Can you tell elections are coming? CIRBN!

By: Diane Benjamin

I’ve questioned for YEARS why CIRBN employees are considered Town of Normal employees entitled to all the benefits every other employee has.

CIRBN is a direct competitor to other internet providers who don’t have that luxury. The Town of Normal has subsidized CIRBN by using their service and paying them to run fiber to Normal’s preferred customers. This is just another example of the “friends and family plan”.

This cozy relationship is now over. The documentation for Monday’s meeting claims CIRBN requested the 2014 relationship be severed. I smell an election coming.

A private company should never have been allowed to put their employees on the Town’s payroll and receive the lavish benefits and pension funding. It is way past time to end this relationship.

Here’s where it gets funny. The Town isn’t sure how much the IMRF pension fund has in CIRBN employee’s names, maybe $215,000, but it will be refunded to CIRBN. Instead of having IMRF (the retirement fund) make the refund the Town is going to pay CIRBN from the General Fund.

According to the Comptroller’s site, IMRF was 88.2% funded as of 3/31/2019. That is roughly twice the percent funded for police and fire pensions. At a time when Town revenue is down, why the rush to refund the money when IMRF can do it?

Documentation for Monday:

PDF page 28:

I can’t wait to see what the Town “fixes” next!

Maybe somebody will suddenly appear to sublet the second floor of 1 Uptown Circle.

Maybe somebody Koos approves of will finally rent the first floor.

Maybe the Town will end the cheap lease of Sprague’s gas station with Teri Ryburn.

Original CIRBN agreement:

PDF page 39:

Has the Town staff known for 6 months and didn’t bother to tell the Council? When did the agreement to sever happen?

More on ending the agreement:

Is an audit being completed to make sure the Normal taxpayers get their “equitably adjust payment”?

Who voted to make CIRBN employees Town employees in the first place:

PDF page 2:

Own a business? Your employees can’t get the deal CIRBN got!

At least it is FINALLY over! Maybe CIRBN is going out of business since they lost Unit 5.

Ready for:





6 thoughts on “Can you tell elections are coming? CIRBN!

  1. Friends and family indeed. The closer you look and the more you understand the more astonishing and blatant it is. A closed loop where CIRBN income (surprise) is well funded by government contracts. Private companies have been and continue to make wise, secure and sustainable investments in communication infrastructure. The notion of a government funded entity competing in the same small market is not only wrong but economically unsustainable. Government can of course stimulate focus and competition via capitalism in ways that benefit taxpayers and allow private business to invest. Translation: its OK to identify a need but allow private enterprise to fill it. This is what private enterprise does best, what it wants to do and in this case has so often begged to do. CIRBN should never have become what it is. Of course once ISU and friends started capturing government grants, I believe those terms require the entity to continue on for a period of time before divestiture (10 years?). ISU quickly realized the upcoming drag on its balance sheet and exited the deal. This concept for a private/public government operated network has failed all across the country even before CIRBN was launched, and even close to home (i.e. Rockford, Champaign). So much cap-ex, such a high rate of obsolescence, such enormous payroll and benefits, all of which would be handled more efficiently (and realistically) in the private sector. By the time disposal becomes unavoidable it’ll be a fire sale of outdated infrastructure and an entity of declining customer base. A waste of taxpayer dollars to the benefit of a few insiders. Except perhaps in the opinion of those on its payroll and pension. Once those CIRBN retirements are fully funded, and personal bank accounts topped off we will likely see this headed for insolvency. Breaking this up for sale to the entities that serve our communities would be a fun project indeed. Where can I sign up for that?

  2. Keep an eye on that $215,000. Sounds, looks and smells like a classic money laundering scheme.

  3. What do you think the probability is that CIRBN employees will be hired into the electronic communications area by the Town or any other position in the Town of Normal?

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