Illinois Conceal Carry Class Payments

Class Options

DUKE'S DAILY BLOTTER

~PREPARE TO BE INFORMED~
Public Pension & Law Enforcement Advocate; Law Enforcement News; Officer Down Memorials; Public Corruption News

~ILLINOIS CONCEAL CARRY TRAINING AVAILABLE~
(contact for details)
ere the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at: http://www.dukesblotter.com/#sthash.gzOejJCT.dpuf
Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at: http://www.dukesblotter.com/#sthash.gzOejJCT.dpuf

Officer Down

Sunday, July 31, 2011

R.I.P.: Deputy Sheriff Bryan P. Gross

ODMP 

Deputy Sheriff Bryan P. Gross
Converse County Sheriff's Office, Wyoming
End of Watch: Thursday, July 28, 2011

Biographical Info

Age: 29
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Drowned
Date of Incident: July 28, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Deputy Sheriff Bryan Gross drowned in the North Platte River while attempting to save a teenage girl who had jumped into the river after fighting with her boyfriend.

Deputy Gross had responded to the scene and entered the water. The river was swollen due to heavy snowmelt. The girl was pulled from the water by bystanders but Deputy Gross was swept away. His body was found four days approximately 1/2 mile from where he entered the river.

Agency Contact Information

Converse County Sheriff's Office
107 N 5th Street
Suite 239
Douglas, WY 82633
Phone: (307) 358-4700

BREAKING NEWS: (Chicago) Cop shot on South Side in good condition

--Great to hear officer is ok.--
Duke

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

By Carlos Sadovi
Tribune reporter
2:59 PM CDT, July 31, 2011

A Chicago police officer was in good condition after suffering a graze wound from a shooting on the South Side, officials said.

The 43-year-old male police officer was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital after the shooting which occurred at about 2:30 p.m., according to Chicago Fire Department Chief Joseph Roccasalva.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of LaSalle Street and 43rd Street, officials said.

No other information was available.

Syndication Test

Test testing the Networked Blogs syndication.

NEWS: (Chicago) Between cops and blacks, a lack of respect

Now we are faced with a police shooting that is national news because a Chicago police officer put eight holes in a 13-year-old boy who was allegedly carrying a BB gun.

No matter how you see it — whether you believe Jimmell Cannon was unarmed, or whether you believe he toted a BB gun that looked like an AK-47 — the bottom line is a police officer shot a 13-year-old boy eight times and what was recovered was a BB gun.

I don’t blame the police officer for what happened. After all, six Chicago police officers were killed in the line of duty last year. If a suspect points a gun at a cop, you should expect the cop to start firing.

But when a 13-year-old boy is shot eight times, and police have to admit it was because he was aiming a BB gun at them, then that seems to be the time to express regret.

Instead, on a popular blog, Second City Cop, written by a police officer, the shooting victim is described as a “dumbass kid.” The site also posted a photograph of Jimmell and claimed that he confessed to “shooting out windows at the Piccolo School and a van in the 11th District before he pointed it at an officer.”

“That dumbass kid is lucky to be breathing in the hospital instead of pushing up daisies at Burr Oak, though that will probably happen soon enough anyway,” the police officer wrote.
--Really? The kid deserved every hole in him. SORRY.....
I am sorry he was 13 but there is no rule or no law that says the police have to stop and say "Excuse me, is that a real gun and do you really intend to try and shoot me?"
The police or any law abiding citizen do not have to wait until they fired on to defend themselves.
No police officer ever goes to work wanting to use their gun or hoping they will get to shoot someone and I am sure the officers regret the fact the kid was 13 but not that they legally defended themselves and went home safe after their shift.
The photos provided to the news clearly show the gun looked real enough and the young man that was shot is clearly holding a blunt in one hand and throwing up the Vice Lords sign with the other.
Calling out the SCC Blog clearly shows desperation on the part of Mary Mitchell to make this a race issue and draw attention away from the facts of the incident, that the young man pointed a gun at police was shot.--
Duke


The recovered weapon  
Jimmell Cannon
MARY MITCHELL
marym@suntimes.com
Last Modified: Jul 31, 2011 02:25AM

In the wake of a controversial police-involved shooting in Humboldt Park, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy asked questions that deserve answers.

“What’s going on that people are willing to pull out guns and shoot at police officers . . . and why would you run? Why would you point a weapon at the police?” he asked.

Unfortunately, what’s going on is the same thing that has been going on too long. There is too little respect between police officers and citizens in African-American communities.

This has nothing to do with rap music or violent videos and everything to do with real-life cases in which real citizens have been wronged by real police officers.

The day after McCarthy defended police who shot two young black males, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the city had agreed to pay $6.5 million to the family of 8-year-old Gregory Jones.

In 2004, the boy was run over by an unmarked police car driven by two officers who were accused of making up a story about why they were driving recklessly in traffic.

The truth of the matter was never established, as the city settled the lawsuit seven years after the boy’s death without determining whether the police officers fabricated a story to cover themselves.

The officer who was driving the car resigned from the police department. The other officer is still on the force.

The city’s taxpayers footed the bill, but there is no satisfaction. And as far as a lot of residents in minority communities are concerned, these cops got away with abusing their police power.

Now we are faced with a police shooting that is national news because a Chicago police officer put eight holes in a 13-year-old boy who was allegedly carrying a BB gun.

No matter how you see it — whether you believe Jimmell Cannon was unarmed, or whether you believe he toted a BB gun that looked like an AK-47 — the bottom line is a police officer shot a 13-year-old boy eight times and what was recovered was a BB gun.

I don’t blame the police officer for what happened. After all, six Chicago police officers were killed in the line of duty last year. If a suspect points a gun at a cop, you should expect the cop to start firing.

But when a 13-year-old boy is shot eight times, and police have to admit it was because he was aiming a BB gun at them, then that seems to be the time to express regret.

Instead, on a popular blog, Second City Cop, written by a police officer, the shooting victim is described as a “dumbass kid.” The site also posted a photograph of Jimmell and claimed that he confessed to “shooting out windows at the Piccolo School and a van in the 11th District before he pointed it at an officer.”

“That dumbass kid is lucky to be breathing in the hospital instead of pushing up daisies at Burr Oak, though that will probably happen soon enough anyway,” the police officer wrote.

Obviously, I support the First Amendment, but how is it helpful to have a police officer denigrating the victim of a controversial police shooting, especially when the victim is a juvenile?

Moreover, when did police get the alleged “confession?”

Jimmy Porter, Jimmell’s father, claims that police officers “crowded” into his son’s hospital room and questioned him without a parent being present.

If that happened, it would appear to violate the juvenile’s rights. But more than that, under the circumstances, such aggression seems cruel.

Police “are trying to make my son out to be a problem child and trying to set it up like he gave them a reason to shoot him eight times,” Porter told me.

“I don’t know anybody walking around here that would have to be shot eight times to be subdued.”

So far, criminal charges have not been filed against Jimmell, and a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department did not respond to questions about this shooting.

Jimmell’s family has hired a lawyer, and the Independent Police Review Authority will launch its investigation into the shooting.

But what is really needed is a level of dialogue about this issue that fosters respect.

Without it, many of the people in neighborhoods most affected by police shootings will see this incident as another stone tossed onto a growing mountain of distrust.

OFFICER DOWN NEWS: Chicago police commemorative motorcycle ride today

--Events like this make me wish I could ride.--
Duke

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

Staff report
5:58 AM CDT, July 31, 2011

A motorcycle ride commemorating Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty begins at 10 a.m. today on the West Side.

The Area Four Ride to Remember Motorcycle Ride, entering its seventh year, will start in the west parking lot of the Chicago Police Department's Area Four Headquarters at 3151 W. Harrison Street (the corner of Harrison Street and Kedzie Avenue).

The ride, which will last about 45 minutes to an hour, will then proceed southeast to Washington Park before turning north on Lake Shore Drive before ending at the Chicago Police Memorial and Gold Star Park just east of Soldier Field.

You can still register for the event between 8 and 9:30 a.m. today at the event's start; fees are $35 for a rider and $25 for a passenger. Any proceeds will go to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

According to a media advisory from the Chicago police, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy will participate in the program at Gold Star Park.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NEWS: (Chicago) Pot citations possible instead of booking, top cop says

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

By John Byrne
Tribune reporter
5:23 PM CDT, July 30, 2011

In a potential shift in attitude, Chicago police may begin issuing citations to people caught with small amounts of marijuana instead of locking them up and booking them, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said today.

The superintendent’s remarks came after Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle highlighted last week how offenders arrested for possessing small quantities of drugs often clog up the system, only to have their cases later dismissed by judges.

McCarthy said he talked about the issue with Mayor Rahm Emanuel as far back as May. He insisted police will keep on arresting people for marijuana offenses, but said the arrestees may get a citation or a summons to appear in court, rather than being booked.

“We will continue to make arrests for illegal behavior, whether it’s public urination or whether it’s carrying a firearm. It’s really that simple,” McCarthy said after joining Emanuel and Ald. Deborah Graham, 29th, at an anti-violence march in the Austin neighborhood. “We’re looking at different arrest processing, not not making the arrests.”

Police officials are at this point only considering changing the marijuana policy, according to McCarthy. “It’s not cooked yet,” he said, but added “I think that people are going to see some changes down the road.”

In any case, people caught with marijuana who police find to be guilty of more serious infractions or who have outstanding arrest warrants will continue to be processed, McCarthy said.

“If somebody’s not properly identified, they can’t receive a summons, and if they have a warrant, they can’t receive a summons,” the superintendent said. “So we want to make sure we’re getting the right people. You don’t want to get the wrong people and put them in the system.”

McCarthy said he can’t concern himself with whether judges tend to dismiss petty drug cases. But he wants officers to be able to handle such infractions as quickly as possible so they can get back out on patrol.

"My problem is figuring out the best way to get those things prosecuted in an efficient manner so that I can turn my cops back around and get them back on the street quickly,” he said.

NEWS: (Suburban) Elgin police supervisor suspended over racial incidents

Elgin police Lt. Sean Rafferty, right, shown making an arrest in 2004, has been suspended for five days concerning two racially charged incidents.
--This is the only photo they could find of the officer making an arrest? An 8 year old picture with a male black arrestee? Talk about inflammatory.
Then they could only use a photo against him that is at least 10 years old?
And it took almost two years to bring the incident with the officer to light?
Guess this officer pissed someone off.--
Duke

STORY AT Daily Herald

By Lenore T. Adkins

An Elgin police supervisor has been suspended for five days, the result of two racially charged incidents, including his appearance in a photo more than a decade ago in which he seems to support the Ku Klux Klan, authorities said.

Lt. Sean Rafferty, a veteran officer, starts his unpaid suspension next week.

According to the suspension order from Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda, Rafferty, who is white, engaged in “unacceptable off-duty conduct.”

In a photograph taken in the 1990s and seen briefly by a Daily Herald reporter, Rafferty and an unidentified man are standing near a historical marker that honors the Indiana Times. The marker mentions that the paper won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for exposing the Ku Klux Klan. The photograph shows a smiling Rafferty in street clothes, leaning toward the marker and making the letter “K” with both of his hands. The unidentified man is also smiling.

“The evidence has shown that you posed for a photograph while making a joke in connection with the Ku Klux Klan,” Swoboda wrote. “Such conduct is unacceptable, whether on-duty or off-duty.”

The suspension order also states that as a lieutenant in late 2009 or 2010, Rafferty texted a “raced-based joke” to Elgin Officer Phillipp Brown, who is black.

Rafferty sent several text messages to Brown, including one that contained a photograph of Brown, the only black member of the baseball team at Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream.

Rafferty’s message accompanying the photo said, “Which one are you?”, according to the suspension order.

“The evidence has shown that such a text message was a race-based joke based on Officer Brown’s race and his presence in a high school photograph,” Swoboda wrote. “Such conduct is unacceptable whether on-duty or off-duty.”

Rafferty signed the order Tuesday afternoon.

NEWS: (Suburban) 55 arrested in huge sweep of south suburbs

--Nice Work--
Duke


BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY
Sun-Times Media
Last Modified: Jul 30, 2011 02:05AM

Fifty-five people were arrested Friday on charges ranging from armed robbery to failure to appear in Traffic Court as police fanned out across the south suburbs in an unprecedented effort to carry out arrest warrants.

More than 325 officers from more than 60 law enforcement agencies were involved in the eight-hour sweep organized by the South Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police. The effort to execute about 1,000 warrants was dubbed “Operation Mike” in memory of Tinley Park Police Chief Michael O’Connell, who died earlier this year.

“We would call this a success,” said Orland Hills Police Chief Thomas Scully, who also is the chiefs association president. “We will absolutely do this again.”

Most arrests were for traffic and drug violations, and for failure to appear in court. Three people were arrested for armed robbery, two for aggravated battery and several for domestic violence, Scully said.

“These are people who had no business being on the street,” he said.

Police also arrested six parolees: four on drugs and weapons charges and two on drug charges. Officers also found two sex offenders who were not complying with registration requirements.

They confiscated six firearms, 160 grams of marijuana and $6,000 cash during the sweep, which had been planned for two months.

Many people wanted on the warrants were not home.

“The word was traveling that we were out there, and they moved on,” Scully said. “Forget the numbers. We want to reassure residents that we are actively cleaning up our towns.”

NEWS: (Chicago) ‘Gun battle’ as cops chase down suspects in deadly Chatham shooting

--All officers ok. All that matters.--
Duke


BY TINA SFONDELES
Staff Reporter/tsfondeles@suntimes.com
Last Modified: Jul 29, 2011 11:42PM

Chicago police got into a “gun battle” with a pair of suspects who were “in the process of committing a murder” Friday afternoon in the Chatham neighborhood, Supt. Garry McCarthy said.

No officers were injured in the volley of bullets, and police arrested the suspects after a short chase, he said.

Officers initially responded to 81st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue about 3:30 p.m. after hearing shots fired. They found two victims — one dead, one badly hurt — in a car.

They then spotted two gunmen fleeing in another car, Police News Affairs Officer Darryl Baety said.

Police chased the suspect until they two got out and fled on foot at 82nd Street and Drexel, Baety said. Shots were fired by officers with “no hits,” and a weapon was recovered, he said.

McCarthy said the chase lasted about three minutes, and ended at 86th and Ingleside.

McCarthy said he didn’t know how many shots were fired in total. “There were shots fired by officers, at officers,” he said.

“The officers engaged in a gun battle ... with at least one of the offenders.”

Responding to a reporter’s question that it seemed like the “Wild West,” McCarthy said: “I’m not going to say it’s the Wild West. I’m going to say these officers did an incredible job in engaging somebody who was in the process of committing a murder, and engaging [the shooter] in a gun battle. ... I’m really proud of these officers stepping up.”

Chatham resident Lisa Leon was sitting in her parked Plymouth Voyager at 82nd and Drexel with a friend when she saw a black van being chased by a police car.

She was reaching for her phone, which she’d dropped, when she heard shots fired, and the windows and door of her minivan were struck. The bullets struck the passenger-side door, which flew open and blew her friend’s hat off.

“I knew they were shooting and I just got down really low, and my friend in the passenger side was right there when a bullet hit the door, grazed his legs and landed on the curb,” Leon said.

“I’m OK but I just really feel lucky right now,” Leon said.

Emergency crews responded to the initial Cottage Grove scene and took a woman in her 20s to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in serious to critical condition, while a man in his 20s was dead at the scene, Fire Media Affairs Chief Joe Roccasalva said. He was pronounced at 4 p.m. at Jackson Park Medical Center, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, which did not have an ID as of 5:30 p.m.

Police asked Metra to stop trains moving in and out of the 87th Street station as they searched for suspects about 4 p.m., Metra spokesman Meg Reile said. Train No. 120 was temporarily stopped, but was on the move about 4:30 p.m., she said.

Calumet Area detectives are investigating.

R.I.P.: Police Officer Russell Willingham

 ODMP

Police Officer Russell Willingham
Winston-Salem Police Department, North Carolina
End of Watch: Saturday, July 30, 2011

Biographical Info

Age: 28
Tour of Duty: 2 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: July 30, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Police Officer Russell Willingham was killed in an automobile accident while responding to backup another officers at approximately 3:15 am.

He was traveling on North Vargrave Street when his patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree. He was able to notify dispatch that he was pinned inside and rescue units were dispatched. Moments later he notified dispatchers that his vehicle had caught fire. When the rescue units arrived the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.

Officer Willingham had served with the Winston-Salem Police Department for two years and had previously served with the Greensboro Police Department.

Agency Contact Information

Winston-Salem Police Department
725 N Cherry Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: (336) 773-7700

R.I.P.: Police Officer Daniel Ackerman

ODMP 

Police Officer Daniel Ackerman
Buena Park Police Department, California
End of Watch: Saturday, July 30, 2011

Biographical Info

Age: 31
Tour of Duty: 10 years, 3 months
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Duty related illness
Date of Incident: July 29, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Police Officer Daniel Ackerman passed away after collapsing during a SWAT training exercise.

He was participating in the training when he collapsed at about 8:00 am. He was transported to St. Jude Medical Center where he remained until passing away early the following morning.

Officer Ackerman had served as a full-time officer with the Buena Park Police Department for six years and had previously served as a reserve officer for four years. He is survived by his daughter, mother, and sister.

Agency Contact Information

Buena Park Police Department
6650 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park, CA 90622
Phone: (714) 562-3901

Friday, July 29, 2011

NEWS: (Illinois) Illinois 50 out of 50 in 2010 for state deficit

--This is news?  The way the State of Illinois operates I would not be surprised if they split it up into sections and let the surrounding states take us over.--
Duke

STORY AT Illinois Statehouse News

By Andrew Thomason
Illinois Statehouse News

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois ended fiscal 2010 as the most broke state in the nation.

Illinois owed $37.9 billion more than all of its assets combined, including cash, investments and property, as of July 1, 2010, according to a recent statewide financial audit by the Illinois Auditor General William Holland and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Illinois even shorted unknowing taxpayers of $1.4 billion. An examination of the Income Tax Refund Fund by auditors revealed a $1.4 billion deficit, because the state didn’t put enough income tax revenue into the fund, causing a delay in getting the taxes returned to individuals and businesses.

The deficit would have been worse without a $3 billion cash infusion of federal stimulus money.

Illinois was one of four states with a deficit when comparing all its debts to assets in fiscal 2010, and of those four, it was in a hole of about $10 billion more that its nearest cousin — New Jersey, which ranked second.

A combination of mismanagement and a global recession are the largest factors in Illinois monetary woes.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted on corruption charges in federal court recently, came into office in 2003 during a small recession. He immediately promised he wouldn’t raise taxes, but he and the Legislature did not cut spending, resulting in a full-blown fiscal crisis.

“We had a period, maybe three, four or five years, from 2004 to 2007, where we could have, not solved all our problems, but gotten things under control. But we wasted those years and got deeper and deeper in the hole just because of a lack of discipline,” Fred Giertz, an economist with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Another reason for the state of Illinois' financial misery is how it keeps its books, according to the audit. Ralf Seiffe is the director of research at the Institute for Truth in Accounting, a nonprofit that works to make governments provide accurate financial reports, according to its website.

"Bad accounting policies and bad budgeting policies are the means and manner by which legislators and the governor get away with essentially spending more than they should," Seiffe said.

The state was faced with a smaller, but similar problem in the early 1990s. Former Gov. Jim Edgar and the General Assembly were handed a $2 billion deficit and produced a $1.5 billion surplus by 1999 through a tax increase, budget austerity measures and some good fortune in the financial markets.

“Edgar was either good or lucky, or both,” Giertz said, adding that a similar combination is needed to pull the state out of its $37.9 billion hole.

Bringing the state’s finances in line will be a struggle. Illinois recently instituted what was billed as a temporary income tax increase on individuals and businesses.

Money from the tax hike is paying off old bills and making sure new ones are paid on time. Politicians will be faced with a situation where letting the income tax hike expire is unpalatable, because that would require a corresponding $6.8 billion cut to the state’s budget to make up for the lost revenue.

Most people agree that the state needs to reduce spending, said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. When presented with the programs that eat up the majority of the budget, however, people are hard pressed to point to areas where they would take the blade.

“It’s no wonder that politicians have got us to this point, because they reflect what the sentiments are of a lot of people. A lot of people want something for nothing,” Yepsen said. “We want public services, yet we don’t want to pay the full price of them, and we don’t trust government to spend money wisely or to cut budgets fairly.”

Massive public worker layoffs, school closures due to a lack of funds and the firing of entire fire departments statewide are examples of the kind of crisis needed to spur the public and government to take steps toward fixing the state’s finances, said Yepsen.

A mini-crisis earlier this year is partially responsible for prodding the Legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn into action.

The organizations that rate the state’s credit worthiness and its main source of borrowing — selling bonds —  threatened to downgrade those bonds, when legislators floated a plan to leverage $3.7 billion to make the state’s payment to the pension system this spring. When a government’s bond rating falls, it’s harder to sell bonds, because investors don’t see them as good investments.

Faced with that prospect, Quinn and the Legislature decided to make the state’s contribution with cash for first time in two years, instead of adding to the $13 billion the state owes in pension payment bonds.

Additionally, since fiscal 2010, the state has taken the first steps of a long journey to get it on a more solid financial footing. Pension and workers’ compensation reforms, changes to Medicaid, a slimmer budget and an income tax increase were all passed this winter and spring.

What’s needed to turn those baby steps into full strides?

“It’s going to take Republicans talking about finding additional revenues. It’s going to take Democrats (finding) ways to talk about making cuts, and I think you’re seeing a form of that here with Quinn and the union. He’s clearly telling them something they don’t want to hear,” Yepsen said.

Quinn has refused to pay state employees who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 public worker union a 2-percent pay hike that is outlined in their contract.

Quinn continues to say the Legislature didn’t include the money for the raises in the budget it sent him, and without the money, he can’t pay the extra $75 million. Two lawsuits, one in Illinois Circuit Court and one in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, are pending on this issue.

While politicians seem to be moving in the right direction, Yepsen said he is concerned about the speed with which they are doing it.

“I just worry that it’s not fast enough. And that what’s going to happen to Illinois is as this recession ends, other states are going to get out the problem quicker than we are. And those states are going to become more attractive to economic growth and development than we are, because we are going to be lagging behind in cleaning up this mess,” Yepsen said.

If the state was in the red for $37.9 billion in 2010, then what does the fiscal picture look like now? The audit released Thursday answers that question by simply saying: It’s nearly impossible to tell.

However, the state's mounting debts were contrasted against the state's assets in this audit.
A report by Treasurer Dan Rutherford released in May said the state owes $45 billion in debt through 2036, including interest. Taxpayers owe $140 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities, according to the same report.

NEWS: (Illinois) Offensive terms stripped from law books

--I get it, I really do. I am legally disabled and I understand the intent here but did we have to spend time and money to do this now?
Was this really that important at this time in our current financial situation?
The politicians are crying about our pensions and the state is 13 billion in debt and we are worried about the words "crippled or mentally retarded" right now?--
Duke

STORY AT Daily Herald

By Mike Riopell

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ law books will soon be free of some terminology offensive to the disabled as part of a plan pushed by a Palatine-based attorney and signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday.

Attorney Kerry Lavelle has said he asked Sen. Matt Murphy to carry the legislation because certain off-color terms for the disabled leave him “fuming.”

His sister, Shannon, has a disability and resides at Mount St. Joseph, an immediate care facility in Lake Zurich.

The new law removes from state statute books phrases like “mentally retarded” and substitutes “intellectually disabled.” Similarly, it replaces “crippled” with “physically disabled.”

Talking about the plan earlier this year, Lavelle said changing the law books was just one step toward trying to eliminate the terms throughout language.

“These are two very archaic, bad, nondescriptive words,” he said then.

Quinn signed the plan into law Thursday along with dozens of other proposals.

“Language is one of our most important tools, and we must be aware of how the words we choose impact others,” Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson said. “Just as words that denigrate and marginalize others should not be used in daily conversations, they should not be used in our laws.”

Murphy, a Palatine Republican who sponsored the plan in the Senate, said he was glad to hear Quinn signed off.

“These are the laws of all the people of Illinois,” he said.

The idea behind the 623-page piece of legislation isn’t unique to Illinois. Several states have already made similar changes.

Last year, President Barack Obama signed “Rosa’s Law” to remove similar terms from federal law.

PENSION: (Illinois) Illinois Legislative Leaders Meeting About Pension Cuts

“This year's pension payment was $4.5 billion out of the general revenue fund, out of a $30 billion budget."
--What they fail to tell the public is that at least 50% to 70% is to pay back the billions of dollars they failed to pay over the years and caused the situation we are now in.
They just keep blaming the employees in their attempts to hide from the public their mismanagement of the money that was meant for the pension funds over the past 30 years.--
Duke

STORY AT FOX News Chicago

Published : Friday, 29 Jul 2011, 8:15 AM CDT
FOX Chicago News

Chicago - Political leaders in Springfield are talking about making pension cuts.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross said he and House Speaker Mike Madigan met last week with leaders of Illinois's largest public employee unions.

Cross predicts taxpayers will support the bill, which is predicted to save taxpayers billions of dollars.

“This year's pension payment was $4.5 billion out of the general revenue fund, out of a $30 billion budget. Next year, it'll grow to five, and by the Year 2045, it'll grow to $20 billion dollars. So it means for taxpayers less money for human services, less money for education, less money for senior services, less money for roads,” Tom Cross said.

Labor leaders said the pension cuts would be unconstitutional, and have no chance of passing.

NEWS: (Suburban) Elk Grove officer suspended over gun placement

--REALLY?? This poor guy has to be on a sh*t list. 
Why else would they go after him for something like this and publicize it? 
I am posting it just to show the pettiness that police chiefs can show when you get on their bad side.
My question is why are gun lockers in places where they are accessible to civilians in the first place?
Typical police department politics.--
Duke

STORY AT Daily Herald

By Madhu Krishnamurthy

The Elk Grove Village Police and Fire Commission Thursday suspended police officer David Klingsporn for eight days without pay for violating the police department’s rules of conduct.

The suspension was ordered by mutual agreement between Klingsporn and the village police department, said Joe Mazzone, attorney for the Metropolitan Alliance of Police representing Klingsporn.

Klingsporn was reprimanded for leaving his department-issued gun in a locker at the entrance to the jail area of the police station without securing it, and leaving the key in the locker, according to an agreed order released by Village Attorney George Knickerbocker.

Klingsporn left the police station after his July 12 shift was over without retrieving his loaded gun from the locker or securing it.

His conduct “in leaving a loaded service weapon unsecured in an area which is accessible to officers, civilians and guests created a dangerous situation,” the agreement read.

“This charge is as a result of this one incident,” Mazzone said.

The suspension is based on a review of Klingsporn’s history with the department, his service record, and seniority, he added.

It’s up to the police chief to determine when Klingsporn’s suspension will go into effect based on the manpower needs of the department, the agreement read.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NEWS: (Cook County) Cops: Melrose Park man burned down family home

David Neubauer
--Can you say MORON?!?!--
Duke


Staff report
11:44 AM CDT, July 28, 2011

A Melrose Park man was charged with arson this week after police say he burned down the home he shared with his father.

David Neubauer, 26, was ordered held on $400,000 bail in a hearing Wednesday in the Maywood branch of Cook County Circuit Court, according to Cook County Sheriff’s police. Neubauer faces an arson charge after he burned down the family home in the 9700 block of Dickens Avenue in Melrose Park on Tuesday, police said.

Neubauer called his mother on Tuesday and said he was going to burn down the home, then called a family friend and asked him to meet him at the house, police said in a news release. At the house, Neubauer told the friend to step into the home and smell the inside.

The friend smelled gasoline and quickly left the house, he later told police. Outside the house, the friend saw Neubauer light two Molotov cocktails and throw them at the friend’s car, but they did not blow up, according to police.

When the friend got into his car, he saw that Neubauer had put two plastic bottles filled with gasoline in the car, and the friend threw them out the window and left, police said.

Starting about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, the home lit on fire and was gutted in the blaze, according to police.

 Neubauer was arrested in nearby Franklin Park, and admitted under questioning that he had spread gasoline in the family home and had thrown the Molotov cocktails at the friend’s car.

Neuabauer had been scheduled to appear in court today

NEWS: (Suburban) Fagiano named new Elmwood Park police chief

Frank Fagiano is the new Elmwood Park police chief. After working his way up through the ranks during his 18-year career, Fagiano was appointed chief on July 18. He will be sworn in on Aug. 15. | David Pollard~Sun-Times Media   
--He is taking over a good police department. Good luck.--
Duke

STORY AT Pioneer Press

By DAVID POLLARD
dpollard@pioneerlocal.com
Last Modified: Jul 28, 2011 02:57AM

Elmwood Park’s new police chief is a lifelong resident of the village.

Frank Fagiano, 48, started at the department as an auxiliary police officer 18 years ago and rose up the ranks to be deputy chief for the past four years.

He was appointed to chief at the July 18 village board meeting. He will be sworn in on Aug. 15.

Fagiano replaces Tom Braglia, who will be retiring after 18 years as chief.

“I don’t think there is anyone out there that should have that job than Frank Fagiano,” said Elmwood Park Village Manager John “Jay” Dalicandro.

“I think everyone, including me, has been satisfied with the way he has filled in for Braglia during his absence. I think he’ll do a great job for Elmwood Park,” Dalicandro said.

Fagiano, whose father was a Chicago police officer, said he has enjoyed the challenge of moving up through the ranks.

He has a few ideas how to provide even better police protection, including more undercover surveillance and providing more training for his officers.

“I’m going to give them the tools to make everyone a police chief,” he said. “I firmly believe in getting things done and working together.”

Fagiano also wants to make sure there is as many officers on the street as possible.

“Patrol is where the rubber meets the world,” he said.

Elmwood Park police officer Chuck Lombardi and president of the department’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #48, said Fagiano was a good choice.

“I feel very positive about him becoming chief and he’ll do a very good job at it,” Lombardi said.

He also noted Braglia’s influence on the police department.

“He was an excellent leader,” Lombardi said. “For the entire time I’ve been here, which is about 19 years on the force, he’s given our department a lot of credibility among other departments.”

“We have an A-plus rating as a police department and a lot of that has to do with him,” he said. “It’s some big shoes for Chief Fagiano to fill.”

Fagiano said he is ready and said he learned a lot from Braglia.

“I have the utmost respect for Chief Braglia,” Fagiano said. “He gave me the opportunity to advance to various levels of the police department.”

But now he understands the department will be looking to him for leadership and is ready.

“You want to be respected for the person you are and not the title you bring to the table,” he said. “The buck stops with me right now.”

Elmwood Park Mayor Peter Silvestri feels confident in Fagiano’s ability to be a good police chief.

“I think the elevation of Frank Fagiano will be a very positive development for the community,” he said. “He’s very dedicated to his profession and his community.”

“He grew up here, he knows the people,” he said. “He’ll be able to interact with the community and with police men and women in a very positive way.”

NEWS: (Suburban) Officials: No one told us about Maywood festival and closing roads

Organizers of the Woodstars Summer Carnival and Music Festival say to expect the following road closures:

• Madison Street at the Des Plaines River will be closed to traffic for the four-day duration.

• Washington Boulevard at Thatcher will be closed at least during the festival hours.

The festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31, at Proviso East High School athletic fields at First Avenue and Madison Street.


STORY AT Pioneer Press

By BILL DWYER and DAVID POLLARD
wdwyer@pioneerlocal.com
dpollard@ pioneerlocal.com
Last Modified: Jul 27, 2011 12:33AM

River Forest and Forest Park officials are scrambling this week to prepare for thousands of people descending on neighboring Maywood for a four-day music festival.

The officials say they first heard of the Woodstars Summer Carnival and Music Festival on Friday.

The festival, featuring such headliners as Nelly, Big Daddy Kane and Faith Evans, is expected to draw more than 6,000 people each day Thursday through Sunday at Proviso East High School’s stadium at First Avenue and Madison Street in Maywood.

Organizers said they planned to close Madison Street and Washington Boulevard near Proviso East, meaning all traffic east of the school will need to be rerouted through River Forest and Forest Park.

“Our biggest concern is we haven’t seen a plan yet,” River Forest Village President John Rigas said Tuesday. “We’d like to be part of that plan.”

“We want to be a good neighbor,” Rigas said. “We want to help. And we want to assure any event has a minimal impact on our community.”

“The plan has always been together,” said Keoki Allen, one of the festival organizers.

She said her team was finalizing traffic control plans with Cook County authorities and the Illinois State Police late Tuesday.

The recent problems were the result of “a lack of communication between the parties,” Allen said.

Allen confirmed that Madison Street would be used as a staging ground for shuttle buses, and that Washington would be closed off for periods of time.

Other key details, Allen said, would be announced through a combination of radio, Internet and e-mail blasts. There will also be “smart boards” placed along the Eisenhower and some local streets, directing people where to go.

However, as of Tuesday, the only details at www.woodstarsfestival.com were the music acts scheduled and how to order tickets on line.

River Forest Village Administrator Eric Palm said the village will be finalizing plans for traffic control and parking on Wednesday.

Palm said police in both River Forest and Forest Park will be redirecting traffic off local village streets and toward the Eisenhower Expressway entrance at Des Plaines Avenue. Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone could not be reached for comment.

River Forest police Sgt. Mike Thornley said he had heard estimates at 3,000 cars a day, calling the estimate “conservative.”

He didn’t understand the lack of planning.

“We planned for the Blackhawks Stanley Cup celebration over a month before,” said Thornley, “before we even knew they’d win.”

In late June or early July, the Hillside Village Board denied permits to the Woodstars event to be held at Proviso West High School.

On July 8, a tweet on the Woodstarsfest Twitter website announced the location had changed to Proviso East. It gave the address, 807 S. First Ave., Maywood, but made no mention of remote parking, bus shuttles or street closures.

As of Monday, organizers did not even have the legal right to host such an event at the Proviso East campus, which is situated on unincorporated Cook County land. An ordinance amendment backed by State Sen. Kimberly Lightford was passed at a County Board meeting on Monday.

Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry said he feels positive about the Woodstars Fest.

“This is a planned event,” Curry said. “We sat down with the organizers and talked and we think everything is going to be nice.”

Curry said his department is working with private entities as well as Cook County Sheriff’s Police to make sure the event is a safe one.

“We have the details lined out and ready for implementation,” he said.

Curry acknowledged traffic congestion may be an issue since First Avenue is heavily used by motorists.

Curry said he plans to shut down Madison Street at the Des Plaines River at critical times to control traffic flow into other villages like Forest Park and River Forest.

“When it’s letting out between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. would be a critical time,” he said. “We’ll also be diverting traffic in other directions.”

Curry said there will be parking near the event, but the majority of the parking will be at areas further away from the event. Shuttle buses will be provided to transport those attending the concert to and from their vehicles, though the location of those lots has not been publicized.

Police Blotters July 28, 2011

Click on the town you are interested in.






























*****************************************************************************

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NEWS: (Chicago) Preckwinkle asks McCarthy to stop arresting low-level drug offenders

--Drugs are the crime and they are the cause of the crime. There should be no legalization of any narcotic in this country. You want to increase treatment in the system, that is fine. Stop enforcing drug laws and we will be left with a society that walks around high and stupid all the time.--
Duke

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

By Erika Slife
Clout Street
5:56 PM CDT, July 27, 2011

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said today that she’s asked Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to consider not arresting people for low-level drug crimes.

“I had a conversation shortly after the new superintendent came to Chicago with him about my views on this matter,” Preckwinkle said after the County Board meeting. “I suggested to him that - although the law is pretty clear that such possession is a violation of the law - since the judges routinely and almost universally dismiss such low-level drug charges that the police might stop arresting people for this since it clogs up our jail and their cases will be dismissed out anyway.”

She said his response to her suggestion “remains to be seen.”

"The city of Chicago is the principal driver of our jail population, so I’m trying to talk to him about the concerns I have about the way our drug laws are enforced,” she said.

A McCarthy spokeswoman said the department "is reviewing the possibility of enforcement action other than physical arrest for certain cannabis offenses."

In June, Preckwinkle was the only politician to speak at a rally that declared the country’s 40-year “war on drugs” a failure. Preckwinkle's call for more treatment and less punishment was in keeping with her statements during her campaign, when she often talked about diverting drug users into treatment programs. She said she is working with the courts, prosecutors, defense attorneys and the sheriff's office to find ways to do that.

Before that rally, McCarthy had said he understood the concerns of the organizers.

"It becomes the issue of mass incarceration," he had said. "And law enforcement has gotten this wrong. Narcotics use is a criminalized social issue. It causes crime. Drug dealers get into violent disputes over turf. It's about the money…It's been so twisted up that law enforcement looks at narcotics as the crime, when it's not. It's the cause of the crime. So, we've had this wrong for a long time in law enforcement."

NEWS: (Cook County) Cook County Sheriff Concerned About Cost of Security for Woodstars Hip Hop Event in Maywood

 On the website for the festival , there is a disclaimer that protects the organizers, saying "you assume all risk of being injured by thrown, battered, kicked, shot etc. objects."
 --Gotta love the disclaimer. This is going to be FREAKNIK all over again. I feel sorry for the officers working this weekend. Please be extra careful and watch your backs.--
Duke

STORY AT FOX Chicago

video


Updated: Wednesday, 27 Jul 2011, 10:22 AM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 26 Jul 2011, 10:01 PM CDT

By Darlene Hill, FOX Chicago News

Maywood, Ill. - Four days of big rides and big names from the world of Hip Hop are coming to the western suburb of Maywood this weekend.

The Woodstars event kicks off Thursday, but there is controversy over who will pay for security.

Police are expecting 20,000 people to attend the four-day show at Proviso East High School. The Cook County Sheriffs Department said that they will be calling in deputies on their days off to provide security, which will probably cost $100,000 to $150,000.

There is no parking at the event site, so organizers are putting together 20 different shuttle routes, according to the sheriff's department.

The event is being put together by former NBA player Michael Finley and LA Laker Shannon Brown.

Proceeds will benefit Districts 209 and 89, where Finley and Brown went to school.

Nelly, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Naughty By Nature and Chico DeBarge are some of the big names performing. There are 20 different acts expected to perform.

Even if you haven't heard of them, you may end up paying for some of the show uif you are a Cook County taxpayer.

Sheriff Tom Dart wrote a letter to the Cook County Board addressing his concerns about crowd control, traffic and compensation. The Maywood Police Department said any sheriff's deputies who help out with the festival will be paid.

On the website for the festival , there is a disclaimer that protects the organizers, saying "you assume all risk of being injured by thrown, battered, kicked, shot etc. objects."

When our reporter told the sheriff's department about it, they said they need more time to prepare for the event. They want make sure everyone has a safe and fun time.

The organizers said the festival will go on as scheduled Friday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NEWS: (Chicago) Man charged in killing of Chicago cop

--Awesome News!!!!!--
Duke

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

By Jeremy Gorner and Annie Sweeney
Tribune reporters
6:17 PM CDT, July 26, 2011

A 24-year-old man was charged today with gunning down an off-dutyChicago police officer who was about to retire after 20 years on the force, authorities said.

Officer Michael Bailey was cleaning his new Buick – a retirement gift to himself – outside his South Side home in July 2010 when he was killed in an exchange of gunfire with a would-be robber, police said. He was still in uniform after just working an overnight shift.

The suspect, Antwon Carter, was charged late today with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery, according to Sally Daly, spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

The charges come about three weeks afterChicago police questioned Carter about the veteran officer’s murder -- a development first reported by the Tribune.

Carter was on parole for aggravated battery to another police officer when he allegedly shot Bailey to death during the attempted robbery, according to court records. Carter was arrested two months after Bailey’s murder on unrelated carjacking and weapons charges and has remained in state prison since then for violating his parole, the records show.

Bailey, 62, had finished his shift guarding the home of then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley when he was shot at about 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 18, 2010, in front of his Park Manor neighborhood home.

The break in the case came after Carter talked about killing the officer to several other witnesses, law enforcement sources said. Investigators also discovered letters handwritten by Carter implicating himself in the murder, the sources said.

Bailey, who was assigned to the Central Police District, was about a month from turning 63, the department’s mandatory retirement age, when he was killed.

R.I.P.: Agent Luis E. Gomez-Crespo

ODMP

Agent Luis E. Gomez-Crespo
Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico
End of Watch: Friday, July 15, 2011

Biographical Info

Age: 24
Tour of Duty: 4 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: July 15, 2011
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Charged with murder

Agent Luis Gomez-Crespo was shot and killed when he attempted to take action during a robbery while off duty.

Agent Gomez-Crespo, his father, and another officer were in a restaurant while off duty when a man entered and announced a robbery. When the three identified themselves as officers the man opened fire, striking Agent Gomez-Crespo five times. His father, who also serves with the Puerto Rico Police Department, and the other off duty officer were also shot and wounded.

The suspect turned himself in at a local police station and was charged with one count of murder of a law enforcement officer and two counts of attempted murder.

Agent Luis Gomez-Crespo had served with the Puerto Rico Police Department for four years and was assigned to the South Trujillo Alto Precinct. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and parents.

Agency Contact Information

Puerto Rico Police Department
PO Box 70166
San Juan, PR 00936
Phone: (787) 792-1234

UNION: (Chicago) Unions say Emanuel should cut patronage, improve efficiency to save money

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

By Hal Dardick and Kristen Mack
Clout Street
11:22 AM CDT, July 26, 2011

City Hall labor unions today released a report that says Mayor Rahm Emanuel could save more than $242 million if he cut middle management, reduced the number of private contractors and improved efficiency in government.

The recommendations are a response to Emanuel’s call for union concessions to avoid city worker layoffs. Just as Emanuel has been critical of work rules in city labor contracts, the unions criticized the way the city does business.
The unions said contracts with private companies amount to “patronage” for the politically connected. By allowing unions to compete against private contractors who get paid $400 million a year to do city work, the city could save $40 million, the report concludes. “If clout really is eliminated from the process, then labor is confident that city employees will prove best qualified — but, either way, the real winners will be Chicago’s taxpayers,” the report concludes.

City departments are bloated with too many managers and services, the union found. Cutting the number of managers, some of whom supervise as few as two employees, would save $37.5 million, it states, contending the city in recent years has reduced the number of rank-and-file workers without cutting management.

In the Department of Family and Support Services, there’s an average of one manager for every 1.6 workers, the report states. The recommended average is one manager for every 10 workers.

And eliminating waste and duplication while improving efficiency in city departments would save $165 million, the report states.

The 31-page report was released by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council, whose members include dozens of unions representing city workers. It was produced by Public Works of West Chester, Penn.

The report was given to Emanuel this morning, said Tom Villanova, president of the building trades labor group. He said Emanuel challenged them to find savings.

"He said no idea is too little or too big," Villanova said. "This is a partnership we gladly accepted."

Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, said, "these are common sense ideas that will help the city correct a major budget crisis it faces for the coming year."

Work on the report began several weeks ago. But the pressure was ratcheted up 11 days ago, when Emanuel said he would lay off 625 employees to finish closing a $30 million budget hole created because former Mayor Richard Daley relied on the extension of union concessions never agreed to.

The mayor said he was forced to start laying off employees because the unions had not met his deadline to agree to work-rule changes, but the unions said they were never given a firm deadline and were working diligently on the report released today.

So far, the city has laid off at least 25 seasonal employees who operate large construction equipment for the Chicago Department of Transportation. Nearly 100 other CDOT employees could get pink slips, but a union for the masons agreed to give up double-time for overtime and instead take time and half to save six jobs.

Unions representing full-time workers who take calls at the city water department, handle employee benefits and clean the city’s airports and libraries have been notified the city is exploring the privatization of their work.

The layoffs, Emanuel said, would save more than $10 million, an amount needed to finish closing the $30 million gap. Emanuel said he would close the rest by not filling 200 vacant jobs and partnering with a federal program to run city health clinics.

Among nine work-rule changes proposed by Emanuel are having managers work 40 hours a week, rather than 35; eliminating double-time for overtime; and paying different rates for driving vehicles, depending on the skill level needed.

Union leaders say Emanuel, who faces a budget gap next year that could top $650 million, is casting too much blame on them and not looking closely enough at how City Hall manages its workers.

As the debate over work-rule changes has raged, Emanuel also announced plans to privatize some of the city’s curbside recycling operations. City workers will get to compete against private companies to see if they can do the work for less, he said.

Today’s report takes a shot at Emanuel’s claim that the private contractors hired by the city to do some recycling pickup will do it for less. The city failed to factor in the value of the recyclable materials the private contractors will get to keep, the report states.

Making his first public appearance in over a week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel today said he's ready to take a look at cost savings ideas that City Hall unions have come up with to help plug the city's budget hole.

"I welcome the report and agree there are savings to be found in middle management. That doesn't take away from every other part of the budget that needs to be scrutinized," Emanuel said.

"Every specter of the city budget is open for review," he said.

Emanuel is expected to offer his preliminary 2012 budget by week's end.

Emanuel made his comments at an unrelated news conference where he announced plans to introduce an ordinance that will expand community gardens and urban farms in Chicago.

Monday, July 25, 2011

NEWS: (Northlake) Northlake man charged with sexual assault

--I have always been amazed at the number of "in family" pedophiles there are in the world. 
Nice job getting one more off the streets--
Duke

STORY AT Pioneer Press

BY DAVID Pollard
dpollard@pioneerlocal.com
Last Modified: Jul 25, 2011 06:52PM

A two-month investigation has led to the arrest of a Northlake man who police allege sexually assaulted female members of his family for years.

Fernando Samara, 51, of 415 N. 45th St., was arrested July 19 after coming to the police department on his own and later confessing to the crimes, Northlake police said. He was charged with two counts of sexual assault to a child.

Samara is scheduled to appear in court July 26.

One of the women he allegedly sexually assaulted is 17 years old, the other 27. Both are members of his family.

Northlake police Investigations Cmdr. Jay Militello said victims claimed the alleged sexual abuse had gone on for years. He said Samara allegedly sexually abused the younger of the two victims from age 8 to 13. The oldest was allegedly abused during her pre-teen years.

“We’ve been investigating this since late June,” Militello said.

A family member convinced the youngest to come in and talk to police, with the oldest following her lead, Militello said.

PENSION: (Illinois) Court applies the “thirty-five day” time limit to prevent reconsideration of retirement pension benefit amount

ARTICLE AT OBKCG

by David Zafiratos

Final decisions of fire and police pension boards are reviewable under the Illinois Administrative Review Law. (735 ILCS 5/3-101 et seq.) This means that a party to a pension board’s final decision can bring a lawsuit in the circuit court of the county where the pension fund is located. A lawsuit brought under the Administrative Review Law allows a court to review “all questions of law and fact presented by the entire record before the court.” (735 ILCS 5/3-110) Importantly, however, “[n]o new or additional evidence in support of or in opposition to any finding, order, determination or decision of the administrative agency shall be heard by the court.” (735 ILCS 5/3-110)
Two issues that frequently arise in administrative review cases are (1) whether the court has been asked to review a “final order;” and (2) whether the plaintiff has complied with the thirty-five day time limitation for filing the lawsuit. The recent case of Rutka v. Board of Trustees of the Cicero Police Pension Fund, 405 Ill.App.3d 563 (1st Dist. 2010), is an example of a case involving these issues.

In Rutka, the First District Appellate Court held that the Board of Trustees of the Cicero Police Pension Fund’s initial decision to grant a retirement pension was a “final administrative decision” under the Illinois Administrative Review Law. The court further held that Rutka’s lawsuit was correctly dismissed by the circuit court because it had been filed more than thirty-five days after the Board issued its final administrative decision.

Leonard Rutka, a retired Cicero police officer, initially began receiving a retirement pension after his February 9, 1999, retirement. Rutka retired pursuant to a settlement agreement with his employer, whereby Rutka agreed to retire from his position as a lieutenant with the police department. Shortly thereafter, on February 18, 1999, the Board calculated Rutka’s pension benefits at $65,759.38 based on the rank of lieutenant. That same day, the Board recalculated Rutka’s pension to be $68,759.38, based on the combined rank of deputy superintendent and lieutenant.

Six years later, on January 10, 2005, Rutka asked the Board to recalculate his pension based entirely on the deputy superintendent salary, instead of the combined rank of deputy superintendent and lieutenant. This recalculation would have increased Rutka’s pension benefits. The Board voted to grant Rutka’s request; however, the increased benefits were never paid to Rutka.

Two years later, on July 6, 2007, Rutka requested a hearing before the Board, again asking the Board to recalculate his pension based entirely on the rank of deputy superintendent. The Board held a hearing and denied Rutka’s request in a decision dated January 27, 2009. The Board based its decision on the fact that more than thirty-five days had passed since its February 18, 1999, decision to base the pension on the combined rank. After the Board denied his request for an increased pension, Rutka filed a complaint for administrative review.

Rutka’s complaint for administrative review asked the circuit court to rule that the Board incorrectly refused to modify his pension benefits through its January 27, 2009, order. The circuit court ruled in favor of the Board, and Rutka appealed.

The appellate court held that more than thirty-five days had passed since the final administrative decision of the Board regarding Rutka’s pension benefits. However, it was not the January 27, 2009, decision -- or even the January 10, 2005, decision -- that the court considered as the “final administrative decision.” Instead, the court held that the Board’s initial determination of Rutka’s pension, from February 18, 1999, constituted a final administrative decision that could only be challenged under the Administrative Review Law within thirty-five days.

The Board’s action on January 10, 2005, granting Rutka’s request for an increased pension amount based entirely on the rank of deputy superintendent, was itself invalid because it occurred greater than thirty-five days after February 18, 1999. In so holding, the court addressed two common issues involved in pension board administrative review cases. It identified the February 18, 1999, Board action as a final administrative decision, and it applied the thirty-five day time limitation for filing a lawsuit under the Administrative Review Law.

On a side note, the court also addressed an argument put forth by Rutka that the calculation of his pension benefits should have been considered an “error” under Section 3-144.2 of the Illinois Pension Code. (40 ILCS 5/3-144.2)

Section 3-144.2 allows a police pension board to modify pension benefits if an “overpayment, due to fraud, misrepresentation or error” has occurred. (40 ILCS 5/3-144.2) Quite simply, the court held, Rutka’s claim was that his pension benefits had been underpaid, not overpaid. Section 3-144.2 only applies to overpayments.

The Rutka case highlights the importance of careful and deliberate consideration prior to a pension board issuing a final administrative decision, as well as the diligence required of an applicant to seek a review of a decision which he or she believes is in error. Because of the brief time frame in which a final administrative decision can be modified, pension boards should always be thorough and conduct all necessary inquiries prior to making a final administrative decision.

PENSION: (Illinois) Appellate court dispels myth on presumption for heart and lung disabilities under the occupational disease statue

ARTICLE AT OBKCG

by Donald R. Tyer

After a recent Second District Appellate Court decision, firefighters seeking occupational disability pensions must now establish a causal link between the conditions they were subjected to while on the job and their alleged disability under Section 4-110.1 of the Illinois Pension Code (“Code”).

In Lindemulder v. Board of Trustees of the Naperville Firefighters’ Pension Fund and the City of Naperville, Ill.App.3d , 2011 WL 824598 (2nd Dist. March 8, 2011), the court ruled that firefighters seeking occupational disability pensions must prove their disability was caused by or resulted from the conditions they were exposed to in their service as a firefighter. The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that on-the-job conditions that firefighters are exposed to everyday are presumed to have a negative impact on their health and thus could be the basis for the award of an occupational disability pension without evidence that those conditions caused – or were a contributing cause of – their disability.

Naperville Firefighter / Paramedic Edward Lindemulder developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (“COPD”) and was placed on leave on December 15, 2006. COPD, an irreversible and debilitating condition caused by the buildup of scar tissue in the lungs, makes it progressively more difficult to breathe and keep normal levels of oxygen in the bloodstream. In January 2007, Lindemulder applied for a line-of-duty pension under Section 4-110 of the Code or, in the alternative, occupational disability benefits under Section 4-110.1. The Naperville Firefighters’ Pension Fund Board of Trustees (the “Board”) took testimony regarding Lindemulder’s application over the course of a five-day hearing.

Lindemulder testified that he began smoking at age 16 or 17 and gradually became a pack and a half a day smoker while he was working for the Naperville Fire Department. He also testified that he was exposed to diesel fumes and fire smoke on the job. Other Naperville firefighters working at the same station testified to developing various upper respiratory irritations.

Lindemulder underwent independent medical examinations from three pulmonary disease experts appointed by the Board. Each physician provided a written opinion and testified at hearing. Each of the physicians concluded that Lindemulder was disabled by COPD and that it was caused by his extensive history of cigarette smoking. All of the physicians agreed that Lindemulder would have developed COPD due to his cigarette habit even if he was not a firefighter. Finally, each physician concluded that Lindemulder’s COPD was not caused or permanently aggravated by his exposure to fire smoke and diesel fumes while on the job. Ultimately, all of the physicians believed that Lindemulder was not disabled due to occupational factors or injuries suffered while on duty.

The Board denied Lindemulder’s request for line-of-duty disability or occupational disease benefits, and awarded him a non-duty disability pension under Section 4-111 of the Code. The Board found that Lindemulder’s failure to make a reasonable effort to stop smoking after being advised to do so was the cause of his disability. The circuit court upheld the Board’s decision, and Lindemulder appealed.

Lindemulder argued on appeal that the testimony of the physicians proved that the smoke and toxins he was exposed to as a firefighter exacerbated his COPD, thus entitling him to a line-of-duty pension. But the appellate court disagreed, declaring his arguments were predicated on testimony taken out of context and conclusions not supported by the record. The court held that Lindemulder’s argument was legally correct, but that he had not proven the connection between his exposure on the job and his COPD. Rather, the court noted the physicians were unanimous in their conclusion that Lindemulder would have developed COPD due to his cigarette smoking, even absent his exposure to fire smoke and toxins. Moreover, the court pointed out that two of the physicians testified that the kind of exposure Lindemulder complained of would more likely have caused him to develop asthma. Lindemulder was never diagnosed with asthma, supporting the finding that any development or aggravation of COPD was caused by smoking cigarettes.

Lindemulder further argued that the legislative findings in Section 4-110.1, when coupled with the testimony, provided a basis for awarding him an occupational disease disability pension. During the enactment of Section 4-110.1, legislators declared that firefighters’ duties exposed them to heavy smoke fumes, and carcinogenic, poisonous, toxic or chemical gases from fires. Lindemulder argued that the legislature’s declaration supported his claim that the duties of firefighters have a deleterious impact on their health and thus entitle them to occupational disability pensions. The court again disagreed, holding that the legislature intended that firefighters be able to show that their disability was a result of the conditions they were exposed to in order to qualify for an occupational disability pension. The court held that Lindemulder’s missing element was causation – that is, proof that what he experienced on the job actually caused his disabling COPD.

This was a matter of first impression with the appellate court, and as such, has some significance for pension boards considering future applications for occupational disability benefits. In the past, some pension boards may have assumed an applicant’s lung disease was a natural by-product of his or her service as a firefighter; now, pension boards must consider whether conditions on the job were the cause or a contributing cause of the lung disease.

PENSION: (Illinois) What is “salary” for the purpose of determining pensions?

ARTICLE AT OBKCG

by John H. Kelly

A pension board’s determination of the applicable salary on which to base a pension must be the salary set by the municipality’s appropriations ordinance, according to the First District Appellate Court in Smith v. Board of Trustees of the Westchester Police Pension Fund, 405 Ill.App.3d 626 (1st Dist. 2010).

On July of 2007, Chief Robert J. Smith of the Westchester Police Department decided to retire. At that time, he was fifty-nine years old and had more than thirty-two years of creditable service. There was no question that he was eligible for the maximum statutory retirement pension of “75% of the salary attached to the rank held on his last day of service for one year prior to the last day, whichever is greater.” (40 ILCS 5/3-111) Prior to his retirement, Chief Smith requested the Village increase his salary in the same manner it had increased the fire chief’s pre-retirement salary. In March of 2007, he requested the new salary be effective May 1, 2007, two months prior to his intended retirement date. The Village Board ultimately approved the change, and Chief Smith’s new salary became effective May 1, 2007. The 2006 Village appropriation ordinance set the police chief’s salary at $94,742. The 2007 appropriation ordinance increased this amount by 3%. The new salary, equivalent to the salary at which the fire chief retired, was $102,966. Chief Smith also requested that a 1% merit increase and his 2007 holiday pay be included in his final salary for pension calculation purposes.

Prior to the hearing on Chief Smith’s retirement salary, the Board sought an advisory opinion from the Illinois Department of Insurance, as provided by Section 1A-106 of the Illinois Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/1A-106). The Department of Insurance determined that the salary increase granted Chief Smith in May of 2007 was a “retirement incentive” and not salary for pension purposes. At the hearing, the Board of Trustees of the Westchester Police Pension Board specifically considered the question of the police chief’s salary for pension calculation purposes.

In October of 2008, the Board issued a written order, finding that the proper amount of Chief Smith’s salary for pension purposes was $103,324. This salary amount included the 2006 salary as set by the appropriation ordinance, 2006 holiday pay, and a 3% cost of living adjustment for 2007. The Board excluded the salary increase and the merit pay. Chief Smith appealed the Board’s decision to the Cook County Circuit Court which affirmed the Board’s decision. The circuit court found that the appropriations ordinance which contained the salary level requested by Chief Smith in March of 2007 was enacted by the Village Board eleven days after Chief Smith’s retirement date. Smith then appealed to the First District Appellate Court.

In its opinion the appellate court affirmed the order of the circuit court and the Westchester Police Pension Board. The appellate court focused its decision on the definition of the term “salary.” The court found two sources for the definition of salary: the Illinois Administrative Code and the Illinois Pension Code. The Illinois Administrative Code is a set of rules established by various state agencies to assist in the interpretation and application of state laws. 50 Ill.Adm.Code §4402.30 defines “salary” for pension purposes to be “any fixed compensation” that is approved “through an appropriation ordinance of the municipality.”

Next, the court focused on Section 3-125.1 of the Illinois Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/3-125.1), which defines “salary” as “the annual salary, including longevity, attached to the police officer’s rank, as established by municipality’s appropriation ordinance…” (note that Section 4-118.1 of the Code, applicable to firefighters, contains the exact same definition of salary).

The appellate court pointed to the plain language of both the Illinois Administrative Code and the Illinois Pension Code in holding that the term “salary” must be defined as the compensation attached to a position in the police or fire department based on the municipality’s appropriation ordinance. The court found that even though the increase in Chief Smith’s salary had been approved by the trustees and the Village President, it could not serve to increase his salary for pension purposes, absent an appropriations ordinance showing the same change. The court also held that other forms of pay, i.e. merit pay and holiday pay should have been included in the appropriations ordinance if they were to be considered salary for pension purposes. The Smith case presents a number of important lessons for pension boards:

1. Establish a record relative to the determination of “salary” when awarding pensions.

2. Include salary and all other forms of pay in the municipality’s appropriations ordinance, if they are to be considered salary for pension calculation purposes.
3. Seek an advisory opinion from the Illinois Department of Insurance prior to making determinations on a final salary for pension calculation purposes, particularly where it is unclear what specific components of salary should be considered.

PENSION / UNION: Unions and Public Pension Benefits

--Good information here--
Duke


Introduction

State and local pensions have been headline news since the 2008 financial collapse reduced the value of their assets, leaving a substantial unfunded liabil­ity. The deterioration in the funded status of these plans raised pension costs at the same time that the ensuing recession wreaked havoc with state and local budgets. Legislatures across the country have responded by reducing pension benefits – primarily for new employees – and increasing employer and employee contributions.
1 As part of that process, governors in several states have launched initiatives to curb collective bargaining in the public sector.
2 One possible implication is that governors view unions as responsible for pushing up state and local pension benefits.  
This brief identifies the impact of public sec­tor unions and other factors on benefit levels, wages, and employment.


The brief is organized as follows. The first section summarizes what is known about pensions, wages, workers, and unionization in the public sector. The second section reports on a series of empirical exer­cises to determine the role of unions in explaining public pensions and wages. The results show that unions have no measurable effect on plan generosity or rate of growth in pension benefits, but do have a quantifiable impact on wage levels and perhaps num­ber of workers. The third section presents a possible reason for this outcome. Public sector pensions are legislated, not bargained, so the articulateness and acumen of the lobbyists may be more important than the number of union members; in contrast, wages are bargained and union strength could have a more di­rect effect. The final section concludes that this area is ripe for further research because the results appear to contradict the general perception of commentators and politicians.


*******************************************************************************

PENSION: (National) SEC: We're Probing Pensions

--Our pension problems appear to be far from over in this country.--
Duke

STORY AT The Bond Buyer

Schapiro Speaks at Dodd-Frank Event
Friday, July 22, 2011
By Joan Quigley

WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing a number of governmental entities about the adequacy of their public pension disclosures, chairwoman Mary Schapiro told lawmakers Thursday.

Schapiro’s remarks came during a hearing by the Senate Banking Committee devoted to the one-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Other witnesses included Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., one of the architects of the sweeping financial reform law that bears his name.

During a question and answer period, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., asked Schapiro if the SEC would recommend that muni issuers conform to the pension-disclosure standards proposed earlier this month by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Under GASB’s guidance, which is still preliminary, state and local governments would be required to report unfunded pension liabilities in their financial statements, rather than in the footnotes, where such information has historically appeared.

In response, Schapiro cited the SEC’s settlement with New Jersey last year of securities fraud charges stemming from the state’s failure to disclose to investors that it was underfunding its two largest defined-benefit pension plans.

The commission has “a number of others under investigations” with respect to the adequacy of disclosures, she said.

Schapiro also said discussions are ­underway with members of Congress about potentially enlarging the commission’s disclosure authority over municipal issuers.

Under the Tower Amendment in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the SEC and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board cannot require muni issuers to file pre-offering disclosure documents.

As for the proposed pension-accounting standards, she said: “I think GASB took a very important step.”

Still, Kirk said he worries about the power of governmental entities to fend off regulatory scrutiny.

“We won’t hold back,” Schapiro declared.

Later, spokeswoman Kate Dickens said Kirk is concerned about unfunded state pension liabilities in Illinois and believes investors lending money to states deserve “full transparency” of such liabilities, which “may affect the risk in lending states more money.”

Earlier, Frank, in a 14-minute cameo peppered with references ranging from Humphrey Bogart to Flip Wilson, chastised Republicans for seeking to derail financial reform by slowing down rulemaking, repealing key Dodd-Frank ­provisions, and paring regulators’ ­budgets.

“I understand people who think we have too much regulation,” Frank said. “But we can’t find $150 million for the CFTC?”

Frank also said the worst of all worlds is to have a regulatory scheme hampered by regulators who lack the budget to implement and enforce their mandates.

“So this nickel and diming of the SEC and CFTC does grave harm,” he said.

Throughout the two-hour hearing, committee members advanced competing views about Dodd-Frank, with Democrats quizzing regulators about whether they lacked the resources to fulfill their statutory mandates and Republicans focused on the costs of the reforms to industry participants and taxpayers.

During one exchange, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Dodd-Frank had created more than 4,000 new government jobs, and that some SEC employees can earn more than $230,000 per year.

Addressing Bernanke, Shelby said: “Mr. Chairman, do we now have enough government bureaucrats to protect the financial system?”

Bernanke, in turn, cited an inadequate regulatory structure before the 2008 financial crisis. “This is not just, you know, a pointless response,” he said. “There are a lot of things that need ­fixing.”