Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Elgin police approve no-raise contract offer - Courier News


just one year and that it calls for no pay raise in 2011. In return, the city would guarantee no union members would be laid off this year. The city also would allow officers hired before a policy change made about five years ago to qualify for promotions even though they don’t have a four-year college degree.

Elgin police approve no-raise contract offer - Courier News

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Rockford Auburn teacher escorted off campus, placed on leave | The Rock River Times


Boycce has been vocal about his stand against school closings, program cuts and the leadership style of Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield. He has expressed some of that frustration through posts on Facebook.

“They have been investigating me for the past two months,” Boyce said. “They can’t really find anything so they are now using things I am putting on Facebook.”

Early Thursday, Boyce posted a comment on the social networking site regarding the suspension of Beyer Principal David Sanders. Sanders was placed on administrative leave earlier this week for restraining an unruly student.

Click on the following for the complete story:  Auburn teacher escorted off campus, placed on leave | The Rock River Times

Beloit Daily News : Follow the law. It saves money

we applaud the Associated Press and the Madison publication Isthmus for prying loose e-mails related to the budget repair bill from the office of Gov. Scott Walker.
And we point out that Walker could have saved taxpayers’ money simply by following the law.

HERE’S THE STORY: The governor said multiple times that e-mails received by his office strongly supported his proposed legislation. The AP and Isthmus said, essentially, “show me.”
Walker’s office resisted and delayed so the news organizations filed a lawsuit. Last week the governor’s office capitulated and settled the case, releasing the documents — and agreeing to pay $7,000 in legal fees for the AP and Isthmus.

An analysis of the released e-mails show the documents backed up his claims of support (about 60 percent in favor to 32 percent opposed). All the foot-dragging accomplished was to cost taxpayers $7,000 in attorney’s fees for the plaintiffs.

Click on the following for the complete editorial: Beloit Daily News - your source for news, entertainment, sports, opinion, events, community, shopping and more > Opinion > Todays Opinion

Rockford SchoolDistrict 205 faces Attorney General inquiry regarding Open Meetings Act | The Rock River Times

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s (D) office is launching an inquiry into at least seven Open Meetings Act (OMA) Requests for Review in relation to the Rockford Board of Education.

According to a March 16 letter from Assistant Public Access Counselor Matthew C. Rogina to Rockford Public School District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield and District 205 Attorney Lori Hoadley, “The requests raise questions about whether the Board provided proper accommodations for the March 1, 2011 meeting and whether certain members of the public were afforded the opportunity to address the Board.

Click on the following for more details:  District 205 faces Attorney General inquiry regarding Open Meetings Act | The Rock River Times

Boone County Board mentioned by Attorney General in Sunshine Week News Release

March 13, 2011


Public Access Counselor Releases New Guidelines to Assist in Requests for Law Enforcement Documents

Chicago — In honor of Sunshine Week, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today noted that new, stronger open-government laws are beginning to change Illinois’ culture of government secrecy.

Madigan urged Illinoisans to learn about the changes to these laws and how to use them. Improvements to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are making it easier for members of the public and media to access government documents and are helping to shine a light into how government works. In 2010, there were 5,228 new matters before the Public Access Counselor’s Office, with 91 percent of requests and inquiries being submitted by the public or other non-media entities.

“Sunshine Week serves as a reminder of the importance of the public’s right to know how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Attorney General Madigan. “We have made important steps forward in ensuring more government transparency by strengthening the law. Thousands of government officials have been trained in their responsibilities for providing public records and providing people with access to government meetings. And in cases where the process does not work, the Public Access Counselor’s office is helping to pry open public records and meetings.”

In conjunction with Sunshine Week, Attorney General Madigan released new guidelines to help both the public and law enforcement agencies across the state to determine when documents should be made public. Madigan said questions on how FOIA applies to law enforcement records were among the top concerns raised with the Public Access Counselor’s Office last year.

Attorney General Madigan and open government advocates worked in 2009 to strengthen the state’s transparency laws to make the process for obtaining access to records and meetings easier and more effective. Under the strengthened Freedom of Information Act, public bodies must respond to records requests, appoint a specific official to handle such requests and have that person undergo annual training.

Madigan said for the first time, officials designated by government bodies as FOIA officers or as responsible for Open Meetings Act compliance are receiving training to increase their understanding of the law and ability to comply with records requests and open meeting procedures. Since the law was enacted on Jan. 1, 2010, more than 17,000 FOIA officers have taken the Attorney General’s compliance training.

The changes to FOIA also are making it more difficult for public bodies to inappropriately deny documents. Before withholding records by relying on two frequently cited exemptions to the law, public bodies must now obtain pre-approval from the Public Access Counselor. This practice is helping stop the abuse of certain exemptions as a way to withhold information that should be made public.

“Changes to the law are leading to greater access to government information than ever before in our state’s history,” Attorney General Madigan said. “We know more work must be done to ensure a smooth process for Illinoisans to access information about the people’s business. We are committed to continuing our work to make government transparent and accountable.”

The requests also show that the Public Access Counselor’s efforts to enforce the law have helped people obtain information. Those successes have ranged from high-profile media requests to local matters sought by members of the public keeping watch on their government.

Success Stories of Illinois’ New Sunshine Laws:

•University of Illinois at Springfield: The Public Access Counselor issued a subpoena to the university seeking documents after a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by a newspaper was denied. In response to the subpoena, the university revealed a settlement agreement to pay $200,000 to a student that the university previously did not make public.

• Village of Lyons: The village refused to release to a citizen and a newspaper reporter documents detailing how the village president was selling liability insurance to local bars and nightclubs while also serving as liquor commissioner in the village. With the help of the Public Access Counselor, the village reversed its position and released the documents.

•Boone County: The Public Access Counselor’s Office stepped in after receiving a request from a resident about the lack of meeting minutes posted on the county board’s website. After the PAC issued a letter inquiring about the matter, the county board posted the minutes on its website.
Sunshine Week was founded by the American Society of News Editors and is recognized annually every March. More information about Illinois’ sunshine laws can be found at Attorney General Madigan’s website, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov. Anyone seeking assistance from the Public Access Officer can contact its hotline at 1-877-299-FOIA (3642) or send an email to

This news release is from:  http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2011_03/20110313.html

And who was the resident?  Take a look by clicking on the following:  http://boonecountywatchdog.blogspot.com/2010/12/boone-county-website-is-on-page-3c.html

Belgium breaks Iraq’s world record for government impasse - CSMonitor.com

A few of you may know this—yours truly is 100% Belgium (Flemish)

The Belgian divide between the 6.5 million Dutch-speaking Flemish in Flanders, to the north, and the 4.5 million French-speaking Walloons in Wallonia, to the south

For most of Belgian history, Franco­phone elites ran the country. Flanders was poor and rural. Wal­lonia was a steel and coal capital of Europe. Francophone aristocrats in the 19th century controlled the port of Antwerp in Flanders. In World War I, Flemish foot soldiers took orders from French-speaking officers they often didn't understand, resulting in great casualties. One result was a Flemish and anti-French pacifist movement. …After World War II, the fortunes of the two communities reversed. Flanders began to rise in the global economy, and Wallonia receded into rust-belt status.

"For the Flemish, the main idea is a birthright of the soil, a claim on territory and the right to control it,"

For the Francophones, the issue is the universal rights they are entitled to."

Looming over all divorce scenarios is an impossible math problem: Who would get Brus­sels, which is in Flanders, but is 85 percent French-speaking?

Flanders is widely seen as Europe's most conservative region, barring Bavaria in Germany; Wallonia, by contrast, is run by avowed socialists.

Click on the following for more details:  Belgium breaks Iraq’s world record for government impasse - CSMonitor.com

Philadelphia archdiocese draws fourth suit related to abuse - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

mirror accusations made by city prosecutors in a grand jury report last month that led several priests to be charged with rape and, in a rare move, a church official to be charged with child endangerment.

The latest suit, filed by a 32-year-old Arizona man, is the second that names the late Monsignor John E. Gillespie as the abuser

Click on the following for more details on the above story:  Philadelphia archdiocese draws fourth suit related to abuse - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The actual court document filed for the plaintiff  is available at:  http://andersonadvocates.com/Files/326/John-Doe-168-Complaint-filed-on-March-21-2011-in-Philadelphia-County-Court-of-Common-Pleaspdf  Excluding the actual sexual abuse, the most atrocious allegations are item 14&15 (page 9 of the court document just cited) –the archdiocese’s victims’ assistance program was actually used to help the archdiocese’s legal defense.