New Auditor General Frank Mautino under Attack

A press release from Allen Skillicorn, who is running for Mike Tryon’s legislative seat:

IT’S TIME TO INVESTIGATE AUDITOR GENERAL FRANK MAUTINO

East Dundee, IL –Frank Mautino was appointed to be the Illinois State Auditor General in October.

One of the mailings tying Democratic Party State Rep. Frank Mautino to Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn in Frank Mautino's 2014 campaign.

One of the mailings tying Democratic Party State Rep. Frank Mautino to Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn in Frank Mautino’s 2014 campaign.

Records Mautino provided to the State Board of Elections regarding his expenses reveal that Mautino spent $213,338.31 on fuel and repairs for his campaign vehicle between March of 2005 and December 2015.

His campaign itemized expenditure reporting indicates $20,914.20 was used specifically for gas purchases during that same time frame, all at the same gas station, Happy’s Super Service Station. Additional instances of questionable spending continue to come to light.

“How does someone spend $21,000 at the same exact gas station?” Skillicorn continued, “I challenge members of the House Republican Caucus and my three Republican opponents Paul Serwatka, Dan Wilbrandt, and Carolyn Schofield to call for an independent investigation and for Frank Mautino to resign or be removed from office if allegations of improper spending are found to have merit.

“This is another example of the political ruling class protecting and enriching themselves by appointing one of their own to a lucrative government job instead of using qualifications to determine who would provide the best oversight and accountability as Illinois’ Auditor General.”

On October 20, the State House and Senate voted to promote their colleague, Frank Mautino, who spent 24 years as a State Representative to a ten-year position with a guaranteed salary of $152,000, to Auditor General.

Other references: http://illinoistimes.com/article-16709-questionable-campaign-spending.html

Allen Skillicorn is a Republican candidate running in the 66th State House District. He faces Paul Serwatka, Dan Wilbrandt and Carolyn Schofield in the March 15th Primary.

Keeping the One-Sixth of Prisoners Who Are Mentally Ill Out of McHenry County Jail

The minutes of the January 13, 2016, McHenry County Public Health Committee dipped into the mental health problems of those ending up in the County Jail.

McHenry County Jail

McHenry County Jail

The statistics for last year show there were 6,200 individuals detained in our jail last year.

Of those 6,200 individuals, there were 1,000 that had mental health issues.

One sixth of those jailed could be considered for this program, based on the numbers from FY2012 to now.

This report provides a starting date of when they stated keeping track of the mental health issues found in the jail. Mr. Hartman noted he would confirm the numbers.

The data below, for 2015, gives an idea of the issues they need to address.

For leadership of the program, they had a meeting with the participants who have all shown strong support for this. Though Mr. Block was ill that day, he has stated they are already working towards the efforts outlined in the program.

Conversations have been held between the agencies, which have not occurred in other counties.

The Sheriff has provided support for the program. Chief DeVane will co-lead this collective effort.

It is expected that a resolution will be brought forward at the next meeting, which is mostly ceremonial.

It was stated this program is very preliminary at this point.

There are questions regarding what this program is and how does this will compliment what is already in place.

Mr. Hartman stated that the first step is to look at what is already being provided.

There are over 100 [of about 3,000] counties in the country that have adopted this program which they heard about through NACO (National Association of County Officials).

The purpose of the program is to keep mentally ill people out of the jails.

It also provides a tool for the public to see what we are doing to address mental health issues.

This issue could remain as a standing item on the agenda in order to share data between the group.

They will create a piece so the public knows the good work being done by those involved.

The bigger picture is the impact of the State budget.

That is the most effective way to show the impact.

They have seen an increase in service agencies closing which then ends up with the jails being where those with mental health issues end up. McHenry County already has a lot of programs in place to address these issues.

It was suggested they provide a chart that shows what is already being provided and what they expect to accomplish in the future. It was questioned who will absorb the costs of the program?

They were informed that no one wants any additional costs.

This program is very preliminary though there are some things that could be done to reduce costs.

Anna May Miller

Anna May Miller

Ms. Miller stated that if as a County, we are already providing the first steps identified in the program, the costs are the personnel involved, though they are not being paid any more to be included as part of this program.

Instead, the department has absorbed the program as part of their overall duties.

If a program is identified, it could change someone’s budget.

They would then need approval at that time but at this point the approval consists of whether we are buying into the concept, which we already do It was stated, in the past, they did not care about the type of inmates they were putting into the jails.

Now they review who is being arrested to find out if it is someone that should be kept out of the jail.

This step is very preliminary for some though they have been doing this in McHenry County for some time.

It was stated they would like to see how the various departments are expected to implement this program.

Donna Kurtz

Donna Kurtz

Ms. Kurtz stated the resolution should explain how this complements the current programs and whether there are additional costs associated with the program.

This information needs to be shared with the leaders so they can ask the appropriate questions regarding the program in order to determine whether the outcomes are what is expected.

They need to understand this so they can understand the value associated with the program.

It was suggested that Mr. Block and Chief DeVane be included in the meeting in order to answer questions from the committee members.

Mr. Austin noted that he had a meeting with key personnel and they indicated the Sheriff will get the data for the expected savings of keeping those with mental health issues out of the jail.

Larry Smith

Larry Smith

Mr. Smith questioned what the big picture for the program is at the end?

He stated they need to understand what they expect to accomplish by implementing this program.

He questioned how they plan to measure the accomplishments?

Mr. Austin noted there individuals that work in the courthouse that will be able to provide a report to strengthen the measurements on performance.

Mary McCann chairs the Public Health Committee.

Mary McCann chairs the Public Health Committee.

Chairman McCann noted the Stepping Up program gives a name to the entire organizational structure of what they are doing.

There are some expectations for the program so they need to know what costs were averted so the public can see.

Right now there is not a very organized structure.

She stated one issue that we have is we the need to advocate for the State to understand the important part of economic development.

Mental Health has been the hardest hit by the State budget issues.

They need to question how we can work with the Social Service agencies so the State understands, when you withhold services you impact government.

Calling for help locally is not a solution.

It was stated they also need to identify what Mental Health illness is.

That is why the role of the Mental Health Board is so important.

The committee members stated that when Chief DeVane is here, they would like to question him on how they are treating the mentally disabled people that are arrested.

It was stated they will have a real opportunity to address the process.

It was stated there are a lot of angry people because those with mental illnesses are being put into jail.

There seems to be a total lack of communication, which is a huge issue.

It was stated they do not believe law enforcement has a plan to address the mentally disabled.

There seems to be no process to guide them to address the mentally disabled being jailed.

It is hopeful this program will help to address these types of issues.

The committee members were informed the Mental Health Board will provide a resource form that includes a list of agencies that are available to help.

It was stated this form should be included as a part of this initiative.

Chairman McCann noted the Stepping Up initiative was included in the NACO newsletter that included information regarding the program.

She suggested they send out the link to this information.

The committee members were informed that yesterday Mr. Wallis sent out information regarding the People in Need workshop.

This is a great event to meet people that work within the County.

Patrick Kenneally for State's Attorney

Four 66th District State Rep. Candidates Face Public

The McHenry County League of Women Voters took on two state representative districts and one state senate district Thursday night.

With his fake Republican opponent Jeffrey Lichte (he who had a Jack Franks yard sign in his year in 2014 and has consistently voted in Democratic Party primaries) missing in action, Steve Reick left the stage and it was occupied by the four candidates running for Mike Tryon’s State Rep. seat.

Carolyn Schofield, Paul Serwatka, Allen Skillicorn and Dan Wilbrandt.

Carolyn Schofield, Paul Serwatka, Allen Skillicorn and Dan Wilbrandt before the talking began.

All four candidates have served in municipal government:

  • Carolyn Schofield – Crystal Lake, plus McHenry County Board
  • Paul Serwatka – Just elected by a write-in vote to the Lakewood Village Board, beating all incumbents
  • Allen Skillicorn – Elected five years ago to the East Dundee Village Board
  • Dan Wilbrandt – Serving on the West Dundee Village Board.

The questions went from the complex to the arcane.

With two minutes to explain how the State Aid to Education Formula should be changed, generalities abounded.

Wilbrandt looking left 2-4-16

Dan Wilbrandt

In reply to a budget impasse question Wilbrandt got off a good line:

“I do not want to be the only one left here after everyone else has left.”

The arcane question was whether every bill should get a committee hearing.

With one-third fewer state representatives today than in the 1970’s, the number of bills is probably double.

Wilbrandt said, “Yes.”

Carolyn Schofield

Carolyn Schofield

Schofield allowed as how “maybe not all” should get a hearing.

“It’s insane that one person can stop a bill from coming out of the Rules Committee,” Serwatka asserted.

Allen Skillicorn

Allen Skillicorn

Skillicorn thought it was unrealistic that every bill get a hearing, but thought that any whose sponsor could obtain co-sponsorship from a majority of the chamber should.

He added that House Speaker Mike Madigan has only scheduled ten session days this spring.

There was a question about how taxes could be lowered.

All focused in on local property taxes, rather than state taxes, which most people think will be raised whenever Madigan and Governor Bruce Rauner can reach some “grand bargain.”

Schofield and Serwatka targeted state mandates on local government.

Skillicorn mentioned Prevailing Wage requirements (which sent government building projects way, way above private construction) and the DuPage County consolidation bill.

Wilbrandt thought generating more jobs would be needed.

Paul Serwatka

Paul Serwatka

Freezing property taxes for two or more years was the topic of another question.

Serwatka agreed they should be and argued for getting rid of Prevailing Wages.

Skillicorn said such a freeze was tied to Rauner’s proposed reforms.

Wilbrandt agreed, but wanted local people to have the ability to raise property taxes by referendum.

Schofield said she had “concern with a property tax freeze taking control of local governments” and [punishing] those governments that have been economical.  She also wanted to find a way that social services were taken care of.

The greatest problem with the local Republican Party was posed.

Skillicorn argued for a stronger organization in the suburbs.

Wilbrandt agreed that “We need to growth the Republican Party and not worry so much about our differences.  Enough with the infighting.”

At this point Serwatka left the stage, not to return.

Paul Serwatka spent much of the latter part of the debate in the men's room suffering from symptoms of the flu.

Paul Serwatka spent much of the latter part of the debate in the men’s room suffering from symptoms of the flu.

(Between the State Rep. and State Senate portions of the program, I went to the bathroom and found him showing symptoms of the flu.)

Schofield, answering the GOP question, said one of the greatest problems was that the Republican Party “has become the party of ‘No.'”

“When we are in Springfield we are in the superminority.”

She said she believed in “working with all parties.

“I respect both sides of both issues.”

A question was asked about Route 62’s being turned into four lanes through Barrington Hills.

Wilbrandt favored the idea, but noted, “It’s funny that we want to improve roads so people can get in and out faster.”

“I completely agree with that…if they feel it’s a project they need to make their village thrive.”

Barrington Hills, of course, does not want Route 62 to be widened to four lanes.

Skillicorn pointed to the population boom west of Randall Road.

“There traffic is an issue.”

There was a question on township consolidation.

“I spent my entire summer researching this issue.  I was a neutral party.”

She pointed out that she lived in Grafton Township were things “weren’t good.”

Schofield said she worked with Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti to advance legislative improvements.

Skillicorn seemed to criticize Schofield’s efforts, saying, “There should have been some leadership on this.”

He said local governments have to concentrate on duplicative services, “something similar to the DuPage consolidation.”

“There is lot of buzz,” Wilbrandt noted.

There was a chance to give the question to the voters, but, “It got blocked.”

He pointed out that West Dundee, East Dundee and Carpentersville were consolidating fire protection.

In response to whether midwives should be licensed, a fight involving the Illinois Medical Society, the two men on the stage indicated agreement, while Schofield said she would be happy to facilitate discussions between the Medical Society and the midwives.”

The final question asked each candidate’s greatest personal accomplishment.

Wilbrandt pointed to his service “providing justice [in the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office] to those who don’t [have it].

Schofield said it was bring “a Mom,” in which role, she said, played every role in life.

Skillicorn pointed to his service on the East Dundee Village Board, where he the levy has been frozen since he took office in 2011.

Later Skillicorn told me, “Tt actually lowered taxes because we didn’t capture equalized assessed valuation growth either.”

Government Consolidation Bills Introduced

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:

Governor Applauds Bipartisan Consolidation Legislation

Task Force headed by Lt. Governor announces four bipartisan bills to empower local communities & save taxpayer dollars

NAPERVILLE – Governor Bruce Rauner today joined Lt. Governor Sanguinetti, legislative leaders and local elected officials to announce four bipartisan pieces of legislation to streamline local government delivering more control to local communities.

“Today we are one step closer to empowering our local communities and giving them the necessary tools to rein in their out of control costs,” Governor Rauner said.

Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner

“These four bills are just the start of delivering more value to taxpayers by reducing layers of redundant bureaucracy. I want to thank the Lt. Governor and the Task Force for their hard work, and I look forward to working with the legislature to get these bills passed.”

Evelyn Sanguinetti

Evelyn Sanguinetti

“I believe the recommendations put forward today will have a tremendous impact on the people of Illinois,” said Lt. Governor Sanguinetti.

“It was an honor to serve as the Chairman of the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force. I look forward to continue working with members of the Task Force as we work to streamline local government and make it more efficient for the taxpayers of Illinois.”

According to the US Census of Government, Illinois has more local units of government than any other state in the nation at 6,963. Illinois also has the second-highest effective property tax rate in the nation. These four pieces of legislation help reduce state barriers to consolidation, and empower taxpayers and local leaders to pursue efficient and effective government.

The proposed legislation includes:

Citizens Empowerment Act: Empowers Illinois citizens and local governments to consolidate duplicative, excessive or unnecessary units of government via referendum. Sponsored by: Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington), Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon)

DuPage County Consolidation Powers Expansion: Provides that the Local Government Reduction and Efficiency Division of the Counties Code applies to all counties which currently only applies to DuPage County. Sponsored by: Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton), Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington), Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), Rep. Grant Werhli (R-Naperville) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon)

Evanston Township Consolidation Expansion: Extends to all coterminous townships and municipalities the same authority to consolidate that is currently only provided to Evanston. Sponsored by: Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon)

Township Consolidation: Removes arbitrary barriers to township consolidation that exist in statute so local residents or units of government can consolidate if they so choose. Sponsored by: Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon)

“I have been fighting for government consolidation since the day I was elected in 2008,” said State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington). “I am proud to have had the opportunity to recommend ways we can eliminate government bureaucracy and wasteful spending to reduce costs for our local governments, schools and taxpayers.”

“I want to thank the Lt. Governor and Governor Rauner for their leadership on this important issue,” said State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo). “I chaired the previous effort and found that background extremely useful for this effort, but I especially appreciate this administration’s commitment to consolidation and government efficiencies.”

“I’m glad to support these proposals to streamline and improve local government,” said State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon). “These bills will reduce costs and improve efficiency, and that will help taxpayers across Illinois.”

“It is the duty of all elected officials to seek greater efficiencies and cost-savings opportunities by way of intergovernmental agreements that save taxpayer dollars,” said State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton). “In the face of ‘sky-high’ property taxes, it’s time to empower local governments with these cost-saving measures.”

“The Task Force put together a very comprehensive report and as elected officials we all have a responsibility to look for the most efficient way to deliver services to residents,” said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “Naperville has always been a community that values good government as well as looking at innovative ways to create savings for our taxpayers.”

Dan Regna Fundraiser

I didn’t get to the Dan Regna for State’s Attorney fundraiser at d’Andrea’s on January 21st.

That was the same night as the candidate Patrick Kenneally’s Meet & Greet at the Crystal Lake Rib House.

Last night at Carolyn Schofield’s fundraiser at the Old Towne Hall, I got a chance to chat with Regna and told him I was willing to post candidate photos and press releases.  (Sometimes it takes some time, but I’m trying to get to them all.)

Today, Regna sent me pictures from the 21st, which you see below:

His friend and former colleague Joe Foster led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Leading the Pledge of Allegiance was West Point classmate LTC Joe Foster.

Leading the Pledge of Allegiance was West Point classmate LTC Joe Foster, who shared military service at Fort Sheridan.

Attorney Don Brewer spoke to the crowd.

Former Algonquin Village and County Board member President Don Brewer addressed the crowd.

Former Algonquin Village and County Board member President Don Brewer addressed the crowd about Dan Regna’s 21 years’ county legal experience.

Former Crystal Lake Police Chief expressed his support for Regna.

Retired Crystal Lake Police Chief David Lindner spoke on Dan Regna's behalf.

Retired Crystal Lake Police Chief David Lindner spoke on Dan Regna’s behalf.

And, of course, the candidate himself addressed those gathered.

Dan Regna address his supporters.

Dan Regna address his supporters.

After the formal part of the fundraiser, people posed for pictures.

Here is Regna with State Rep. Mike Tryon and Recorder of Deeds candidate Joni Smith.

Dan Regna got his picture taken with Recorder of Deeds candidate Joni Smith and State Representative Mike Tryon.

Dan Regna got his picture taken with Recorder of Deeds candidate Joni Smith and State Representative Mike Tryon.

Then, Regna and Tryon posed with McHenry County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller.

Joe Gottemoller, Dan Regna and Mike Tryon smiled for the camera.

Joe Gottemoller, Dan Regna and Mike Tryon smiled for the camera.

Barb Wheeler Data Mining

Barb Wheeler at the podium of the Midwest Conference of Women Legislators.

Barb Wheeler at the podium of the Midwest Conference of Women Legislators.

Wednesday night State Rep. Barb Wheeler used an automated poll mainly to find out how her constituents stand on wedge issues.

There was a question about guns.

There was a question about abortion.

Maybe I missed one that a reader can supply.

Then, there was a strangely mixed question about whether the person on the phone would be in favor of raising taxes (but I don’t think the word “tax” was raised) for “roads, technology and infrastructure.”

Maybe I shouldn’t deduce from this that talk in Springfield is bringing up in the final question “goodies” that could be given to constituents after they get whacked with a big tax increase.

There was no mention of the retirement tax that Wheeler floated n the Northwest Herald.

Perhaps there would have been had she a primary opponent.

Demetra Tsimiligras for Circuit Judge

County Board Candidates: Ending Homelessness Not County Responsibility

Kay Bates, Sue Draffkorn, Craig Wilcox, Joe Calomino, Mike Skala, Andy Snarski, Jim Kearns, Kelly Liebmann, Preston Rea, Ersel Schuster faced the voters at McHenry County College Tuesday night.

Kay Bates, Sue Draffkorn, Craig Wilcox, Joe Calomino, Mike Skala, Andy Snarski, Jim Kearns, Kelly Liebmann, Preston Rea, Ersel Schuster faced the voters at McHenry County College Tuesday night.

Each night McHenry County Board members were asked about the County Board’s role in ending homelessness.

From left to right are County Board District 1 candidates Yvonne Barnes, Terence Ferenc, Anna May Miller and Tom Wilbeck; District 2 candidates Cameron Hubbard, John Reinert and Jeff Thorsen; and District 3 candidates Nancy Gonsiorek,

From left to right are County Board District 1 candidates Yvonne Barnes, Terence Ferenc, Anna May Miller and Tom Wilbeck; District 2 candidates Cameron Hubbard, John Reinert and Jeff Thorsen; and District 3 candidates Nancy Gonsiorek,

That took up one of the 6-7 questions asked candidates last Tuesday and Thursday.

Thursday I was quite disappointed that a question was not asked about Valley Hi’s $41.3 million surplus.

Instead the homelessness question was asked again.

Since League question screeners thought the subject so important, let me summarize the answers:

None of the candidates thought ending homelessness should be the responsibility of county government.

They were willing to pass Federal grants, but though social service agencies and churches should be in the forefront of the problem.

The League, it should be noted, called the Dole Mansion meeting that led to the creation of PADS.