, water bills were DOUBLED over three years.

More Quotes:

But documents show that the city’s engineering firm, Chastain and Associates, was warned as far back as 2013 that the plans might not include enough storage for the sediment. Yet no one measured how much space the material was taking up until the problem was detected in August 2017, according to the documents.

The city in April approved a $2.7 million change order for Great Lakes to address the issue. The company also said in February that it had racked up another $2.2 million from lost work time and other expenses, according to the files.

In August 2017, Great Lakes told city officials and Chastain engineers that 8 million cubic yards of material had been removed from the bottom of the lake. Crews had 2.7 million cubic yards left to dredge.

Around the same time, the company conducted the first survey of Oakley sediment basin’s capacity and found that there was room for less than 1 million cubic yards of material.

So who is at fault?

To assess the matter, city officials ordered a third-party engineering firm to review what went wrong. Quincy-based Klingner Associates found no one involved in the project had collected data on how much material was going into the Oakley Basin, the make-up of the sediment being pumped out by dredgers or how much water has successfully trickled back into the lake, an important component of the project.


What this story proves is government isn’t capable of big things. 

It’s why Bloomington’s taxpayers own a fire station that has never been used, a water tower that isn’t usable, and arena that can’t come close to breaking even, former arena managers under prosecution concerning their management, and on and on.

Tim Gleason was only chosen as City Manager to redevelop downtown.  He spent many millions on downtown Decatur with little to show for it.  He will do the same thing here if this Council continues to only care about downtown.

The Decatur City Council did what they were told, thinking isn’t required when buddies are elected to serve.  The City Manager was responsible for the project, I’d love to know why he wasn’t blamed. 

Think those doubled water rates will ever decrease once the Lake project is done and paid for?

Not a chance.

Expect the same in Bloomington’s future.

19 thoughts on “Gleason’s Decatur legacy – Must Read

  1. Nice touch in mentioning the $2.75 Lee Enterprises stock price. For those not familiar. A rule of thumb is, once your stock price gets below $5.00, your company is considered to be in trouble. Both Sears and JC Penney are trading for under $5.00. Lee is in that cohort.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They are like re-cycled baseball, hockey, and football managers, aren’t they? You do this city for awhile, then when you leave, I’ll apply, etc.etc. etc.


  3. Is Gleason a civil engineer? No. He was going on what the professional engineers were telling him throughout this project. The city of Decatur employed two PRIVATE firms to work on this project together, not “government” firms. There was a difference between what was dredged up from the lake and what was put in a designated land fill. Someone miscalculated, someone in a PRIVATE engineering firm. I bet anything it wasn’t the city manager. You are really reaching to blame this on the city manager and on some nebulous government entity.


    1. Typical liberal response. Who chose the consulting firms that were to report to this kook? Who over sees all that goes on in Decatur? The city manager. Interesting how people like you can blame everything done by everybody in government on the current president or any republican co trolled office, but if it is a democrat or their friend it is always someone else.


    2. The consultants or the vendor are always to blame, right? There’s never any blame for the government leaders or local government that selected them, chose to spend taxpayer money in such a manner, and/or never properly followed up to ensure the job was done properly and ethically. Where have we heard that before, Redbird? Oh, right, the Collesium/Arena. Don’t forget Green Top Grocery, the consultant claimed sales would be 50% higher…that’s the only reason it’s failing, something other than government, right? It seems local government and their cronies always have a scapegoat. It can’t be the fault of our local government. SO, when the master plan fails, which it will, can we blame the all liberal City Council and mayor or is there a survey company set to take the fall to protect your chums?


  4. No matter how many times municipalities get misled or how incompetent the engineering firms are or how many mistakes, the municipalities fail to include in the consulting firm or engineering firm responsible for any mistakes or omissions. If you only knew how many engineering errors were made and cost the taxpayers, state, local, Federal hundreds or thousands to millions with respect to slow speed rail through Normal, you would be shocked or maybe not. High speed rail is still many years off, notice the 30 to 40 year old passenger cars that cannot go at sustainable high speed. Where are the new cars? (New engines are being delivered, miracle) That is a long story of State of Illinois and California bungling. A Illinois company had the contract, but after millions spent, no cars meeting crash test standards could be delivered. They are now going to be built in California. Other states that got Stimulus money for new passenger cars had them successfully built. Illinois and California are both very high tax states. Why? Incompetence and corruption.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sad thing is this kind of plain STUPIDITY is RAMPANT. A decade or so ago the city of Tucson built a NEW municipal building. The plans were drafted using feet and inches, but the government in their infinite wisdom ordered the nuts, bolts, etc for the steel in metric.
    Maybe we ought to paint a SAD face on that water tower out by Stark NE of town..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What’s a “liberal” response? The response on this blog is to throw up your hands and claim everyone is incompetent and corrupt. Government can’t do big things? Hogwash. Unless you want to start personally building your own roads and bridges, government does big things all the time.

    What about if it’s more like everyone was acting in good faith and mistakes were made. Mistakes that can be rectified by the firms involved and the city? But that would make you screaming headline immaterial.

    “Moore Wolfe said she’ll wait for the full picture to emerge before deciding on whether the city should reconsider contracting with Chastain on future projects.

    “Chastain has been a good partner for the city for many many, years,” she said. “I know a lot of those people that work there; they work very hard and they’re professionals.”

    NEWELL SAID THERE ARE ALWAYS ISSUES THAT COME UP IN PUBLIC WORK PROJECTS, and what affects the standing of an engineer or contractor with the city is whether they’re willing to work on a resolution.

    “We have been working together (with Chastain) to work through this,” Tyus said.”


    1. Mistakes are made, Unforeseeable issues come up. Both are quite true, and I for one am in favor of second chances. But what about *foreseeable* issues? What if the same or similar mistakes are made over and over and over again? At some point ‘oops’ doesn’t cover it.
      Especially when, as others here have pointed out, there is such a double standard of when ‘oops’ is assumed and when there are calls for a lynch mob.


    2. Another typical liberal response. You never answered any points noted. You obviously haven’t been out of the basement much as evidenced by what you wrote. Illinois didn’t get to become the state with the highest “corruption tax” in the country without a reason. The blog’s owner notes some fine examples of local infrastructure conditions and how well government does big things.. You seem willing to accept less than competent stewardship of gov’t money and the continual failure to perform as acceptable; but those who want to hold them up to standards and not accept this continually as a problem. I bet your basement room is lined with participation trophies.. You probably loved Quinn’s so called temporary state tax increase which he said would eliminate Illinois money problems and deficit. What did we get, more debt due to more programs being created and no pay down of the debt. It all comes down to as long as those monthly checks come to the corrupt and irresponsible you will say things are fine,


  7. So if every thing in Illinois and is so corrupt then move to Indiana. Knock yourself out. Or move to Wisconsin, knock yourself out. Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out! Bye, bye. If you believe that either of those states are going to be either “cheaper” or less corrupt, then you’re fooling yourself.


      1. Wisconsin’s “booming”? Excuse me while I retch. Wisconsin has the exact same problems Illinois does and so does Indiana. Both have rural farms that are being pummeled by tariffs, which are taxes YOU pay, not what China pays.

        In Wisconsin, Harley Davidson is going to move is going to move out of the country because of the Trump’s tariffs.. Foxconn got a 3 billion dollar tax break or $230,700 per worker. It will open a gaping fiscal hole that will be filled only in 2043, when the state recoups the money spent on these tax breaks.The Taiwanese manufacturer will receive $3 billion in state tax credits that will have to be covered by increased taxes on everybody else. Is that what you mean by “booming”? I thought you were against such taxes.

        In Indiana, the Carrier plant Trump boasted about saving is laying people off: “Their positions will still be shifted to Mexico, where workers are paid in a day what the Rust Belt employees make in an hour” Is that the “booming” you’re talking about? From a fiscal outlook in 2018 on Indiana:
        “Brewer said Indiana could lose between $1.25 billion to $1.8 billion annually in gross state product from those addicted to opioids in the state.

        “Indiana employers are having difficulty finding workers quickly enough to support full economic growth,” Brewer said. “Opioids and amphetamines exacerbate this problem.” Is that booming?


      2. You picked a few things to support your side. Meanwhile unemployment is at historic lows, especially for minorities. GDP is double what it was under the last president. Opportunities abound and consumer confidence is high. Don’t like happy people?


    1. Just you watch. More and more people will be moving away from here. I bet you won’t like your increased taxes that will be coming your way then.


    2. Some of us winners believe in fighting for what is right. Again you have no proof of what you say about Indiana being corrupt. I lived there 30 years and can tell you there was some, but nothing like Illinois. I moved here to be with family and I will fight for what is right. BTW you should change your avatar to blackbird…..Illinois State has fine tradition in fighting to win athletically (and you are an insult to the Redbird name), you however have no concept of fighting to win or doing things right Polish the participation trophies in your little dark room in the basement of your parent’s home loser!


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