By: Diane Benjamin
The biggest problem in Normal is: Who is running the Town.
The Council has been told them can’t discuss payments because all of them are in the budget. Slush funds, like the City Manager’s, aren’t listed individually in the budget but still can’t be discussed when they appear on the bills list. The Council is supposedly the Board of Directors that sets policy, but there are plenty of instances where they aren’t asked or the policy set is ignored.
Who put the $100 a month lease for 305 S. Linden on the agenda and who pulled it before the meeting when the public found out? Who declared it surplus property and marketed it themselves without the Council ever approving the surplus declaration? When will the sale be presented as a “Done Deal” to the rubberstampers?
Mayor Chris Koos declared non-compliance with Pritzker’s non-laws would be reported to the Health Department. Days later staff is telling the police to investigate, Koos sends threatening letters to non-compliant businesses, and one local business has a hearing today on a Town imposed fine. The Council never voted to fine anyone, so who issued the fine? Tony Wargo, the brother of Joe of Joe’s Stationhouse, is asking for support at 4:00 today, second floor of 11 Uptown Circle.
In 2008 the Council voted to end the recycle drop box program to save money. Last night the Council voted 4-3 to increase the budget by $150,000 so the program could continue. Why did the staff not follow the 2008 Council directive to end the program? All citizens of Normal can recycle at their house but claims were made many drop off items instead. The three that voted against it last night were: Lorenz, Preston, and Nord. The City Manager implied an agreement with Bloomington and McLean County is close so the cost would be split 3 ways. These three want to see an agreement first. McCarthy thinks this is great because the cost will be less to taxpayers. Right now there is no agreement.
This list is endless. If the Council sets policy staff can ignore it and the compliant Council rubberstamps whatever they produce. Is Koos telling the staff what to do without Council approval or is staff doing what they want?
The dining indoor meeting with two Council members and 5 staff was mentioned. It obviously didn’t comply with Pritzker’s edicts, see this story for details: https://blnnews.com/2020/12/30/normal-you-cant-eat-inside-but-we-can/
At 2:23:00 Pam Reece claims the Town staff does comply with Pritzker’s uttering. No details of course.
2:15:20 Kathleen Lorenz is upset about the tone and questioning of staff. She thinks they need to hold an Executive Session to discuss instead of in public. She needs to check the legal reasons for holding an Executive Session, attacking Stan Nord isn’t one of them.
The meeting was full of sniping at Stan Nord. Koos liked to tell Stan what he isn’t allowed to talk about. See one example at 1:09:50. At 34:50 Karyn Smith does her part to attack Stan. The issue was the charges to the developer on Kerrick Rd. Kathleen Lorenz follows with similar followed by Kevin McCarthy doing the same. I guess they all forgot Stan was charged because the the Town forgot to collect from previous owners of the land Nord owned when he was elected. That is akin to you buying a twenty year old house and then getting a bill from the builder for $20,000 because he forgot to collect at closing years before. That is what the Town did to Stan, Nord’s questions about the developer fees were to prevent that from happening again to another property owner.
The Town could just pass an ordinance saying they don’t have a right to collect from subsequent property owners if they screw up. They haven’t.
Karl Sila was the only public commenter, see 2:28. Chemberly Cummings arrived late and missed it.