DuPage County: More Misused Funds

In May, I wrote about DuPage County using the RTA sales tax to balance the General Fund rather than being used for our roads and public transit.  In July it was brought to the attention of the Finance Committee members that the Coroner Fee Fund has been providing relief to the General Fund.  The law states that the General Fund is responsible for paying the fees associated with autopsies. Since 2007, the fees associated with autopsies have been paid from the Coroner Fee Fund. Richard Jorgensen, the DuPage County Coroner, has requested that the fees associated with autopsies be paid from the General Fund as stated in the Illinois Statute, and use the Coroner Fee Fund funds for the purpose that was initially passed.

It appears the Coroner Fee Fund can no longer bare the burden of providing relief to the General Fund. This is not sound budgeting. This is simply a diversion of funds, kicking the can down the road. Below are questions that I have asked. These are important questions that need to be answered:

Besides the RTA Tax and the Coroner Fee Fund how many other funds are being used in the General Fund that were appropriated for specific purpose other than the General Fund?
If we were to allocate the RTA funds to transportation what impact would that have on the General Fund?
If the General Fund were to pay for the fees associated with autopsies as required by Illinois State Statute what impact would that have on the General Fund? 

You can read more about the misused funds here.

 

DUPAGE COUNTY CLERK CANDIDATE JEAN KACZMAREK  CELEBRATES RETURN OF ELECTIONS TO THE COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE

For years Jean Kaczmarek has been working as a government watchdog, her main focus has been the DuPage Election Commission.  Jean has been calling for the electoral process to be returned to the clerk’s office for over 13 years. Today, Bruce Rauner was in DuPage County were he joined DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin in signing legislation amending the Election Code to allow DuPage to dissolve the commission and transfer its functions to the county clerk’s office effective Jan. 1. Jean was not invited to the bill signing and has never been recognized for her hard work. We will not let Jean’s efforts go unrecognized. Please see below.

 

Date: 7/22/2018

For Release: IMMEDIATE

 

DUPAGE COUNTY CLERK CANDIDATE JEAN KACZMAREK 
 
CELEBRATES RETURN OF ELECTIONS TO THE COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE

 

For years Jean Kaczmarek has been calling for the electoral process to be returned to the clerk’s office. This Monday, Bruce Rauner will be in DuPage County and will join DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin in signing legislation amending the Election Code to allow DuPage to dissolve the commission and transfer its functions to the county clerk’s office effective Jan. 1. Jean was not invited to the bill signing and has never been recognized for her hard work. We will not let Jean’s efforts go unrecognized. In order to honor Jean please repost this and please use the attached photo as your profile picture.

Governor Rauner to Sign Long-Awaited Consolidation Bill July 23rd in DuPage County

GLEN ELLYN, IL – 2018 Democratic candidate for DuPage County Clerk, Jean Kaczmarek, is satisfied that after her 13 years of advocating the return of elections to the County Clerk’s office, the move is one step closer with the signing of House Bill 5123 in DuPage County on July 23rd.

“Until the end of 2016, no one wanted to talk about moving the electoral process back to the County Clerk’s office except for one person – me. Today the governor is here signing the bill. That’s a seismic shift,” Kaczmarek says.

Kaczmarek adds, “If you ask 100 county clerks in Illinois what their number one responsibility was, he or she would reply: Administering the electoral process. DuPage’s county clerk hasn’t had that job, yet enjoys the largest salary of anyone holding that county office in the entire state...by far. That’s just plain wrong. It’s time for a change.”

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin’s first effort to bring consolidation of the two offices was in January 2017. The “hybrid model” would have allowed the County Board Chairman to maintain appointment power of a Commission under the County Clerk’s office. A bill was eventually tabled in the House. “I objected because it wasn’t progress. I held out for a clean, constitutional bill DuPage deserved.”

Kaczmarek has been a county government watchdog since 2005, volunteering much of her time scrutinizing the DuPage County Election Commission. The Commission has been an “independent” government body since 1974 following a County Board ordinance (see attachment). Until a few years ago, DuPage had the only separate county-wide election office in Illinois.

She soon realized that there were flaws in the structure which made oversight and problem-solving challenging. “For years, whenever I approached other officials in the County to assist me, they would shake their heads no and say it was outside their jurisdiction,” Kaczmarek says.

Kaczmarek found the definition of “independent” misleading. The Commission board is made up of three members, each appointed and reappointed exclusively by the County Board Chairman. Each Commissioner is paid $27,500 annually and meets once per month. For 44 years, there were always two Republicans and one Democrat on the Board. Lobbyists, spinners, printers, attorneys and other vendors chosen during the decades had political ties. Further, the Commission was not a taxing body and relied on the County for its funding, office space and other governmental functions such as Human Resources.

“In theory, independence sounds great,” Kaczmarek adds. “In reality, true independence proved impossible.”

DuPage’s Election Commission has faced numerous challenges over the years. Most recently, there was a long delay in 2018 Primary Election Night results due to faulty ender cards provided by a vendor for the optical-scan machines; the cards also damaged 167 machines. Last week, the Commission’s executive director, Joe Sobecki, abruptly resigned.

“People are looking for a County Clerk candidate with a demonstrated knowledge and passion for elections,” Kaczmarek says. “There is only one candidate with this qualification.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Attached are the candidate’s photo, along with the 1973 DuPage County Board ordinance creating the Election Commission.

 

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2018

Had a fantastic time at the Villa Park 4th of July Parade. Always such a warm and welcoming reception. I love greeting old and new friends along the route. Great seeing State Senator Tom Cullerton and so nice meeting Democratic Candidate for Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Many thanks to Moon Khan and Joe Amore who lead the chants which kept us all motivated and got the crowd involved .  Also a big thank you to Ben McAdams who was always in the right place at the right time and to Susan O’Donnell Warren for just being her! A special shout out the the many people that had garden hoses along the way that were used to cool down the hot and tired marchers.

 

Happy 4th of July

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness! – Thomas Jefferson

The Chaplin Campaign will be marching in the Villa Park 4th of July Parade. The parade steps off at noon going west on Central to Harvard, south on Harvard to Madison, east on Madison to Summit, north on Summit to Park and west on Park to Ardmore. Hope to see you there!

 

 

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017

Villa Park 4th of July Parade 2017