Bloomington Budget night

By:  Diane Benjamin Three people spoke at public comment in Bloomington last night, hear them beginning at 11:40.  Gary Lambert spoke about credit card fees and the automatic increases to charges from Bloomington for services.  He also mentioned the zoo snack bar,  He would like to know how much money is being generated and if […]

Bloomington Monday night 12/9/19

By:  Diane Benjamin Source:   http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1051&Inline=True Does the highlighted name look familiar?    https://blnnews.com/2019/11/04/bloomington-fireman-5-gets-off/ You might have missed the Edgar County Watchdogs version:  https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2019/11/illinois-state-university-police-let-fireman-off-of-alleged-dui-due-to-his-employment/ The BCPA staff uses this building instead of the the BCPA offices.  No event reports have been posted for the BCPA since my last FOIA.  Citizens have no idea what happens in […]

Bloomington bills for Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=22247 Tari and the employees had fun: Add the previous Hawaii expenses of $1,968.00, and Tari’s trip cost $3,892.50.  https://blnnews.com/2019/04/18/off-to-hawaii/ This is what the Pantagraph reported:    Pantagraph.com twin-city-mayors-focus-on-transit-climate-at-conference The cost of the CONFERENCE was $950.00.  The paper didn’t include that part.  What did taxpayers get?  The bill? Remember the FREE entertainment […]

Isn’t this special

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday Alderman Jenn Carrillo posted a video on her Alderman Facebook page instructing illegals on what to do if ICE comes to their house or business.  She claims she has been advocating for illegals for 10 years.  She must think illegals all speak Spanish, she used both Spanish and English.  Jenn is […]

Nobody represents you!

By:  Diane Benjamin If the residents of Bloomington still haven’t figured out the Council doesn’t represent you, watch last night’s meeting.  The schmoozing was over the top with accolades for each other for everything but breathing. There were a few slaps in the face to citizens.  The first one was made by City Manager Tim […]

Bloomington Spiking, VenuWorks, and More

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for Monday:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20735 Two more employees are spiking their pensions – this is the penalty charged to taxpayers         When VenuWorks took over management of the Coliseum they wanted to remodel at taxpayer expense.  The City borrowed the money from them for the remodel.  These are […]

Bloomington Business Friendly?

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20301 Ending Sick Leave Buy Back and the penalties that go with allowing employees to spike their pensions is not going to end anytime soon.  What the Council passed recently was a dog and pony show designed to make you believe they heard your outrage.  Monday night you will […]

Pension Spiking might end YEARS from now

By:  Diane Benjamin PDF page 336   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20206 Sick Leave Buy Back and the resulting pension spiking is finally being addressed (years late) Monday night.  The law changed in 2012 to allow IMRF to penalize municipalities who practice pension spiking.  Without doing another FOIA to IMRF, I believe the penalties Bloomington has paid are nearing $2,000,000. […]

Bloomington – Let’s Tax Monday!

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20080 Celebrate: More employees getting a higher pension by spiking: SLBB is Sick Leave Buy Back – a penalty for allowing this will be coming I don’t know why they went to Indianapolis, the question is:  Did they have to send FIVE?  ↓ Agenda: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20090 Seriously?  A liquor license for Game Time […]

Normal’s fleece tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3047 The financial statements for the year ended 3/31/2018 are being released tonight.  Six month old data isn’t ideal and would never be tolerated in the private sector, but at least Normal didn’t hold the information the way Bloomington did last year.  Since Bloomington’s year-end was April 30th, their financial statements should […]

Pension Spiking: incredible waste of money

By:  Diane Benjamin Spiking pensions in Bloomington has cost taxpayers over $2,000,000 since 2012. Spiking a pension means collecting more in retirement than employees are entitled to.  Your government “gifts” them more retirement at taxpayer expense.  The IMRF retirement system started charging for spiking when they realized the pension funds would not remain viable if […]

Water Department and Pension Spiking Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin These projects will be approved Monday:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=18366 Lake Bloomington Water Treatment plant roof:   $323,139.65 Water Main replacement:  $385,075 Professional Services to prepare for another water main replacement:  $30,876.50 If the Council claims the Water Department funds are diminishing and therefore they have to raise rates: In 2013 $400,000 was “borrowed” from the water fund for […]

Bloomington’s spending priorities Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin If the new City Manager is able to sell his house in Decatur, maybe he can take David Hales’s house off his hands.  It is still for sale, reduced AGAIN to $245,000.  It started at $279,900 last November.    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5-Conway-Cir-Bloomington-IL-61704/76972678_zpid/?fullpage=true Tari’s favorite non-profit, Illinois Policy Institute, wrote about Bloomington’s new City Manager, it’s […]

Tossing Money – Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington has done nothing to stop employees from “spiking” their pensions.  Besides collecting a higher pension for life at taxpayer expense, taxpayers are forced to pay penalties to cover the increased cost. The “spiking” comes from accumulating unused sick days.  Bloomington has changed the policy for new hires, but they refuse to […]

What they didn’t want you to see:

By:  Diane Benjamin I haven’t looked at the entire Bills and Payroll yet – it just got posted late this afternoon. See the very last page:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=17440 They threw away $135,015 on spiked pensions: . . The City of Bloomington government exists only to scam YOU. . . . . .    

Monday: Bloomington’s spending spree:

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16002 This is a wire transfer – no other information is available.  Most likely it’s property downtown. The City is giving away more of your money: Remember when I reported on huge phone bills: https://blnnews.com/2018/02/23/they-had-to-have-bought-all-new-phones/ Sprint charges weren’t included in that story.  The City has Verizon, Frontier, and now Sprint.   […]

Government for the employees

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington changed the pension spiking policy for all new hires after they became liable for the increased cost – that was in 2012. The policy has not been changed for existing employees.  Why should any person be entitled to a pension they didn’t earn? Employees are getting paid months before they retire for […]

Government for votes

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington does not act in the best interests of the citizens paying the bills.  They act in the best interest of whatever votes can be bought, especially employees. The City will not be ending pension spiking any time soon because Tari doesn’t want to.  In 2012 they ended the […]

Fleece, but be Transparent

By:  Diane Benjamin The taxpayers of Bloomington have been abused by their chicken government.  I’m talking about pension spiking.  It’s bad enough taxpayers with no pensions are forced to pay for the retirements of highly paid city employees.  It’s worse when they are allowed to increase their retirements at your expense when it’s easily avoidable. […]

Controlling Costs is a LIE

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight’s Bloomington Council packet contains this statement on PDF page 4:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=12802 Now jump to the Bills and Payroll for tonight: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=12794 PDF page 107 The City if THROWING away money by allowing employees to spike their pensions! This payment of $64,859.95 brings the total to $1,877,252.40 since the law was changed in […]

Last night’s CIRCUS

By:  Diane Benjamin I will be on Cities 92.9 today at 3:30 with Ben Yount to discuss the future of BlnNews. Now for last night’s Bloomington City Council meeting: Bring in the CLOWNS! Oops, they were already there! Starting at 1:05, and ending 45 minutes later, the Council droned on about spending $300,000 at The […]

Excuses OVER Renner!

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner’s claims to now be protecting the taxpayers of Bloomington in the Metro Zone flap are a joke. Why? Besides the fact that 5 Aldermen put Metro Zone on the agenda, not Renner – what happened to the letters Tari received at Rosie’s from citizens about their health insurance costs?  We […]

Setting the record straight:

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday the Pantagraph did a story about County union employee salary increases:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/mclean-county-highway-workers-get-raises/article_e1a807b1-6dcc-535b-83dd-f39b4b00079f.html This paragraph is in the story: Two problems:  The City of Bloomington has been hit by at least 24 penalties amounting to around $1.6 million. (it could be more by now) That’s not “several”. Second, the County negotiated with […]

Pantagraph fails at truth again

By:  Diane Benjamin The daily rag has a new story about pension spiking at the City of Bloomington.  In an effort to deflect from the City’s unethical practice of allowing employees to spike their pensions with unused sick days, they even call the practice legal. It is legal because Bloomington’s Mayor, City Manager, and Council […]

Pure and simple: It’s THEFT

By:  Diane Benjamin Luckily IMRF actually cares about transparency.  Yesterday I filed a request for all the Accelerated Payments charged to the City of Bloomington because they are to chicken to change the Sick Leave Buy Back policy.  Instead of the precious government employees being told the golden goose got cooked, employees are told it’s […]

More proof: Budget Task Force was a joke

By:  Diane Benjamin See Bills and Payroll for Monday night – the LAST page:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9535 Remember how Bloomington was exposed in the Chicago Tribune paying massive penalties for allowing employees to SPIKE their pensions?  https://blnnews.com/2015/08/26/imrf-what-did-hales-know-and-when/ Remember when the Budget Task Force recommended fixing the problem but never did? Well, it just cost you another $122,735.32! […]

Throwing away $49,152.21

By:  Diane Benjamin Even though Bloomington’s Springfield attorney (Jeff Jurgens) knew on August 24th that stopping pensions spiking wasn’t a violation of the Illinois Constitution, the policy still hasn’t been changed.  See his email and IMRF response here:  https://blnnews.com/2015/09/18/who-knew-and-did-nothing-imrf/ The agenda for Monday is on-line, nothing about stopping the rip off of taxpayers that is […]

Who knew and did nothing – IMRF

By:  Diane Benjamin The below are from a big pile of information I received from IMRF under the Freedom of Information Act.  They all pertain to pensions spiking that David Hales allowed to keep happening and is still allowed today.  Remember this when your taxes get raised Monday!  I may be posting more, I haven’t […]

Tonight’s bottom line

By: Diane Benjamin David Hales gives frequent interviews on WJBC, I’ve posted links to many of them.  I remember one of his lines about the budget – but I’m not going to re-listen to find it.  He claimed any cuts to the budget now are cuts to “muscle”, not fat. Of course he was lying […]

Proof: They lied!

By:  Diane Benjamin Another taxpayer asked IMRF for information about the City of Bloomington’s policy allowing pensions spiking.  Remember this cost you more than $1.2 MILLION dollars. See the email below FROM IMRF. The RED and BLUE are from me.   From: John Krupa <jkrupa@imrf.org> To: (redacted) Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 10:53 AM Subject: […]

What did Hales Know? Plenty!

By:  Diane Benjamin A LOT more information on pensions spiking is coming.  Citizens deserve better than Bloomington throwing away $1.2 Million when it could have been avoided.  This won’t be the last post, but I have to lay out what I know slowly so you can understand the facts. First, let’s review.  For DECADES employees […]

Thanks for the laughs Pantagraph!

By:  Diane Benjamin In the continuing quest by the Pantagraph to prove yet again they are not real media: Today they CHEERED Bloomington and Normal for working to stopp pension spiking! WOW!  Why didn’t they include how great it is that Normal WASTED $29,939.10 and Bloomington THREW away $1,215,177.70 before being exposed by the Chicago […]