Now, I’m not one to normally partake in the making of a politically motivated cartoon image – but I couldn’t resist. As Trustee Humpfer seems to believe that my investigation into the Manager is a “personal vendetta” I figured that I might remind him what my opinion is on the state of our Village Board as it applies to allowing the Manager free reign to do as he pleases. So, without Further Ado, I bring you 2015’s First Post!
Apparently, Trustee Humpfer and Trustee Burroway are SO confident in their impending re-election by us simple tax-paying folks that they didn’t even bother to vote “no” to the most recent tax increase enacted on December 16th – a 4.95% increase to our property taxes. Both Trustees were a “yes” vote. A Special little “Merry Christmas” present to all us taxpayers. They were so confident in their ability to get elected, that neither of them even bothered to pull the tax increase off the consent agenda so there could be discussion about it – This is what this election is about folks – your Trustees simply don’t care what you think, and they are counting on you not bothering to come out and vote and tell them what you think!
Now, what our Trustees will tell you is the technical stuff – “technically, the overall EAV of the Village is down from last year so this tax increase in theory won’t increase your tax burden … blah blah blah.” However, the reality is that if your assessment stayed the same or went up (as a significant number of our properties have since the market has leveled out) it means your property taxes will go up. So, while they say that because the EAV is down in the Village that most homeowners won’t see an increase in their taxes, the reality is that the 588,000 dollars MORE that the Village will be able to collect isn’t because people’s taxes aren’t going up – it’s because enough of our homes are either the same value as last year or slightly more, meaning that yes, your taxes ARE going up.
I feel as though I should address the other “reason” for the tax increase – the State has mandated a certain level of funding for the pension funds in the Village. At best, this is merely a political talking point. So, please, allow me to explain this one – as it was explained to me, by none other than Manager Rooney himself (I am paraphrasing this, and I’ve left out the differences between the 2 methods as they were above my level of understanding):
The state has recently changed the rules pertaining to the funding of pensions in order to ensure that Villages are using a new actuarial level, which is that in 23 years, the pensions will be funded 100%. The Village has always had a choice between 2 methods of calculation for the pension contributions. Surprisingly, our Village has been using the less accurate (and less expensive) option since the inception of the funds. The Board, in light of the changes to the pension funding changes, has now opted to use the more accurate method. Therefore, there is an increase in the amount of funding needed to make up for the years of lower payments – a decision made by your trustees. The fire pension is in good shape, mainly because it is a “young” fund, whereas the police fund has a big deficit because of decades of underfunding.
The real news here though is a more in-depth explanation of the difference between public employee pension funds and those of IMRF (which the Manager and non-union employees belong to). As the Manager explained:
The reason why IMRF is fully funded is because the Village has never had a choice in how much to fund it. When the actuarial levels change, IMRF calculates the amount of contribution and requires that the Village pony up the dough. Prior to the rule change in the public safety pensions, the amount of the contributions was a CHOICE by the Village – and naturally, our Village underfunded them because it could.
So, while your Village Manager, President and Trustees have berated the cost of public safety pensions in public and at board meetings, I’d like my readers to remember 2 things: First – it was YOUR elected Trustees that underfunded the pensions (despite the separate line item tax for them) all these years – and they KNEW that eventually they would have to make up the difference, AND both your Village Manager and Village President are in Pension funds – the Manager is in IMRF and the Village President receives a nice solid Teacher’s Pension. A little hypocritical to be tearing down pensions from one group while collecting one of your own, don’t you think? Ultimately, the answer is – not only does the tax increase fund the pensions to where they should be as well as “making up” for the decrease in total EAV, BUT, the Trustees set it high enough to squeeze an additional (on top of what they needed) 588,000 out of us!
Recently, I submitted a FOIA to the Village due to some information that I’ve received, and what I found, rather what I didn’t find is quite shocking. I think our residents – the ones that foot the bill, should know. Some of it needs to be reviewed before it’s put out – but this one I think is really interesting – and it’s a good eye-opener. Your Trustees, being the ones in charge of the money – already know this, and clearly, they don’t care. Trustee Humpfer – the “financial” guru that “brought us out of the mess” of no-opinion (in otherwords – bad) audits and his running mate Trustee Burroway consistently vote “yes” to the bills list on the consent agenda – of which these charges are listed.
As a disclaimer, I want to say that we receive a lot of information from anonymous sources (obviously – named sources would be fired quickly so everyone is anonymous!) However, I don’t put information out there that I can’t at least partially substantiate, so I will post the documents in question to show you what I have!
It has come to my attention that your Village Manager has a tendency to use his Village-Issued credit card for purchases that may not actually be village-related business, and we’ve been told we’ll never find proof of that due to some document shredding that occurs. So here’s what we know so far based on the FOIA and Village rules: The Village requires employees with a village-issued credit card to submit receipts for purchases. The credit card billing statements disclosed by the Village started in May of 2011, so from then to present there should be 43 monthly statements. The Village only has a whopping 16, and of those, 9 credit card statements are missing receipts for purchases. Let’s recap that – the Village states that it doesn’t have 27 Credit Card Billing Statements AND the receipts to go with them, and of the 16 they do have, 9 are missing the receipts. So, while I may not be a financial genius – when I’m told there may be shredding going on for purchases not related to village business – the Village missing that many statements AND receipts certainly seems to back that up. I should mention to that FOIA requires Villages to obtain documents from contracted Vendors – such as Bank of America. In this case, the Village clearly forgot that fact.
So, possible shredding and non-village related purchases on a village-issued and paid for credit card isn’t a good thing to be approving month after month – which YOUR trustees, the ones who believe they have this election in the bag, vote “yes” to consistently. Am I the only one that thinks there should be some questions asked about that? Or is that they don’t know because the Village Manager that the Trustees have 100% complete confidence in isn’t telling the whole truth? (SHOCKER!) But let’s look at what we do know about the purchases that were revealed – which is equally as interesting as the missing statements and receipts! Here is the spreadsheet that show the documents that the Village says is all it has: (R? column – NR means No Receipt, NCC means No Credit Card Statement)
|Sheraton Boston||Boston, MA||$296.43||Hotel Deposit|
|Hilton Hotel||Charlotte NC||$638.68||Hotel for Manager’s Conference 2014|
|TaxiCab Transportation||Chicago IL||$46.00||Taxi – IMCA Phoenix Manager’s Conference 2012|
|NIU Guest Rooms||Dekalb IL||$73.45||no reason given|
|Eagle Ridge Resort||Galena, IL||$384.09||ILCMA Conference|
|American Airlines||$50.90||Preferred Seating Upgrade9/ 2013|
|American Airlines||$225.80||Airline Ticket for Manager’s Conference 9/2013|
|ICMA Internet||$695.00||ICMA Manager’s Conference (2013|
|Sheraton Boston||$899.20||Hotel for Manager’s Conference 2013|
|Taxi Service||$94.50||Taxi To/From Airport, Manager’s Conference 2014|
|United Airlines||$295.50||Airline Ticket for Manager’s Conference 2014|
|United Airlines||$425.80||Airline Tickets for Manager’s Conference 9/2013|
|United Airlines||$25.00||Luggage Fee||NR|
|Home Depot||Carpentersvile||$105.69||Purchase for Com Dev / Jim Hock||NR|
|Home Depot||Carpentersville||$2.87||Paint Sample|
|Zeigler’s Ace||Carpentersville||$2.17||Paint Sample||NR|
|Walker Brothers||Arlington Heights||$34.00||Lunch with Rhodes / Lawyer Coord Jim (hock) Termination|
|Barones||Carpentersville||$77.00||Meeting w/ New Attorneys before board meeting|
|Denny’s||Carpentersville||$36.46||Finance Director Interview|
|El Molino||Carpentersville||$30.00||Lunch meeting w/ Russ Moorehead Code Issues|
|Jameson’s||Carpentersville||$19.44||Evaluation of Police Chief|
|Jameson’s||Carpentersville||$33.73||Lunch w/ Lisa Happ|
|Randall Road House||Carpentersville||$41.00||Lunch w/ Mark Bushhouse/Bob Cole|
|Rosati’s||Carpentersville||$37.58||Lunch w/ Russ Moorehead (No Receipt)||NR|
|Rosati’s||Carpentersville||$20.41||Finance Director Interview|
|Rosati’s||Carpentersville||$56.00||PW/Buildings Restructure Meeting|
|Dunkin Donuts||East Dundee||$17.43||no reason given||NCC|
|Great Remarks||East Dundee||$21.24||Lunch w/ Vlg Attorney (no receipt)||NR|
|Great Remarks||East Dundee||$35.33||Lunch w/ Asst Vlg Manager Candidate|
|Great Remarks||East Dundee||$19.62||lunch meeting||NR|
|Great Remarks||East Dundee||$22.35||lunch meeting||NR|
|Great Remarks||East Dundee||$21.78||Lunch … Wade Eval and Dawn Dis (missal?)|
|Great Remarks||East Dundee||$17.97||Lunch Meeting w/ Jim Hock|
|Great Remarks||East Dundee||$25.07||Lunch Meeting w/ Jim Hock & Joe Wade||NR|
|The Manor||East Dundee||$24.25||Breakfast w/ Asst Vlg Manager Candidate|
|The Manor||East Dundee||$19.70||no reason given||NR|
|Brickhouse Grill & Pub||Springfield, IL||$39.53||Lunch – Gov Hometown Award Trip|
|Emmett’s Brewing Co||West Dundee||$30.93||Lunch w/ Vlg of Algonquin Personnel||NR|
|Francescas Campagna||West Dundee||$30.29||Lunch with Com Dev Director Candidate (Huber)|
|Francescas Campagna||West Dundee||$31.98||Lunch w/ J. Cavallaro|
|Olive Garden||West Dundee||$28.50||no reason given|
|Red Lobster||West Dundee||$58.73||Finance Director Interview|
|Bob Chins||Wheeling||$42.00||Lunch with Candidate||NR|
|Potbelly Sandwich Shop||Algonquin||$103.49||no reason given||NCC|
So let’s talk about this for a moment, there’s a few things I want to point out to my fellow constituents:
- While the rest of us have to endure our Performance Evaluations and the conduct of business in the office and what are almost always uncomfortable chairs, it seems the Manager has no problem doing these things over lunch – at our expense!
- It’s not even the case that all the lunches paid for by the taxpayers are at Carpentersville restaurants – a vast majority of them are in East and West Dundee!
- Notice the number of missing receipts? And the number of purchases with no reasons given?
- Another thing to notice: Check out the airlines tickets – notice that there are American Airlines Tickets purchased for the Manager AND United Airline Tickets purchased for the Manager for the September 21-25 2013 ICMA conference? HMMM, more on that later!
- Isn’t it awesome that the Manager gets to do a Preferred Seating upgrade? Or how about 4 nights at a hotel for $1200.00 in 2013.
The crazy thing is – this is what the Manager is willing to disclose – anyone else cringe when wondering what he’s doing with our Money that he isn’t willing to disclose? If document shredding is going on – how much of our Taxpayer’s Dollars have been wasted – and remember – Your Incumbent Trustees have voted YES to every consent agenda item (bills list included). They know all this, and they don’t want YOU to know.
After all – it’s easy to continuously re-elect someone when you don’t know what bad decisions they’ve made. But here’s the reality – Your Property Taxes have gone up every single year since Trustee Humpfer was reelected and Trustee Burroway was elected, Your Sales Taxes have gone up, Your Water and Sewer Rates have skyrocketed – all under the watch of these trustees, and the other ones who were just elected on a platform of “No Tax Increases.” They wastefully spend your money, and allow, AT BEST a questionable use of Village Funds by the Manager.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you are the residents – you are the top of the flowchart. You “own” the Village, you are all stakeholders. The business you own is failing YOU – are you going to take it, or are you going to make a change to the leadership in your business in April?
Carpentersville has one of the highest, if not the highest, Property Tax rate in Northern Illinois (outside Chicago), We are tied for the highest Sales Tax Rate in Northern Illinois (a mere 1% behind the City of Chicago), our Water and Sewer Rates have more than doubled in the last 5 years – and what do you get for this? Less Police Protection than you used to have, Less Fire Protection than you used to have, Less Public Works capabilities, more Out Sourcing, More bloated no-bid contracts, More Businesses moving OUT than moving in, excessively High Employee Turn-over, Ever-Increasing Debt (6 million in ’08, 32 million this year – just 6 years later) and Trustees who are willing to ignore these things.
April 7th, 2015, you can send a message to our Village – it’s time for new Trustees, new management, and a open and honest accounting of the state of our Village. Our Incumbents shouldn’t KNOW that they will be re-elected, and I hope to see all my fellow residents out at the Polls to tell them that they were wrong.