Koos: Elections don’t matter in Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin

Public comment:

6:15 Doug Fansler asks why the Town can find $25,000 off budget but couldn’t find the $96,000 to keep from raising property taxes – Pam answered it later.  The $25,000 will be taken from stockpiled savings, the $96,000 is next year’s property taxes.

7:30:  Karl Sila talked about Wild Country paying no rent and CIRBN as Normal employees.  He couldn’t say what he really wanted to say because of Normal’s illegal Public Comment policy.

Stan Nord pulled everything except the minutes from the Omnibus Agenda.

Just the highlights:

17:18 Stan questioned the off budget $25,000 to the Chamber of Commerce for workforce development.  The Economic Development Council has done this in the past, they appear to be transforming themselves and therefore can’t handle it right now.  Since the Chamber is a member organization, Stan questioned how non-member companies can participate.

For an item pulled by Stan the rest of the council had a lot to say.  Jump to 40:40 – it is still the same discussion.  This Compact program exists to locate young local workers and teach them to work locally.  Don’t job fairs exist anymore?  Companies don’t recruit on campus?  The Compact also teaches “how to work”.  McDonald’s etc. used to have that job. With the upcoming $15 an hour minimum wage, no businesses can afford to train kids to show up for work.  Evidently parents can’t so government has to.  The vote wasn’t taken until 43:05 – it was approved.

43:30.  Stan pulled the changes to town ordinance to remove language about illegal drugs.  If Normal ever has a problem dispensary, like selling to minors, the Town will not be able to pull a license like they do for alcohol.  Since the State issues licenses only the state can pull it.

46:15.  Stan again brought up CIRBN being on the Town insurance plan.  Pam Reece did some dancing on this one.  Stan hadn’t mentioned CIRBN by name, Pam assumed CIRBN, Stan then asked if that was the only company considered Town employees for benefit purposes.  He didn’t get a direct answer, Pam responded CIRBN is the only one with 3 employees.  Are there more Pam?

Does Normal have a license to sell health insurance?  

Since Cirbn supposedly reimburses the Town for all expenses so their 3 employees have health insurance, how is that not “selling” insurance?

Evidently Town employees do not pay anything toward their health insurance.  They only pay if a spouse or children are on the plan.  Since Town employees do not pay, are CIRBN employees paying?  Pam did some big time spinning on this one.

See 53:55  Chris Koos spouts off to Nord.  Koos claims the CIRBN questions have been asked and answered many times and the  answer is always the same:  CIRBN pays their way.  Chris:

  • We still have no answers to why a private company is allowed to partake in benefits they didn’t earn by pretending to be REAL Town employees
  • We still have no answers about why all small companies can’t get the same Town perk!  Normal picks winners now?
  • Chris:  When the next recession happens and the the pension funding percent drops yet again, is CIRBN going to be paying part of your increased required contribution to IMRF?

CIRBN is the perfect example of why government programs never die.  Knuckleheads are always available to pick up funding for their buddies.  Since the private sector can now do they same job (possibly better) CIRBN was founded for, there is no reason for CIRBN to exist if they can’t bankroll themselves.

One more question for the Mayor:  The Town of Normal pays CIRBN for their services.  Why is it not a Conflict of Interest to buy services from Town employees?


1:20:15  Stan Nord asks when the Council gets to weigh in on setting priorities for capital spending plans.

The answer is NEVER!

1:22:40 – Pam Reece states staff prepares the spending plan.  See it here:  https://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/15443/View-2019-24-CIP

1:23:10 – Koos says staff has historically done the planning, he doesn’t see the need for Council input since the Town has “professional staff”.

1:24 – Nord states the Council may not agree with the priorities set by staff, like Uptown 2.0

Koos follows up with Stan should meet with Pam Reece to go over the plan.

1:26:15 – Koos asks the Council if they are willing to review the plan before voting.  SILENCE.

1:27:20 – Scott Preston asks when priorities from the Citizens Summit will be reflected in the CIP (Capital Investment Plan).  Citizens get to wait a year since staff is already done and the budget is being prepared now for next year.  Pam Reece claims changes can still be made, not likely since the vote was last night.

1:29:50 Reece claims the vote is for the plan, not the spending.  She must have forgotten the Town motto:   Plan the work then Work the Plan.

1:30:30 Kathleen Lorenz claims part of the plan was authorized years ago.  She doesn’t realize this Council is not bound by decisions made by previous Councils.

The Trustees voted anyway to approve the plan.  Staff wins, ELECTIONS DON’T MATTER.  If you think Koos and company didn’t direct the staff . . . .

Stan voted no, the entire rest of the Council voted yes.





7 thoughts on “Koos: Elections don’t matter in Normal

  1. We can at least take some consolation in the fact that if we can elect better representation onto the council (and mayorship) in 15 1/2 months (Who’s counting?), they aren’t necessarily bound by the votes between now and then despite all the admonitions of the ‘work the plan’ council members.


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