DuPage County Keeps Lobbyists for Another Year

The Daily Herald reports the following:

DuPage Keeping Lobbyists for Another Year

Robert Sanchez
August 25, 2105

DuPage County officials defended the county’s use of lobbyists before awarding nearly $300,000 in contracts to several firms.
“As the second-largest county in Illinois with nearly 1 million residents, it is critically important that the county maintain an effective presence in both Washington, D.C. and Springfield,” county board Chairman Dan Cronin said.
On Tuesday, county board members voted 15-1 to spend $260,000 to keep three lobbying firms for another year.

Two of the firms — All-Circo Inc. and V.A. Persico Consulting Inc. — are pushing the county’s legislative agenda in Springfield. The third firm, BGR Government Affairs LLC, lobbies on the federal level.

DuPage also will contribute $24,000 to help pay McGuire Woods Consulting, which represents the county board and the DuPage County Health Department at the state level.

That expenditure didn’t require a county board vote because it’s less than $25,000, officials said.

Board member Elizabeth Chaplin cast the only vote against the contracts for the lobbying firms.

“I don’t see the value,” she said. “I think as county board members we can take a more active working with our own representatives and save the taxpayers money.”

You can read the Full Daily Herald story here.

DuPage County has a presence in Springfield and Washington, they are called elected officials. It is the job of the elected officials to represent the needs of the people in their district.  It is the job the of elected officials to advocate on behalf of the residents and ensure they deliver state and federal funding for capital projects,  social services, the health department, public safety, ect. 

In Kane County the Legislative Committee acts as their own lobbyists. Kane County is spending zero dollars on lobbyists.  Will County spends $40,000 on their lobbyists.  

Lobbyists by the numbers:

V.A. Persico                   $60,000

All-Circo                        $120,000

McGuire Woods              $24,000

BGR Government Affairs  $80,000 

Total                               $284,000.00

DuPage County Representatives by the numbers:

13 Illinois House Members

9   Illinois Senate Members

8 Federal Representatives

18 County Board Members

1  County Chairman

Total :  49

You can learn more about Kane County Lobbying  efforts here.

You can learn more about Will County Lobbyists here.

DuPage Convalescent Center

Based on my own research and conclusions I did not support the $99,500 contract to CGR for the assessment of the DuPage Convalescent Center.  

The Daily Reports the following:

DuPage hopes to improve, not sell, convalescent center

Robert Sanchez

With the uncertainty of funding from the state and federal governments, DuPage officials say they want to identify operational and revenue changes that “support a financially sustainable model that can continue to meet the needs of an underserved population.”

So the county board agreed to hire the Center for Governmental Research to perform an in-depth assessment of the convalescent center.

Since counties aren’t required to operate a convalescent center, there have been politicians through the years who have proposed the DuPage center be sold or turned over to a private management company.

County board member Liz Chaplin said she’s worried that could happen again because there have been instances when the Center for Governmental Research recommended other counties sell their nursing homes.
Full article can be found here.

Conflict of Interest DuPage County Style

Citing conflict of interest during the March 24, 2015 meeting of the DuPage County Board I was the only member to vote NO on the appointment of Nancy Wolfe as the Inspector General.
How can anyone remain impartial when making possible judgements against those that treated her so well and allowed for such a generous benefit package?

The Chicago Tribune reports the following:

Pension boost tactic sidesteps laws to cost taxpayers millions

Joe Mahr, Chicago Tribune
5:31 am, August 15, 2015

Conflicts of interests?

What happened in DuPage County also highlights how those with major financial stakes in the tactic can be close to the discussion over its survival.
Records show that Thomas Downing in 2010 oversaw the state’s attorney’s office division responsible for crafting board opinions. The board member who pushed the 2010 proposal, John Curran, said Downing at times was assigned to help the committee that debated the ordinance.
Downing retired in 2013. The perk boosted his starting pension from about $69,000 a year to $82,000. Downing declined comment.
Nancy Wolfe oversaw Downing as the first assistant in the office. She retired earlier this year, with the timing of end-of-career payouts boosting her pension by 18 percent. Wolfe said she played no direct role in the opinion and, regardless, would never slant an opinion to benefit her personally. The current state’s attorney, Robert Berlin, and former state’s attorney, Joe Birkett, said Wolfe and Downing did nothing improper.
Birkett, now an appellate court judge, reviewed and signed the opinion, and he defended his office’s handling of the measure. But he said he understands how it could raise questions of a potential conflict of interest. He said he would have sought an outside legal review if the county board had asked.
“I think that’s a valid point. Anybody could have raised it at the time. Nobody did,” he said.
Curran, the board member who pushed the reform proposal, said he felt it would have been useless because, if someone sues, the state’s attorney’s office decides how to handle the lawsuit.
The full article can be found here.
The Video from the March 24th DuPage County Board meeting can be here Video.