Slots As Funding Source Oversold

From the anti-gambling Illinois Church Action on Alcoholism and Addiction Problems (ICAAA):

IDOT director calls for more reliable infrastructure funding

Wonder Lake slot machines.

Wonder Lake slot machines.

Gambling revenues that have failed to meet expectation show the need for a more reliable, long-term source of transportation funding, the head of the Illinois Department of Transportation said. While there is no immediate crisis, Randy Blankenhorn said, revenue from gambling would not be enough to sustain long-term infrastructure needs.

Here’s where you can find the story from the State Journal-Register.

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Housing Authority Board Members Sought

A press release from the McHenry County Board:

The McHenry County Board is accepting applications from individuals interested in appointment to the McHENRY COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY BOARD.

Two vacant positions are available with one term expiring on June 1, 2016 and one term expiring on June 1, 2021. Application forms are available at the County Board Office, Room 209, McHenry County Government Center, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock, IL 60098 (815-334-4221) or at the County’s website at

Completed applications should be returned to the County Board office no later than 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27, 2015. If mailing your application, certified or registered mail is recommended. Mailed applications should be sent to the following address: McHenry County Board, 2200 North Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098.

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Those who terms have or are expiring follow:

  • Daniel Bell (Crystal Lake) – resigned on 3-10-15. When county previously published for his position, no applications were received. His term expires 6-1-16.
  • Thomas Vaclavek, Jr. (Crystal Lake) – term expires 6-30-2015.

Hultgren Goes After Obsolete Regulations

A press release from Congressman Randy Hultgren:

Rep. Hultgren, Sen. Blunt Introduce Legislation to “Sunset” Outdated and Obsolete Regulations

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today reintroduced his legislation, the Regulatory Review and Sunset Act of 2015, which calls for establishing a process by which federal agencies can “sunset” obsolete, duplicative and conflicting regulations that weigh on American businesses and families.

Last Congress, provisions of Rep. Hultgren’s original bill H.R. 309, the Regulatory Sunset and Review Act, were incorporated into H.R. 4874, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act of 2014, at the specific request of the House Judiciary Committee. Thursday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) joined in introducing Senate counterpart legislation, also called the Regulatory Review and Sunset Act.

Congressman Randy Hultgren and unopposed Judicial Cook County Candidate John Curry conversed at the Pro-Life Pig Roast.

Congressman Randy Hultgren and unopposed Judicial Cook County Candidate John Curry conversed at the Pro-Life Pig Roast.

“For too long, hardworking Americans have suffered the collateral damage of higher prices, lower wages, and fewer jobs as a result of excessive and outdated regulation. The regulatory burden weakens the confidence of the business community in Illinois and nationwide, resulting in a reluctance to hire workers and invest. This inefficient and ineffective regulatory regime spans across the federal government, and our economy suffers,” said Rep. Hultgren.

“Families in my district are finding their incomes are not keeping up with rising prices for daily necessities. The last thing they need is more costly burdens on their budget. These bills will push federal agencies to analyze the rules on the books and put those that are obsolete, duplicative and conflicting on a path to elimination. I thank Sen. Blunt for introducing similar legislation in the Senate to cut down on unnecessary and costly regulations, and I hope to see action on both bills soon.”

“Every day, I hear from Missouri families, farmers, and small businesses who say one of the biggest barriers to job creation and economic growth is the extreme regulatory burden,” said Sen. Blunt. “Americans need more economic certainty, and it’s long past time for Congress to take a hard look at regulations that have become millstones around the necks of job creators. That’s why I’ve introduced this important bill that would create an orderly process to regularly review major rules and ease unnecessary regulatory burdens so that American job creators can get back to hiring, expanding, growing, and investing.”

Federal regulations cost American manufacturers, small businesses, workers and families alike:

  • Federal regulations impose an estimated burden of $1.86 trillion on our economy—more than the GDPs of Canada or Australia. That’s roughly $15,000 per U.S. household—23 percent of the average household income of $65,596. This exceeds every item in the household budget except housing – more than health care, food, transportation, entertainment, apparel, services and savings.
  • Complying with federal regulations costs American small businesses nearly $12,000 per employee annually, and $19,500 each for manufacturers.
  • At present there are more than 3,400 proposed federal rules pending approval, and federal regulators are rolling out new rules at a startling pace: last year, federal agencies finalized more than 10 new regulations a day – for a total of 3,759 new regulations in 2014.

To address the regulatory burden, the Regulatory Review and Sunset Act:

  • Establishes a bipartisan commission to review existing federal regulations and identify those that should be “sunsetted” to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.
  • Prioritizes for review regulations that are major rules (those with an economic impact of $100 million or more), as well as those that have been in effect more than 15 years and impose disproportionately high costs on small businesses.
  • Requires that annual and final commission recommendations on regulations be presented to Congress for approval by joint resolutions of Congress. If Congress votes to approve the commission’s recommendations, “sunsetting” of the regulations must take place.
  • Requires agencies to recommend to Congress statutory changes should a statute bind agencies to enforce rules they otherwise would sunset or repeal.

708 Board Members May Get $300 to Buy Tickets to Funded Fundraisers

Entrance to the 708 Mental Health Board building.

Entrance to the 708 Mental Health Board building.

Found this on the agenda for the 708 Mental Health Board’s Ethics and Compliance Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 28th:

The Mental Health Board will provide each member of the Board of Directors with a capped $300.00 annual allowance to purchase “tickets” only to fundraisers held by MHB funded providers.

Ticket purchase are for MHB Board Members only and do not cover costs of guests. Reimbursements will be made for tickets upon MHB receipt of proof of purchase.

If attending a fundraiser, each MHB Board Member will wear an official MHB name badge in order to identify his or her position.

Also to be considered is this non-reimbursement alternative:

The Mental Health Board does not reimburse or purchase tickets to specific fundraising events for Board members or staff.

Should an agency provide ticket(s) at no charge, the Executive Director will notify Board Members and if no Board Member expresses interest in attending, the ticket(s) will be offered to staff members.

All Board members and employees are invited to attend all events at their own expense.

Neither is required to attend any events.

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Do readers have advice for the 708 Board members?

Rauner’s Friday Appointments

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:

Governor Names CIO; Announces Appointments

Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner

CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner announced today he has hired the state’s Chief Information Officer, and made appointments to the Illinois Community College Board, the Capital Development Board, the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the Illinois Health Facilities and Review Board, and the Illinois Workforce Investment Board.

Name: Hardik Bhatt
Position: Chief Information Officer

Governor Bruce Rauner has selected Hardik Bhatt to become Illinois’ Chief Information Officer (CIO). His experience in the private and public sectors in information technology will help transform Illinois’ IT infrastructure so it’s more efficient and accessible.

As the state CIO, Bhatt will work with all state agencies to align, utilize and streamline technology usage to fit their business priorities in order to transform services provided by state agencies to their constituents. Bhatt also leads the Bureau of Computer and Communication Services and is responsible for IT infrastructure, service delivery and governance across the state.

Prior to joining the State of Illinois, Bhatt was a Senior Director with Cisco and led the market development function for Internet of Everything for Global Public Sector. As part of that, Bhatt worked with mayors, governors and CIOs to help them extract value by connecting the unconnected public assets like parking spots, trash cans, streetlights, etc. Prior to that, Bhatt led Cisco’s Business Development for the Americas for Cisco’s Smart and Connected Communities Business.

Bhatt joined Cisco in 2010, after being the Chief Information Officer for the City of Chicago and Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology for five years. Bhatt also built and led the Smart Chicago program, which is considered a national model for improving access to affordable broadband in the community, while increasing technology awareness, talent and usage.

Bhatt has an MBA from Northwestern and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from MS University in Baroda, India. He lives in Chicago.

Name: Cheryl Hyman
Position: Board Member – Illinois Community College Board

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Chancellor Cheryl Hyman to the Illinois Community College Board. In addition to her work as a community college administrator, she is a graduate of Olive Harvey College, a unit of CCC, bringing a dual perspective to the board.

As chancellor, Hyman has led a reinvention initiative to ensure all CCC students are prepared for further education and careers. Under her tenure, the graduation rate has doubled and enrollment has increased. She has made student success her number-one priority, guiding more than 115,000 students annually.

Prior to her work with CCC, Hyman was the Vice President of Operations Strategy and Business Intelligence at ComEd. She was responsible for the operational strategies of the utility. She started working with ComEd in 1996 and worked her way through the company in a number of different areas including information technology, community and economic development, and government and legislative affairs.

The odds were stacked against Hyman; she grew up in poverty and dropped out of high school at 17. She realized she wanted more out of life, earning her diploma and eventually an associate’s degree from Olive Harvey College. She’s able to identify with many of the students who come to CCC trying to make a better life for themselves.

Hyman went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She holds a master’s degree from North Park University and an Executive Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University. Hyman is also a board member of Complete College America, which is an organization that works to improve college graduation rates. She lives in Chicago.

Name: James Reilly
Position: Chairman – Capital Development Board

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed former State Representative James Reilly as the Chairman of the Capital Development Board. Reilly brings decades of experience in public sector development.

Reilly is the former CEO of the Metropolitan Planning and Exposition Authority (MPEA), where he oversaw operations and policy. He held the position twice, from 1989-1999 and from 2012-2015. He has overseen the redevelopment of Navy Pier, expansion of McCormick Place and development of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. He also served as a trustee of the MPEA from 2010 to 2012 before his second tenure as CEO.

In between stints at the MPEA, Reilly was a consultant to the hospitality industry at the Reilly Consultant Group. He was also the chairman of the Regional Transit Authority from 2005-2010 and was the CEO of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau from 1999-2004.

Reilly has extensive experience in state government, serving as chief of staff to Governor Jim Edgar from 1994-1995 and for Governor Jim Thompson from 1983 to 1989. He also served in the General Assembly for six years as a state representative.

Reilly earned his bachelor’s degree from Illinois College and a law degree from the University of Chicago. He lives in Chicago.

Name: Steven Orlando
Position: Board Member – Capital Development Board

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Steven Orlando to the Capital Development Board. Orlando brings a marketing and insurance background to the board.

Currently, Orlando is the Vice President of Sales for the Candos Agency, which is an insurance and financial services agency. He has worked for the agency since 2005 and markets health insurance and other benefits to small employers and individuals.

Prior to the Candos Agency, Orlando worked for Heartland Blood Centers as a marketing representative. He assisted churches, businesses and high schools with blood drives by recruiting donor and supplying prizes and gifts. Orlando also worked at Farmers Insurance for nearly three years as a personal lines underwriter.

Orlando earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. He lives in Plainfield.

Name: Hermene Hartman
Position: Commissioner – Human Rights Commission

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Hermene Hartman to the Human Rights Commission. Hartman is an accomplished communications consultant and founded N’DIGO, which is a weekly newspaper targeted at Chicago’s black middle class.

Hartman founded N’DIGO in 1989 to showcase the lifestyles, trends, issues and interests of Chicago’s African-American community. It currently has a readership of 500,000 and is distributed across the city. In addition, she also publishes N’DIGO Profiles, which is an annual magazine that presents an ongoing anthology of Black Chicago. It’s distributed in the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business in March.

Hartman holds a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from Roosevelt University. She also earned a certificate in business administration from the University of Illinois. Hartman lives in Chicago.

Name: Joel Johnson
Position: Board Member – Health Facilities and Services Review Board

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Joel Johnson to the Health Facilities and Services Review Board. He has more than 20 years of experience in the health and human services field.

Currently, Johnson is the President and CEO of the Human Resources Development Institute, Inc., a human service organization focusing on behavioral health and substance abuse treatment.

Previously, Johnson was the COO for SOS Children’s Villages of Chicago, which is a multi-site, fully accredited, foster care agency that worked to keep sibling groups together while in substitute care. He also was the director of the Midwest region for the Child Welfare League of America and the assistant director of child welfare services for Chicago Commons, which provided leadership to child welfare professionals.

Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Florida A&M University. He also holds a certificate in non-profit management from the University of Illinois – Chicago. He lives in Chicago.

Name: Marlon McClinton
Position: Board Member – Illinois Workforce Investment Board

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Marlon McClinton to the Illinois Workforce Investment Board. He brings more than 20 years of experience in business transformation and management to the board.

McClinton is currently the President and CEO of Utilivate Technologies, which provides energy management services, management consulting and professional management services to companies. Prior to that he was the Vice President at Gas Research Institute, where he was responsible for gas operations, and product development for residential, commercial and industrial areas. He led teams that delivered more than 15 hardware and software products to the marketplace on an annual basis.

McClinton is a graduate of Northwestern University, earning a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in engineering, as well as an MBA. He lives in Chicago.

Name: Sylvia Wetzel
Position: Board Member – Illinois Workforce Investment Board

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Sylvia Wetzel to the Illinois Workforce Development Board. She brings 35 years of experience in marketing and business development to the position.

Wetzel is currently the Vice President of Human Capital and Corporate Wellness at Bison Gear and Engineering. She works to develop the company’s workforce through education and policy at her company and by advocating for manufacturing careers with the general public. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of Eastgate Manor Assisted/Supportive Living, and transformed the organization in 90 days by turning losses into profits. She has also worked for AT&T Network Systems.

Wetzel is a graduate of Judson College, earning her bachelor’s degree in business management and leadership. She lives in Elgin.

Proposal to Raise Pay, End Mileage for ZBA

The McHenry County Board is moving toward raising the pay of Zoning Board of Appeals members, but plan to eliminate mileage.

What’s the reason?

The memo gives this reason:

According to County Administration, processing mileage reimbursement payments for the ZBA creates additional burden for payroll processing. County Administration recommends that per diem rates for the Zoning Board of Appeals be increased by $15.00 per meeting and that the Zoning Board of Appeals chairman and members no longer receive mileage reimbursement for attending hearings. The ZBA will remain entitled to receive mileage reimbursement for zoning petition site visits.

Former County Board member Kathy Bergan Schmidt suggested eliminating mileage for County Board members at a Human Resources meeting early this month.

She did not suggest raising their salaries to compensate for the loss of mileage reimbursement.

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See earlier article on the topic here.

County Board Taking Another Step to Empty Valley Hi’s $38 Million Piggy Bank

Ralph Sara, Tom Annarella and Peter Austin at the Public Health Committee budget hearing for Valley HI.

Finance guy Ralph Sarbaugh, Valley Hi Administrator Tom Annarella and County Administrator Peter Austin at the Public Health Committee budget hearing for Valley HI.

The Operating Board of McHenry County’s nursing home, Valley Hi, has scheduled a special meeting for Monday night at 6 PM.

My guess is this is the next step in spending the $38 million sitting in the bank last week.

The annual budget of Valley Hi is about $10 million.

Local taxpayers will be asked for $3.5 million this year, despite the huge surplus.

Here is the official notice:

The McHENRY COUNTY VALLEY HI OPERATING BOARD has scheduled a special meeting for Monday, April 27, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of interviewing companies for a market demand analysis proposal, and to conduct regular business of the committee as necessary and appropriate.

The meeting will be held at:

Valley Hi Nursing Home
2406 Hartland Road
Woodstock, IL 60098

See also the article, “Three Vacancies for Valley Hi Board with $38 Million in the Bank.”

The deadline for applying is 2:00 PM on Friday, May 15, 2015.

All property taxes collected by McHenry County government last year was about $71 million.