What is Bloomington hiding?

By:  Diane Benjamin The 2016 fiscal year for Bloomington ended April 30, 2016.  The only financial information issued so far is the treasurer’s report:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=36 Issuing financial reports normally takes a ridiculous 6 months.  That would be October.  It’s now the end of November and still nothing. Did the City finance department screw up the […]

Bloomington: ANOTHER Consultant

By:  Diane Benjamin Evidently the Bloomington City Council is now acting like Congress.  Do nothing, can’t make decisions, and they need guidance.  They must not trust their own opinions. I received the following email yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act.  I knew that many “secret” meetings (Executive Sessions) had been held to considering David […]

Renner exposes SECRET

By:  Diane Benjamin The Mayor was on WGLT yesterday:  http://wglt.org/post/bloomington-mayor-tari-renner-tif-district-downtown-and-city-manager-hales#stream/0 Much of the conversation was the same as his WJBC interview this morning.  WGLT appears to love him and wants him re-elected since the host brought it up over and over.  Renner plans to tout his record of creating minimum wage jobs to win!  Expect […]

David Hales gets a raise!

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday night: That’s a 2.3% increase. Yep, the structural deficit worsens because government employees get what the people paying the bills don’t. Last year Hales earned $239,274.54 when benefits are added to his base pay.  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=5443 I wonder what the vote was.  Considering many recent Closed Sessions (Secret Meetings) have featured “personal” […]

Court again tomorrow

By:  Diane Benjamin I have a Status Hearing tomorrow on my court case against the City of Bloomington.  This story recaps why I filed:  http://blnnews.com/2015/11/02/court-update/ The Freedom of Information Act is very clear.  The City of Bloomington wrongfully believes they are exempt, tomorrow I will find out if they plan to call witnesses.  I already […]

No Tari, it isn’t inflation

By:  Diane Benjamin Since Tari became Mayor the citizens of Bloomington have been taxed to death: 4% Amusement Tax Utility Tax increase 4 cent a gallon gas tax 1% Sales tax increase Solid Waste Increase Other increases? Tari claims inflation is causing the budget woes. How about some facts!  Some citizens have been pouring over […]

Only 422 pages

By:  Diane Benjamin That’s how long the packet for Monday’s Council meeting is.  Ever get the idea David Hales doesn’t expect the packet to be read?  Kind of like:  “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”  I think the packet was posted on Thursday.  See it here:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=9364 What’s up […]

More on the “illegal meeting”

By:  Diane Benjamin State’s Attorney Jason Chambers doesn’t agree with the Attorney General’s email from yesterday:  http://blnnews.com/2015/11/03/bloomington-holds-illegal-meeting/ Not surprising since he didn’t see a problem with Mayor Renner announcing at a Council meeting that art is for sale in his City office:  http://blnnews.com/2014/05/05/pay-to-play-okay-if-nobody-prosecutes/ Chambers interprets the City Code that the Mayor is part of the […]

Public Policy Polling!

By:  Diane Benjamin Article #3000! Surprise!  Yet another way to ignore what people say.  Remember the Citizen Summit – it’s been completely ignored.  Needs over wants.  Fix the roads.  I think the citizens were perfectly clear! A reader emailed me about an automated survey call he received, sponsor was Public Policy Polling.  Questions asked were: […]

Bought and paid for media: Coliseum Update

Update:  The City just sent their daily propaganda.  The title of the Coliseum loss story:  Coliseum 1st Quarter Economic Impact Are the citizens sick of being lied to yet?   By:  Diane Benjamin Both the Pantagraph and WJBC have stories today about another BIG loss at the Coliseum.  Obviously the City sent them a press […]

More Lies from Hales?

Note:  Hales claims the tax numbers are from May.  Not all these taxes are.  This year the City notes on the report how many months are reflected.  Last year they didn’t.  See the original document at the link below for more information. By:  Diane Benjamin From the August 10, 2015 City Council meeting – Watch […]

Coliseum Sham

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council is being told by City Manager David Hales there is no reason to fire CIAM (Central Illinois Arena Management) when their current contract expires.  CIAM has first right of refusal when a new contract is constructed.   Hopefully it will be so radically different from the current contract that […]

Coliseum: The joke’s on YOU

By:  Diane Benjamin The Coliseum was NEVER going to cost citizens a dime, at least that’s what citizens were told. Consultants predicted Revenues of more than $7,000,000 and large attendance at events.  Income was projected to be $2,319,000 a year.  See predictions here:  Consultant: Hyman Review NOTHING predicted has come close to being true. Last […]

Pensions, Pensions, Pensions!

Corrected – David Hales budget increases By:  Diane Benjamin In honor of the Supreme Court meeting today to decide if the plan passed by the legislature to fix pension is legal: 2014 Total Compensation Report – City of Bloomington http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6713 Of course the report doesn’t include totals, so here they are: Salary:  37,123,891.83 Overtime:  3,308,160.59 […]

Bloomington City Council becomes Congress

By:  Diane Benjamin The US Congress gave up much of their power years ago.  The EPA churns out rules and regulations to enforce what they think is important – not what Congress approved. The IRS attacks opponents of whatever administration is in power because they can.  Congress won’t even withhold funding. The Department of Education […]

Hales and now RENNER don’t care!

By: Diane Benjamin Some members of the Bloomington City Council worship the ground David Hales walks on.  They practically pant when he speaks.  David Sage is REALLY good at stopping criticism of anything Hales does – watch a few meetings on-line and you can see for yourself. Every year Hales’ salary is set in Executive […]

The Coliseum mis-management

by:  Diane Benjamin Look at the schedules events on the Coliseum website:  http://www.uscellularcoliseum.com/calendar-of-events/ Nothing is scheduled that will make money in October.  Go back to January 2014.  There have been few if any big money events all year.  Thunder Hockey has started with a dismal number of paying fans.  There is no football, the new […]

Guess what Coliseum Management did

by:  Diane Benjamin I’ve written MANY times about the company hired to manage the Coliseum – CIAM (Central Illinois Arena Management).  Type CIAM into the search box at blnnews.com to see them. The City of Bloomington has failed in their fiduciary duty to the citizens of Bloomington by not providing over-site at the Coliseum.  Concessions have […]

Coliseum Management won’t change unless . . .

by:  Diane Benjamin When Tom Hamilton was City Manager, everybody thought he did a great job.  Now Hamilton is blamed for all the City woes.  Tom Hamilton had a compliant Council, he was never questioned. Everybody thinks David Hales is doing a great job.  He has a compliant Council.  Wait for the stories when he […]

Coliseum: Part 2

by Diane Benjamin Several times, City Manager David Hales has proclaimed in open Council session that the Coliseum (CIAM) is not taking all the commissions they are entitled to under the contract.  The latest was at the June 9th meeting: . Is he right?  This is the original contract for management of the Coliseum:  Management […]

Coliseum-the facts David Hales WON’T discuss tonight

by:  Diane Benjamin Part 1 Part 2 will be posted when the Coliseum discussion begins tonight. I’ve done many stories about Bart Rogers and John Butler, the 2 guys hired by the City to manage the Coliseum.  At tonight’s City Council meeting, 10 minutes has been allotted to discuss revisions to the CIAM contract.  I […]

Fly on the Wall: Coliseum-how stupid do you think we are?

The Flex Basketball team at the Coliseum got thrown out of the league they play in.  The excuse used was “unwillingness and inability to participate in the championship series.” REALLY? Who’s scamming who here?  City of Bloomington?  Central Illinois Arena Management?  John Butler?  Bart Rogers? First CIAM wants an amateur hockey team, and now no […]

Coliseum: Management working for you?

by:  Diane Benjamin I’ve written before about Bart Rogers, but now it’s getting funny!  Somebody is in full CYA mode. The contract the City of Bloomington has with Central Illinois Arena Management says the General Manager of the Coliseum must have ONLY the job of General Manager: According to the 2004 contract Bloomington has with […]

Bloomington: You NEED to see this:

by:  Diane Benjamin I have written many times about the potted plants on the City Council.  Only 2 council members bother to ask questions on most issues, the rest sit back and cheer for whatever is proposed. Meanwhile, Mayor Renner has been vilifying the Council for not approving his tax increases or proposing their own […]

Face facts Bloomington, you can’t afford amenities

by:  Diane Benjamin The most appalling revelation from the Bloomington budget discussion for me was this:  Mayor Renner and City Manager David Hales have made no attempt in past year to see where the budget can be cut.  Renner didn’t want to discuss golf at this meeting or any other big cuts, he expected the […]

Bloomington Employee Compensation

by:  Diane Benjamin At last night’s Council meeting, David Hales claimed the 619 City employees were over-worked and under paid.   The salary information is now listed on the City website: http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=5443 Below is a recap of the number of employees by salary: . . . . . . Estimated median household income in 2011:  […]

Cart-gate: Government gone clueless

by:  Diane Benjamin Did you know City employees aren’t allowed to talk to Council members?  Why would the City have that policy?  Maybe to make sure the Council doesn’t have a clue what really happens in the City government!  Very transparent. But, then there is the garbage cart roll-out.  Evidently it’s not going well if […]

Government by what FEELS good

The Bloomington City Council hasn’t learned any lessons. This week the City Council rushed through a summer project for juvenile offenders with no measurements to judge success or failure.  Next August or September, a kid or two will appear before the Council and rave about how the program changed his life, then a permanent program […]