Update: Ever heard of the Public Building Commission?

Jim Soeldner sent this link to a 2017 Pantagraph story describing the Public Building Commission.  https://www.pantagraph.com/building-blocks-pbc-marks-years-of-construction-projects

Evidently they have been violating the Open Meetings Act for years.

By:  Diane Benjamin

I bet you thought the County was building the addition to the Law and Justice Center.  Remember when your sales tax was raised to fund Mental Health?  I think funding “Mental Health” mostly means building the addition folks.

Well, the County wasn’t in charge of building it.  That job went to the Public Building Commission.  Ever heard of them?  I hadn’t.

This Commission has existed for decades.  They handle construction of huge projects like the addition because County officials either don’t have the expertise or time to manage them.  I don’t have a problem with that part, but I do have a problem with ZERO transparency!

  • They don’t have a website
  • They don’t post meeting agendas anywhere I can find
  • They don’t post minutes anywhere I can find
  • Obviously they don’t post payments anywhere either

I found an email address on an obscure website for the guy who is supposedly their FOIA officer.  I sent him an email on January 14th:


No response

On January 15th I sent one to the County Administrator:

country admin

No response

I did find out about one member from reading the BNWRD minutes, they appointed him:  Jim Fruin.  I talked to him but he didn’t know a lot because he hasn’t been on the Commission for long.  Since the addition is done they haven’t been holding meetings.

Bloomington Taxpayers pay higher Sales Taxes to fund this project:

PDF page 299:  https://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=22149

bloom mental health


Normal Taxpayers pay higher Sales Taxes too:

PDF page 110:  https://normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/14883/2019-2024

normal mental health

County taxpayers pay too:

PDF page 7:  https://www.mcleancountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/17030/2020-Fiscal-Year-Adopted-Budget

county mental health

Have you noticed that is MILLIONS of DOLLARS?

Because there is ZERO transparency we have no idea how that money was and is being spent.  Is it going toward paying for the addition, community programs, or a combination.  How long will the increased Sales Tax continue?  Until the addition is paid off or forever?

There are a lot of references to the Public Building Commission on the County website, but that’s it.  Answering emails must be really hard.

I sent emails to my two reps on a different topic and neither of them have answered either.  Jim Soeldner?  William Friedrich?


11 thoughts on “Update: Ever heard of the Public Building Commission?

  1. So that’s where Jim Fruin went. Talk about operating in the dark! This group is truly operating under the radar, away from public scrutiny. What a bunch of sheisters! Who do these people think they are? It will be interesting to see who else is involved. Thanks for the great reporting Diane.

  2. Just drove by the Land & Justice Center, sounded like somebody was smashing computers. Diane, your diligence
    and fortitude have opened the lid on another Pandora’s Box. You are a true member of the Trouble Makers Club.

  3. Another REALTOR conflict of interest. REALTOR Fruin undoubtedly knows more than he was willing to share.

  4. A secret organization in local government? Say it isn’t so! Not a surprise, eh folks?! “Mental health” has become a cause celeb for the left, while undermining those that really need help and any realistic solutions to get us there. This project is another in a long line of politicians borrowing money to build buildings we don’t need to please their union boss donors while securing a coveted spot on a plaque. Notice efficiency or streamlined government is never part of any “solution”. Instead, it’s always more taxpayer money and bigger is better with government. In other news, that list of line item contract payments above consists solely of cronies and friends of government with no show jobs who are nothing but a drain on the local economy, stymieing any real effort to develop our local economy.

  5. Reminds me totally of De Witt county in the early 80s PBC ( not the county board) built new courthouse and demolished very useful 100 year old courthouse. No public input… Shhhh, it’s the PBC doing it

  6. so this group,that answers to no one,has their meetings without public comment or awareness in violation of the open meetings act . takes our tax dollars and freely,without oversight spends it as they see fit? sounds like a right fit for Illinois to me!

  7. Typical “Illinois” politico! SAY one thing, make people believe you, grab a batch of cash, and close shop/ DASH! Just like an arena, underground RR passage, BCPA, and SOOOO many other hair brained gimmicks. And they wonder WHY people are leaving…
    We’re ALL going to need mental health IF this kind of crap continues..

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