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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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

NEWS: (Illinois) Illinois may get tougher on excessive speeding

Story at State Journal-Register

The Associated Press
Posted Mar 30, 2012 @ 12:46 PM

SENATE BILL 2888

Illinois may get tougher on drivers who don't just break the speed limit but shatter it. The state Senate voted Friday to deny the option of court supervision when drivers break the limit by certain amounts: over 25 mph on city streets and over 30 mph on highways.

Supervision lets speeders pay a fine and perhaps attend traffic school to avoid a permanent stain on their driving record.

Sen. Maggie Crotty of Oak Forest says a teenager from her district died in an accident caused by an excessive speeder with seven previous citations that all resulted in supervision.

She calls her proposal Julie's Law in honor of her constituent. It passed 46-0 and moves to the House floor.

NEWS: (Illinois) Legislators propose penalties for abusing, moving corpse

--Ummmmm, OK......--
Duke

Story at State Journal-Register

By DAVID THOMAS (david.thomas@sj-r.com)
The State Journal-Register
Posted Mar 28, 2012 @ 11:00 PM
Last update Mar 29, 2012 @ 05:51 AM

The Illinois House voted unanimously Wednesday to criminalize sexual conduct with a corpse.

House Bill 5122 also would make it a felony to move a dead body without authorization.

The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Daniel Beiser, D-Alton, said he had received complaints from prosecutors and county coroners in Madison County that some people have moved the bodies of people who had overdosed on drugs. That contaminates a crime scene, Beiser said.

Beiser said the section criminalizing sexual conduct with a corpse was added in response to a case in Madison County from the 1990s. Today, such a person can be charged only with criminal damage to property.

“The death of a loved one is bad enough,” Beiser said. “It should be much more than criminal damage to property.”

Exemptions to the prohibition against moving a corpse apply to employees at a medical examiner/coroner’s office, licensed funeral directors, and personnel responding to medical emergencies.

NEWS: (Chicago) With murders up 35%, McCarthy shakes up Chicago police brass

Story at Chicago Sun-Times

BY FRANK MAIN
and FRAN SPIELMAN
Staff Reporters/fmain@suntimes.com
Last Modified: Mar 31, 2012 02:08AM

With Chicago suffering a 35 percent spike in murders this year, police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced a reshuffling of his command staff Friday, replacing commanders in five of the city’s 23 districts.

McCarthy also promoted three supervisors to deputy chief positions. He said the changes were made to “strengthen the department’s ongoing efforts to reduce violence” and create a “more efficient departmental structure.”

McCarthy promoted James Gibson as commander in the Morgan Park district; Lynette Helm in Grand-Crossing; James O’Donnell in Jefferson Park; Maria Pena in Marquette, and Barbara West in Austin.

A police spokeswoman said no district commanders were demoted to make way for the changes in those five districts. They replaced commanders who were promoted to other positions or retired, she said.

Kathleen Boehmer, former commander in the Town Hall district, was promoted to deputy chief of detectives.

Keith Calloway, former commander of detectives in the Calumet Area, was named deputy chief of the organized crime bureau.

Boemer and Calloway’s previous positions were eliminated in a department consolidation last month. McCarthy merged the Town Hall and Belmont districts and reduced the number of detective areas from five to three.

McCarthy also announced that Eddie Johnson, former commander of the Gresham district, has been promoted to deputy chief of patrol for the newly created Central Area.

As of Thursday, there have been 114 murders this year in Chicago — up 35 percent compared with the same period last year.

But department records also show that, through March 18, overall crime has dropped 10 percent throughout the city compared with the same period in 2011.

Because of the spike in gang-related murders this year, McCarthy previously announced he was putting together a comprehensive anti-gang strategy that includes getting patrol officers detailed information about gangs in their districts; keeping tactical officers in their districts to fight gang crime instead of assigning them to duties outside the district, and improving the exchange of gang intelligence among the patrol division, gang units and detectives.

The biggest skakeup in the Chicago Police Department in recent years occurred in 2008, when newly appointed Supt. Jody Weis swept out 21 of 25 district commanders and dipped into the ranks of district commanders to replace the first deputy and other top brass.

NEWS: (Franklin Park) Ground-breaking held for new Franklin Park police station

Story at Pioneer Press

Last Modified: Mar 31, 2012 12:12AM

Franklin Park Mayor Barrett Pedersen, village Police Chief Michael Witz, Congressman Michael Quigley and village trustees will break ground for the new Franklin Park police station Saturday.

The 36,500-square-foot building will incorporate sustainable technology including high-performance lighting, energy-efficient systems and paving materials that reduce flooding. It is expected to be a highly functional work environment for the officers and visitors of the facility and aims to be an example of sustainable living and design for the community.

Ground-breaking will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at 9451 Belmont Ave. (corner of Belmont and Edgington), Franklin Park.

In addition to Pedersen, Witz, village trustees and officials and 5th District Congressman Quigley, expected attendees are state Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano. Schiller Park Mayor Anna Montana, Melrose Park Mayor Ronald M. Serpico, Stone Park Mayor Benjamino Mazzulla, Elmwood Park Mayor Peter N. Silvestri, Brian Wright of FGM Architects and Ernest Spina of MTI. Construction Services.

UNION: (Wisconsin) Limit on Public Sector Unions Is Voided

--Little by little these ignorant politicians learn they can not blame everything on the employees and walk all over them.--
Duke

Story at New York Times

March 30, 2012
By MONICA DAVEY

A federal judge concluded on Friday that parts of a law limiting public sector unions in Wisconsin — the law that started a political battle between Republican officials and labor leaders in the state a year ago — violate the Constitution.

The opinion of Judge William M. Conley, of the Western District of Wisconsin, was viewed as a partial victory for labor unions, though the judge also upheld central elements of the law, currently in effect around the state.

In essence, the judge found fault with a portion of the law that requires some public unions — though not public safety-related unions — to hold annual votes by members to remain in existence, and with a provision that bars governments from withholding a worker’s union dues, both measures that labor leaders see as efforts to weaken unions. So long as the state sets no such rule for public safety unions, like those that include police officers and firefighters, “there is no rational basis to deny those rights,” to the other public worker unions, the judge found.

Judge Conley’s decision did not affect the strict limits the law set on collective bargaining rights for most public workers, however. “This is bittersweet,” said Marty Beil, executive director of A.F.S.C.M.E. Council 24, which represents many Wisconsin state workers.

State officials said they were still analyzing the decision and considering an appeal.

“Although we are still reviewing the adverse portions of the ruling and considering the options, we are confident that we would prevail in an appeal if we choose to go that direction,” said the state attorney general, J. B. Van Hollen.

And a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, who faces a recall election in June, said that the judge’s finding “affirmed the constitutionality of nearly everything” in the law. “We are confident that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals will continue to uphold the constitutionality of the law,” said Cullen Werwie, the spokesman.

PAROLE ALERT: Cop Killer Ronald Schneider

*
PAROLE DENIAL LETTER


DENY PAROLE to Ronald Schneider, inmate #136421. This inmate's violent murder of Police Officer John Scanlon in 1985 should preclude any consideration for parole.

On Thursday, February 14, 1985, Officer Scanlon, of the Robbinsdale Police Department, was ambushed and brutally slain in the line of duty. He was murdered in the discharge of his duties simply because he wore a badge and stood for law and order.

Officer Scanlon left behind a loving wife and an adopted son, who was forced to grow up without his father.

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


OFFICER DOWN MEMORIAL PAGE for OFFICER SCANLON


Police Officer John Thomas Scanlon
Robbinsdale Police Department, Minnesota
End of Watch: Thursday, February 14, 1985


Bio & Incident Details

Age: 35
Tour: 11 years
Badge # 3810
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 2/14/1985
Weapon: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect: Sentenced to life

Officer John Scanlon was shot and killed after he and another officer cleared the scene of a burglary call.

After clearing the scene the second officer left, but Officer Scanlon remained in his patrol car doing paperwork. Although they did not locate a suspect on their initial search, the man returned to the scene, approached Officer Scanlon's vehicle and opened fire from the driver's side. The suspect was later convicted of Officer Scanlon's murder and sentenced to life.

Officer Scanlon had served with the Robbinsdale Police Department for 11 years. He was survived by his wife and adopted son.

PENSION: (Illinois) Illinois pension reform measure passes House

--More sticking fingers in the breaking dyke.--
Duke

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Ray Long and Alissa Groeninger, Chicago Tribune reporters
March 30, 2012

SPRINGFIELD — A local government that gives an ex-lawmaker a fat paycheck would have to pick up the costs of any automatic increase in his state pension under a proposal the House passed overwhelmingly Thursday.

House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego, who sponsored the legislation, said the action is needed to rebuild trust in public officials and demonstrate a commitment to "ending the corrosive policies of the past."

The move came months after the Tribune disclosed a pension windfall for former Democratic state Rep. Robert Molaro of Chicago. Molaro nearly doubled his state-supported pension to more than $120,0000 a year because he worked one month as a well-paid aide to Ald. Ed Burke, chairman of the City Council Finance Committee.

The measure would not affect the Molaro deal. But the state would not be stuck with paying a higher pension tab for any more such deals. It would apply to lawmakers who were in the Legislature before August 1994 and move to a different government job with a bigger paycheck. In 1994, a law was put in place that prevents newer lawmakers from leaving and landing high-paying government jobs that boost their state pensions.

The government that hires an ex-lawmaker would cover any additional pension costs for giving him a higher public paycheck. The former lawmaker also could opt out of the higher pension. The bill moved to the Senate on a 110-0 House vote.

Molaro got the pension boost when he received a $12,000 paycheck for his monthlong job of advising Burke and writing a 19-page white paper on pensions. State law allowed him to annualize the paycheck over 12 months and base his retirement check on a $144,000 salary. It sent his pension soaring to more than $120,000 a year — nearly twice the $64,000 pension he would have gotten without the maneuver.

Sen. Kwame Raoul, the Chicago Democrat who chairs the Senate Pension and Investments Committee, said the measure is appealing because it would help lower at least a portion of the state's burgeoning pension costs. Raoul said he needed to examine the measure further but that it "sounds like it makes sense."

Republican Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine said he would sponsor the bill.

"It is not proper or acceptable that taxpayers in my district have to pay for a one-month sweetheart deal offered by the city of Chicago," Murphy said.

In other action:

•House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and Cross won approval of a budget framework aimed at throttling back the spending in agencies and starting to make a dent in the state's massive backlog of old bills.

Foreshadowing budget struggles this spring, Rep. Lisa Dugan, D-Bradley, and several other lawmakers argued that education, Medicaid and social services needed more money.

Dugan said the downturn in the economy has hurt "people who never felt they were going to have to need the services that our state provides."

"If I had to make a choice, I would rather as a legislator say parks and recreation may have to wait a little bit … before we're going to have to take drugs away from seniors," Dugan said.

Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, said the budget outline represented a tough "reality."

It's the hand we've been dealt," he said. "It's a fiscal crisis, and we're trying to get the state back on solid financial standing."

The outline proposes paying down Medicaid bills with $500 million in state funds, collecting $500 million in matching federal funds and using $300 million or more toward reducing the overall backlog of old bills, Cross said.

"Not everybody is happy with the numbers in the resolutions because some people would like the numbers to be higher and some people would like the numbers to be lower, and so this is a compromise, a compromise predicated upon the best information available to the General Assembly," Madigan said.

•The Senate voted in favor of adding Powerball to the types of online lottery tickets that Illinois began offering Sunday.

•A measure to accept private donations to help reduce a DNA testing backlog passed the Senate.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

PENSION: (Illinois) Taxpayers Have Contributed 230% More Than Teachers Since 2001

--I think there is a couple of important questions missing from this evaluation.

1. Amount of taxpayer money actually used for pension funds from each year?

2. Amount that taxes went up in comparison to money owed by the state each year?

3. What did the legislators do with the billions of dollars that were collected from taxpayers and NOT used properly?


It is time to stop trying to turn the taxpayer against the public employees and for the state to face up to its wrong doing and then let's move forward to fix the problems.--
Duke

Story at Champion News

March 26, 2012
By Bill Zettler

An unending cascade of misinformation continues to come out of Springfield, union headquarters and the media so let me say it loud and clear:

We Taxpayers Have OVERPAID Into Pensions Not UNDERPAID.

Let’s keep it simple:

Is $20.1 billion greater than $8.7 billion?

If the answer is “Yes” then we taxpayers have paid $11.4 million more for teacher pensions from 2001-2011 than teachers have.

 That’s 230% MORE. 

The way I look at it the taxpayers are due a refund with interest.

Teachers vs. Taxpayers    
         
State Pension Contributions to TRS 2001 – 2010      



In millions of dollars    

YEAR   Taxpayer Contrib. (Employer)    Teacher Contrib. (Employee)    Taxpayer to Teacher %

2001                      821                                             643                                        128%
         
2002                      907                                             681                                        133%

2003                      1,021                                          732                                        139%

2004                      5,489                                          769                                        714%

2005                      1,055                                          762                                         138%
         
2006                      658                                             799                                         82%
         
2007                      854                                             826                                         103%

2008                     1,172                                           865                                         135%

2009                     1,604                                           876                                          183%

2010                     2,200                                           899                                           245%
         
2011                     2,300                                           910                                           253%

TOTAL>>            18,081                                         8,762                                        206%

Penion Bond Interest
            2,072
   
Total Paid In         20,153                                        8,762                                          230%


SOURCE: Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois    
June 30, 2010 – 2011    
         
Actuarial Valuation of Pension Benefits.          

SOURCE: Teacher Retirement System Actuarial Reports – June 30, 2001 & June 30, 2011


If the Teachers Retirement System loses $12 billion why do taxpayers have to pay for it?

The other dirty little secret we never talk about is how the taxpayer is responsible for every salary increase, every early retirement, every benefit increase and every dollar of investment loss. Which is exactly why we taxpayers (not the “state”) are contributing 400% more than employees this year.

Seven members of the 13 Member TRS Board of Trustees are current or former employees of the public school system.  So “teachers” are making the investment decisions for the TRS but the “taxpayer” (formerly known as the “state”) is required to make up all loses via higher contributions i.e. higher taxes. Taxpayers are also required to pay 100% of the interest on all Pension Obligation Bonds, an amount now approaching $1 billion/yr. Since they are in charge why aren’t teachers paying instead of taxpayers?

For more than a decade taxpayers have paid more than any reasonable system should require – 230% more in the case of TRS. Please note every single year taxpayers paid more than employees except in 2006.

Why are state pensions so expensive – the “Four Rules of Too”.

1. Retirement is “Too Early”:
State Police can retire at 50, teachers 54 and others at 55. Compare this with Social Security full retirement at 66. A person retiring at 50 will, on average, spend more time retired that he did working. That is very expensive proposition.

2. Pensions are “Too High”:
From a maximum of 75% of salary for teachers to 80% for State Police and University employees to 85% for legislators to 75% plus Social Security for state employees plus 3%/yr. COLA, pensions are very expensive to finance. When combined with early retirement, costs are off the charts.

3. Salaries are “Too High”:
Since pensions are percentages of salaries and are without any upper limit, high salaries lead to high pensions. State police earning $175,000, Phys Ed teachers $203,000 and school superintendents $368,000 have led to 5,400 state pensions in excess of $100,000/yr. growing at 25%/yr. This projects to 25,000 pensions over $100K by 2020.

4. Contributions are “Too low”:
About 99% of state employees pay less into their retirement system than we do into SS and 401K and they pay for fewer years since they retire earlier than we do. But they retire up to 16 years earlier (age 50 for troopers, age 66 for full Social Security) on much higher pensions so therefore they should be contributing much more than the private sector not less. Because they are not paying their fair share the extra cost must be picked up by the taxpayers of IL.

Illinois pension and retiree health care costs are creating an economic dead-end.

The Census Bureau just reported that Chicago now has its lowest population in the last 100 years. Mayor Daley says the new pension requirements for Chicago pensions will raise property taxes by 60% (Bloomberg Dec 21, 2010). Do you think raising property taxes by 60% will lead to more people moving to Chicago or moving from Chicago? Moving from Chicago of course.

Use the same logic for the state. Will potential new employers look at Illinois and see $1 trillion in pension and health care benefits owed to retired public employees over the next 35 years as a reason to relocate here or as a reason to relocate to Indiana, Wisconsin or Ohio? Anybody with common sense would choose someplace other than Illinois to relocate.

Do you think these numbers oriented businessmen will notice that this years $6.8 billion tax increase exactly matches this year’s pension cost ($6.2 billion) and retiree health care cost ($600 million)? Yes, I think they will notice.

Will the pension supporters’ whining that pensions are “owed” or “promised” have any effect on these decisions? Yes, it will have a negative effect.

If Illinois wants to avoid becoming a Michigan and Chicago a Detroit then comprehensive, meaningful pension reform needs to be completed soon. Decisions to come to Illinois or leave Illinois are being made every day.

Every day we avoid making tough pension cost decisions more taxpayers leave Illinois. Who is going to pay the pensions when all the taxpayers have left?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NEWS: (Illinois) More Illinois judges, required raises mean we pay 29% more in 8 years

--To many judges, to many bodies of government, to many crooked politicians. Illinois just seems to have to many of.......everything.
Instead of looking for ways to take away from the employees that make the state go, how about looking at ways to get rid of some the "to many"  and use the money more wisely?--
Duke

Story at Daily Herald

By Jake Griffin

Despite declining caseloads, stagnant population and the state's growing deficit, Illinois taxpayers will spend about $39 million more on judicial salaries this year than they did just eight years ago.

There are 56 more judges on the bench today than there were in 2004, and all 967 judges receive a constitutionally guaranteed raise every year.

Illinois' trial judges — 906 of them on the bench throughout the state — receive the highest salaries for such a post in the country, according to data compiled by a national judicial research organization. The state's 523 circuit judges make $180,802 a year, while the current roster of 383 associate judges make $171,762 annually. California follows Illinois, paying its highest-ranking trial judges a maximum of $178,789.

Illinois appellate court judges, 54 of them, make $197,032 a year. And the seven Supreme Court justices make $209,344. The higher court jurists have the second-highest salaries in the country, only behind California.

Combined, Illinois judges will be paid $172.6 million in 2012. The payout is 29 percent more than 2004's.

The high salaries, on top of the increased number of judges, have some critics worried about the impact to taxpayers who help fund the already lucrative judicial pension program. While some retirement benefits have been curbed by recent legislation, that only affects new judges. The vast majority of judges currently on the bench will receive 85 percent of their final salary if they serve 20 years. Judicial pensions also receive an automatic 3 percent cost-of-living increase that's compounded annually. Most public pensions require 30 to 35 years on the job and max out at 75 percent of a worker's salary.

“That is a concern, especially when you look at caseloads per judge,” said Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute, a government spending watchdog organization with offices in Chicago and Springfield. “Our judges, compared to some neighboring states like Wisconsin and Indiana, have lower caseloads, but they're being paid $60,000 more.”

A study conducted by The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Conference of State Court Administrators and National Center for State Courts shows that in 2009 Indiana trial judges handled 4,983 cases on average and Wisconsin judges averaged 6,611 cases a year. But the top-ranking judges in those states made almost $50,000 less a year than their counterparts in Illinois who averaged 4,533 cases.

“We're a state with a relatively low cost of living,” said Collin Hitt, senior director of government affairs for the Illinois Policy Institute. “Why are our judges being paid considerably more than judges across the country? It's a question with no obvious answer.”

Joe Tybor, a spokesman for the state court administrator, noted that the judiciary budget is “less than 1 percent of the entire state budget” and judicial salaries represent “54 percent of the branch's budget.”

“Judges have really no control over their salary,” he said. “The overall judicial budget has been flat or declined for the past several years.”

Still, at the same time, the national study showed Illinois felony cases declined 13 percent from a high of 103,642 in 2002 to 90,176 in 2009. The study did not include details on civil, misdemeanor, juvenile or other cases handled by trial judges during that time.

Felonies are handled by full circuit court judges. Despite the felony caseload decline, there are 29 more circuit judges on the bench today than in 2004, according to records reported by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

There was a rush to fill a number of vacancies a few years ago before changes to the judicial pension laws took effect, legislative officials said.

While the legislature approves judicial salaries, lawmakers have very little leeway in determining the amounts. The state constitution set judicial salaries and then handed over responsibility of raises to the now-defunct Compensation Review Board.

Experts say the only way to truly address judicial salaries is to change the state's constitution. That process requires passage of an amendment by at least 60 percent of the members of both chambers of the state legislature and then approval by voters.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich attempted to halt raises for judges in 2003, but the judges sued, won and now get annual raises based on a complicated formula determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state Supreme Court ruled that the governor and legislature would overstep their powers by taking away compensation from an equal and independent branch of the government. Since 2004, the four types of judges in Illinois have seen their pay increase an average of 21.5 percent.

According to state courts administration officials, judges will receive an automatic 0.9 percent cost-of-living increase next year. That amounts to a raise of $1,546 for associate judges, $1,627 for circuit judges, $1,773 for appellate judges and $1,884 for Supreme Court justices. Overall, that's an additional $1,551,969 for all current judges combined.

“It's a balancing act to where you want to pay the judiciary a salary that attracts and retains quality judges, but you don't want the salary to become so high that it's a motivation to run where you won't get individuals who want to be a judge for the right reasons,” said state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican who is minority spokesman for the judiciary committee. “It depends on the judge and jurisdiction. Some judges are grossly underpaid and some are grossly overpaid. We have a one-size-fits-all judicial salary template, which might need reviewing.”

Some legislators suggested that geography should play a part in judicial salaries. Downers Grove Republican state Sen. Ron Sandack said a circuit court judge's salary goes a lot further in rural parts of the state than it does in Chicago and the collar counties.

Caseload statistics presented in a 2010 report from the Supreme Court show wide variances of workloads between the state's 23 circuit court districts. On the high end, DuPage County led with 7,030 cases filed per judge, while judges in the downstate 8th District that includes Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Mason, Menard, Pike and Schuyler counties received an average of 2,518 cases per judge. In Cook County, trial judges averaged 3,710 cases filed per judge. Lake County trial judges averaged 6,217 cases in 2010 and McHenry County trial judges averaged 5,646 cases. The circuit court district that includes Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties saw 5,326 new case filings per judge, according to the state report.

“Then you're looking at where we're getting the most bang for the buck,” Sandack said.

Geographic pay differentials are not uncommon nationally, said Greg Hurley, an analyst who tracks judicial salaries for the National Center for State Courts. But he noted the differentials generally account for a small percentage increase to the base pay of a judge.

“The level of court is going to dictate the amount you make as a judge, not the geography of where you're from,” he said.

In Illinois, the legislature is also hamstrung in the number of judges the state has because the posts are constitutionally determined based on population. In the most recent census, some circuits lost judges, but more judicial positions were created than lost statewide, according to Tybor. That's despite a negligible population growth.

“There are 13 more associate (positions) than there were,” he said.

That amounts to $2.2 million in additional judicial salaries. It's worth noting that not all associate judge positions in the state are currently filled, according to the state court administrator's website.

Yet another wrinkle is that the legislature has the ability to create circuit court judicial positions, but no authority to eliminate them. Legislators say the state's financial problems and the judiciary's unwillingness to forgo raises has made them much more hesitant to create judicial positions that aren't required by law. Some have tried to limit the growth and cost of the state's judiciary, but with little success.

“They're always asking for more judges, but we've tried to keep it under control as much as we can,” said state Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat. “The problem is, if you challenge them, you go in front of them.”

UNION: (Chicago) Chicago Police may miss pay hike because of union mistake: sources

--If this is true it does not put the FOP leadership in a very positive light.
 Being involved in a department as big as Chicago can sometimes involve a lot of press time. 
Some leaders (especially young ones) become enamored with it and the membership sometimes suffers.--
Duke

Story at Chicgao Sun-Times

Mike Shields, President of The Fraternal Order of Police talks about the appointment of Garry McCarthy to be the new Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy. Monday, May 2, 2011 | Brian Jackson~Chicago Sun-Times
BY FRAN SPIELMAN
City Hall Reporter
fspielman@suntimes.com
Last Modified: Mar 28, 2012 06:43AM

Chicago Police officers may have to wait until next year to negotiate a new contract with the city — and forgo a retroactive pay increase in 2012 — thanks to an embarrassing oversight by the new leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police, City Hall sources said Tuesday.

Police and fire contracts are due to expire on June 30, but a little-known clause requires unions to notify the city between Feb. 1 and March 1 that they intend to terminate their contracts and commence negotiations on a new agreement. If they don’t serve notice during that time, the contract automatically rolls over for another year.

City firefighters and unions representing police sergeants, lieutenants and captains notified the city within the required time frame.

But City Hall contends FOP President Mike Shields missed the March 1 deadline, giving Mayor Rahm Emanuel an opening to either put off negotiations until June 30, 2013, or negotiate only those items that would cut taxpayer costs.

A mayoral confidant emphasized that the city has not yet decided whether to “stick it in the ear” of rank-and-file police officers.

“But we’re reserving the right to be selective in what we talk about because they blew it,” the source said.

Emanuel is expected to take a hard line in negotiations, specifically targeting a sick-leave policy that allows officers to take up to 365 days off every two years; a $1,800-a-year uniform allowance and yearly duty-availability pay — $2,800 that compensates officers for being on call at any time.

In an email to the Chicago Sun-Times, Shields maintained his letter to the city was “well within the timeline” required by state law.

“There is no issue . . . regarding the FOP’s intent to modify the terms and conditions of the labor agreement that expires June 30,” he wrote. “While others may believe that negotiations should be about technicalities and posturing, the FOP believes the upcoming negotiations . . . should be about protecting the citizens of Chicago while respecting the incredible work performed by members of the FOP. The difficult issues out there like manpower need to be resolved by both sides sitting down to make the city safer.”

Two years ago, Chicago taxpayers dodged a fiscal bullet when an arbitrator awarded rank-and-file police officers a 10 percent pay increase over five years, their smallest increase in 30 years.

The pay raise fell short of the 16.1 percent once offered by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. The FOP initially demanded 24 percent.

The city also won several key provisions aimed at improving police performance, including random alcohol testing for on-duty officers; mandatory drug and alcohol testing when officers discharge their weapons on or off-duty, and the addition of Ecstasy and anabolic steroids to drug testing.

Putting the FOP off for a year or cherrypicking certain items to negotiate could exacerbate tensions among rank-and-file officers bracing for an international onslaught of protesters during the May 20-21 NATO summit.

During the last go-around with the city, Daley initially offered the 16.1 percent pay raise, then yanked the offer off the table after the economy tanked. That prompted the FOP to stage a raucous protest timed to embarrass Daley before the site selection committee for the 2016 Olympic Games, a competition the city lost.

VIDEO GAMBLING: Oak Brook rejects video gambling

--I do not understand why the State of Corruption thought every town around would jump onto the video gambling bandwagon?
Casinos are one thing, very public, well publicized, etc.
Video poker will never shake the back room image of shady payouts. Nobody wants that image again.--
Duke

Story at Pioneer Press

By Steve Schering
Contributor
Last Modified: Mar 28, 2012 12:37AM

Oak Brook trustees have unanimously passed a ban on video gambling within the village’s bars and restaurants.

In 2009, the Illinois Legislature passed a law legalizing video gambling in Illinois to fund the state’s capital improvement program. The measure would allow video gambling within the 28 liquor license-holding establishments in Oak Brook.

However, video gambling can be prohibited in a municipality by either the village board approving a ban or a referendum placed on a ballot that is a result of a petition signed by 25 percent of the legal voters of a town.

Dick Turner, the general manager of the DoubleTree Hotel, spoke in favor of bringing video gaming into the village, but was met with heavy opposition by the Village Board.

“Our company had hopes of installing a few of these machines in our sports bar,” Turner said. “Our company sees it as an additional revenue stream and would give us a competitive advantage over our neighboring communities.”

According to Turner, only two of Oak Brook’s hotels apposed the idea and said that had to do with the image of their parent companies. Turner estimated the machines would bring in an additional $40,000 to $50,000 in revenue per year to his hotel.

Turner brought with him Chuck Hamburg of Roosevelt University. Hamburg is highly in favor of bringing the machines to the community and state.

“It’s going to create thousands of jobs and generate $400 million to $600 million for a state that has no money and no hope,” Hamburg said. “A lot of communities panicked because they didn’t understand the issue.

“If you don’t vote this in (now), eventually you will vote it in.”

Trustees wouldn’t shut the door completely on the idea, with Trustee Asif Yusuf and Gerald Wolin saying they could overturn the ban if there was significant support from businesses and residents.

“This is not an easy decision,” Wolin said. “We go out of our way to work with the businesses.

“On the other hand, gambling does not seem right in Oak Brook. That’s my personal opinion.”

According to an Oak Brook memo, the state imposes a tax of 30 percent on the net income of each gaming terminal with one-sixth of the revenue going to the municipality. A village with five machines can expect a net income of $11,250 per year, according to state officials.

Four counties and 77 municipalities have approved a video gaming ban, including Hinsdale, Oakbrook Terrace and Elmhurst.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PENSION: (Illinois) Treasurer points to pensions as state's biggest financial problem

--Yes. Yes. We know. We know. The pension mess in Illinois is horrible. We have to face facts and fix it. We all have to absorb some of the blow. 
How about we quit with all the political rhetoric and do something about it? 
Maybe meet with employees and employers and work it out?
Agree that we are way past reform and in the area of overhaul?
Agree that employers can not use pension money, EVER, for anything other than pensions?
There are many ways to fix the problems if the politicians were willing to really do something about it.--
Duke

Story at Journal Courier

March 24, 2012 6:00 AM
JAKE RUSSELL

The biggest problem Illinois faces financially is the unfunded liability of state pension systems, one state official maintains.

This was one of the issues Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford addressed at a Jacksonville Rotary Club meeting Friday afternoon.

Rutherford was one of the first Central Illinois conservative Republican officials elected in years. He maintains a composure seemingly down-to-earth, posting a picture of himself with Mayor Andy Ezard shortly after the meeting. He speaks openly about the problems at hand, offering solutions based on his business background.

He shared the story about how the day after he was elected to “the most bankrupt state in America,” a 67 percent income tax increase went into effect as Gov. Pat Quinn raised the income tax from three percent to five percent.

In business, Rutherford learned that “I don’t know what I don’t know until I’m at the negotiating table,” he said. “You don’t agree to just one piece of a contract without the whole contract in front of you.”

The income tax increase did nothing to assuage the state’s debt, as it covered on the increase in the pension system.

“Every state employee deserves a fair pension, but not more than that,” Rutherford said.
He proposes a choice system in which anybody keeping the current pension system pays a higher premium.

“Illinois is a wonderful state with tremendous assets,” Rutherford said, “but we’re roaming down a track that’s going to go off a cliff. This Springfield session, we must address the unfunded liability of the pension system.”

Rutherford also touched on important community issues such as the closing of the Jacksonville Developmental Center. He attended the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability and doesn’t believe it is appropriate to close the facility because of the clientele and also because of the economic ramifications, as there is no plan in place, he said.

“I think it is abundantly important for government to look at its assets, as a business would, and determine the best deployment of those assets for a return,” said Rutherford, who believes the facilities should remain open but evaluated to maximize efficiency.

Rotary provides a variety of programs, including updates from public officials, President Lori Hartz said.

“We’re very happy that he accepted our invitation,” Hartz said. “I think he’s in a tough spot representing the state, but he did a great job letting us know the direction he thinks we need to go.”

NEWS: (Chicago) Five Chicago Police Involved Shootings in Six Days

 --Hmmm, perhaps if people stopped trying hurt our police officers or innocent citizens this statistic would not be growing.--
Duke

Story at My FOX Chicago News

Updated: Monday, 26 Mar 2012, 10:19 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 26 Mar 2012, 10:19 PM CDT

By Mike Flannery, FOX Chicago News


video




Chicago - Five Chicago Police involved shootings in six days. We went into the neighborhood where two of them happened to find out what is going on.

Bernardine Gilty, Sister of Dead Man. They killed him because he had that black bag, and he had it all day long.

According to the dead man's sister, the black bag contained electronic surveillance equipment used at this third floor window by Chicago Police officers. The surrounding area's known for gang-related drug activity. His family and friends claim that 52-year-old Ricky Bradley, a former school teacher who abused drugs and ended up homeless here, might have been a petty thief, but wouldn't touch a gun, much less pull one on police.

“They said that he had a gun. Ricky is not known at all to carry a gun. He doesn't hurt or do anything wrong. He's a real helpful good guy. He doesn't hurt. He used to be a school teacher,” said Alexis Black, the dead man’s friend.

While it was the fifth police-involved shootings in Chicago in six days, it was the second to happen in the troubled 24th Ward. Ald. Michael Chandler said he wants police foot patrols like those Downtown so that officers can better know the neighborhood.

“Over here, we have police shooting people. We have people shooting people. You don't see no police walking over here,” said Alderman Chandler.
‘What's behind this increase in police-involved shootings? Or is it just coincidence? The President of the Fraternal Order of Police Union Mike Shields says the answer is two-fold.

“I think there is two factors here. One is that gang bangers on the street no longer think twice about pointing a gun at a Chicago Police officer. And secondly, I think they know that the Chicago Police Dept is outmanned and understaffed,” said Shields.

PAROLE ALERT: Cop Killer Andrew Salinas

 ***
PAROLE DENIAL LETTER

Andrew Salinas, inmate #150723 is eligible for a "Life Sentence Review" hearing on May 7th, 2012.

I respectfully ask that you do not consider parole or early release of any kind to inmate #150723.

On July 5, 1988, inmate #150723 murdered Police Chief Gregory Lange by brutally beating him and then shooting him with his own service weapon. He is a cold blooded killer who would endanger society by being released.

He has shown his contempt for the justice system on many occasions, including his attempted escape from prison in 2008.

********************************************************
OFFICER DOWN MEMORIAL PAGE for CHIEF LANGE


Chief of Police Gregory Lynn Lange
Claremont Police Department, Minnesota
End of Watch: Tuesday, July 5, 1988


Bio & Incident Details

Age: 39
Tour: 16 years
Badge # 361
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 7/5/1988
Weapon: Officer's handgun
Suspect: Convicted of murder

Chief Gregory Lange was shot and killed after responding to a fight between two brothers. When Chief Lange arrived the brothers turned on him and one suspect was able to gain control of Chief Lange's gun and fatally shot him.

The suspects fled but were later apprehended and convicted of murder.

Chief Lange had served in law enforcement for 16 years. He was survived by his wife and son.

WE RETURN YOU TO.........

***

YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING....

WHATEVER I HIT THAT I WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAS BEEN FIXED.

DUKE

*****

Monday, March 26, 2012

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.....

*****

SORRY. WE ARE EXPERIENCING SOME TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.


WE ARE WORKING TO GET THEM RESOLVED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.


WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.

DUKE

*****

Sunday, March 25, 2012

NEWS: (Suburban) Suspect charged with selling drugs in Franklin Park

--Nice work.--
Duke

Story at Pioneer Press

By Mark Lawton
mlawton@pioneerlocal.com
Last Modified: Mar 22, 2012 02:58PM

A Chicago man has been charged with selling drugs in Franklin Park.

David Bautista of 2840 N. Neenah Ave., was charged with 10 counts of delivery, manufacture or possession of cocaine and one count of possession of a synthetic drug March 15, according to Cook County Circuit Court records. He was being held in Statesville prison in Crest Hill in lieu of $300,000 bond.

Franklin Park police arrested Bautista in the alley behind his house after a month-long investigation. He had one-quarter of an ounce of cocaine, 10 grams of marijuana, and tablets of K-2 (a synthetic drug) and Xanax on him, Franklin Park Police Chief Mike Witz said.

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Bautista was convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated battery in 2002 and two charges of possession of controlled substances in 2010.

He was paroled on the drug charges June 30.

NEWS: (Suburban) Broadview man killed in homicide, autopsy finds

Story at Chicago Tribune

Staff report
4:10 PM CDT, March 25, 2012

A Broadview  man who died Saturday morning was the victim of a homicide, authorities determined following an autopsy today.

Jeremy Wallace, 41, was declared dead on the scene in the 1200 block of West Roosevelt Road in Broadview at 9:11 a.m. Saturday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Wallace, of the 2200 block of South 13th Avenue in the west suburb, died from a subdural hematoma injury he suffered following blunt force trauma to the head in an assault and his death was ruled a homicide, the medical examiner’s office determined today.

The Broadview Police Department was not releasing information Sunday afternoon, but police said a news release might be issued later today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

NEWS: (National) San Francisco mayor suspends Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, seeks ouster over domestic violence case

Story at CBS News

(CBS/AP) SAN FRANCISCO - The mayor of San Francisco says he's suspending Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and intends to permanently remove him from office following Mirkarimi's domestic violence conviction.

Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday that Mirkarimi rejected his suggestion to resign after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge involving his wife. Lee said he will file official misconduct charges Wednesday and the matter will be referred to the city's Ethics Commission.

"He has chosen not to resign, and now I must act," Lee said. "Sheriff Mirkarimi's actions and confession of guilt clearly fall below the below the standards of decency and good faith rightly required of all public officials."

To remove Mirkarimi as sheriff, the mayor will need the votes of at least nine of the 11 members of the Board of Supervisors.

Earlier, a defiant Mirkarimi said he would fight to keep his job because he believes he has not committed any "official misconduct." The New Year's Eve dispute with his wife, Eliana Lopez, at their home in front of their toddler son left her with a bruise on her arm.

Mirkarimi was sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 8, just a week after the incident.

"I wanted to and have taken full responsibility," a sweat-drenched Mirkarimi told reporters outside his office in City Hall. "At this time, I do not plan to resign."

On Monday, a judge sentenced Mirkarimi to three years of probation and a year of counseling. Under the plea agreement, Mirkarimi must pay $590 in fines, serve probation, spend a year in a domestic violence intervention program, take parenting classes and do community service.

Mirkarimi said he hasn't spoken to his wife in nine weeks and is only allowed to visit his son for about two hours each day because of an order issued by a judge. A separate order also prohibits the sheriff from carrying a gun.

NEWS: (Chicago) Emanuel says community must join fight against gangs

--If the residents have no confidence in their civic leaders they are not going to go out and do anything.
They need to see police officers on the streets and that is just not happening in Chicago.
Increasing numbers in two districts does not solve the problems of 23 others.
Get the actual numbers of police officers back up to where they belong and show osme blue on the street for your residents.--
Duke

Story at Chicago Tribune

By John Byrne
Clout Street
2:51 PM CDT, March 23, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today called on residents to help police take back their neighborhoods in the wake of a spate of shootings around Chicago.

The mayor said the spike in violence -- including 49 shootings with 10 fatalities last weekend and the Monday shooting of Chicago police officer Del Pearson -- "tears at the city's fabric."

"This is not alone a law enforcement issue, although it needs -- law enforcement plays a major role," said Emanuel, making his first public comments about the violence since returning to Chicago from a spring break trip with his children.

He said he visited a church in the Chatham neighborhood Thursday evening near the scene of a recent shooting.

"As I said in the church last night, the first word in community policing is 'community.' I see the strength that happens inside a church, and I want that strength out in the neighborhood, in the community, working with the law enforcement community."

Emanuel said the Chicago Police Department is working on a "citywide ant-gang strategy" and he compared it the police crackdown against the Maniac Latin Disciples after the June shooting of two young girls in a Northwest Side park.

Responding to criticism that there aren't enough cops on the streets to prevent the violence, Emanuel pointed out he has moved more police officers into patrol jobs from administrative positions since taking office.

Asked why it took such a violent weekend before he called for a citywide gang crackdown, the mayor said he and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have actually been working on the initiative for some time.

"(McCarthy) is working through exactly what I've asked, and I talked to him before about it," Emanuel said during a news conference at Curie High School to announce an expansion of college prep programs in public schools. "They're working through a series of issues. I don't expect them to turn something around. I want more than 'we have an anti-gang unit.' I want a strategy that's comprehensive to the problem and the challenge that we face."

Earlier this week, McCarthy said the violent weekend reinforces that Chicago ranks with Los Angeles as the worst in the country with gang woes. He defended the department's anti-violence strategy but acknowledged that officers need to focus more on preventing retaliatory shootings.

McCarthy said beat patrol and gang officers are working on a “gang audit” in the Southwest Side’s Chicago Lawn District—-which saw at least 10 people shot last weekend--to map out where in the district the gang problem is most prevalent. That data will then be disseminated into beat cars, enabling a regular beat cop to know more about the gang problem in the areas they patrol.

Emanuel also added his name to the list of Democratic Party leaders calling for state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, to step down in the face of federal bribery charges that came a week before he won his party's nomination for a full term.

"It's an honor to serve the public, and I do not think -- while Mr. Smith won the primary -- that his name should be on the ballot in November, because I think he has already shown a violation of the code of conduct that comes with the honor of serving the public," Emanuel said.

Smith was charged March 13 with accepting a $7,000 cash bribe in return for supporting a bid for a state grant. He was snared in an undercover FBI sting that included an audio recording of Smith allegedly accepting the bribe.

He nonetheless won Tuesday's primary election handily over Tom Swiss, with the help of House Speaker Michael Madigan and others.

Emanuel was also asked about the city's denial of a parade permit for protesters who want to march to McCormick Place convention center on the first day of the NATO summit in Chicago.

The city approved the original request for a May 19 march through the Loop and down Michigan Avenue, timed for the first day of what was to be a G-8 meeting of world economic leaders. But when the G-8 was moved to Camp David, the protesters asked to hold the same march a day later to instead target the first day of the NATO May 20-21 summit.

In denying the group's request for the same route, the city Department of Transportation said "there are not available at the time of the parade a sufficient number of on-duty police officers, or other city employees authorized to regulate traffic, to police and protect lawful participants in the parade and nonparticipants."

Emanuel said the route would need to be changed. "When the application was originally accepted and the route was accepted, if you change the date, the route -- not the destination, the route -- needs to be changed," he said.

The mayor was asked whether the city has enough police to handle the event, and responded "we're going to make sure people have their First Amendment rights protected, and we're also going to make sure we can enforce the law. As I've said repeatedly, those two are not in conflict."

R.I.P.: Trooper Javier Arana, Jr.

ODMP

Trooper Javier Arana, Jr.
Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas
End of Watch: Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 32
Tour: 2 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 3/24/2012
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Trooper Javier Arana was killed in an automobile accident as he responded to assist a vehicle pursuit in El Paso at approximately 1:30 am.

During the response Trooper Arana's vehicle collided with a pickup truck near the intersection of Joe Battle Boulevard and Bob Hope Drive. Trooper Arana's patrol car burst into flames upon impact.

Trooper Arana had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for two years. He is survived by his wife and children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief Luis Gonzales
Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol
5805 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78752
Phone: (512) 424-2000

Comment moderation, activated

** Post held at top of Blotter until 03/24/12**

Sorry folks. From now on any comments will have to be approved before being posted.

I do not do this blog for the hundreds of comments my posts get ;-}
I do it to get important news and information out to those who may need it most.
I know the word is getting out there and I appreciate everyone who reads here.
However, there are one or two folks who seem to pop around and post idiotic and irrelevant comments that most times have absolutely nothing to do with the post subject.
I assure you, as long your comments are relevant to a conversation they will show up unedited (I don't have that ability anyways. I can only delete comments).

Friday, March 23, 2012

PENSION: (National) Scandals Spur Action on Pension Forfeitures

 Story at Governing

Posted By Dylan Scott
February 29, 2012

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who has been accused of molesting young boys, some while he was employed by the university, received nearly $150,000 when he retired in 1999 and continues to receive monthly payments adding up to a $58,898 annual pension, according to the (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News. Gary Schultz, former Penn State interim senior vice president of finance and business who has been accused of not reporting child sexual abuse as well as perjury, has received nearly $331,000 annually since retiring in 2009 and collected a lump sum of more than $420,000 upon his retirement, according to the Patriot-News.

But, in a strange twist, it is more certain that Schultz will lose his public pension than Sandusky if both are convicted of what they are accused of. Pennsylvania law stipulates particular crimes for which a public employee can lose his or her pension, which are listed by the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System. Perjury is one of them. The various crimes related to sexual abuse of which Sandusky is accused, more than 50, are not. Heather Tyler, a spokesperson for the retirement system, told Governing each case is reviewed after its completion to determine whether an employee's pension should be revoked, noting that the pension board has "no discretion in applying the law."

In the wake of the Sandusky scandal and amid the general push toward pension reform, Governing decided to take a look at pension forfeiture laws across the country. According to research by Governing staff, 23 states have some kind of pension forfeiture provision related to committed crimes, while 27 states plus the District of Columbia do not.

Some might find the idea repulsive: A public official alleged of committing or convicted of a crime could collect a pension check at the expense of taxpayers. California Gov. Jerry Brown is among them: as part of his pension reform package introduced this month, he has proposed revoking the pensions of public employees who are convicted of a felony related to their public duties, according to the Los Angeles Times, in part because of his anger over the Bell, Calif, corruption case. California already has a law addressing the pensions of elected public officials if they commit a felony.

The laws vary widely from state to state. Some require forfeiture for felonies; others open it to misdemeanors as well. In some, like Pennsylvania, specific crimes are listed for which a public employee can lose his or her pension. But in others, the state law stipulates more generally that pensions can be revoked for any crimes related to official duties. Most have statutes in the state code. South Dakota has administrative rules in place for its pension board.

Policies in some states, such as Idaho, Indiana and Colorado, allow only for public pensions to be used to pay for restitution in a criminal case, rather than outright revoked. For Governing's purposes, those laws were not considered full pension forfeiture policies, as an employee would continue to receive their pension outside what they are required to reimburse. Laws in a few states, including Texas and New Mexico, that cover only judicial officers were not counted, as they exclude the vast majority of public employees and officials. Statutes that revoke a pension only if a beneficiary causes the death or disability of a pension plan member, such as in Minnesota and Montana, were also not included.

'Headline Risk'

Despite the scrutiny that public pensions are under, neither Keith Brainard, research director for the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), nor Ron Snell, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), believes pension forfeitures would typically be part of broader pension reform. Instead, state policies are usually developed as reactions to high-profile scandals, such as the cases at Penn State and in California. The absence of a policy is largely a "headline risk," as Brainard calls it, rather than a "fiscal or actuary risk."

In Pennsylvania, state lawmakers are aiming to pass legislation that would add sex crimes against children to the list of crimes for which a pension can be revoked, the Philadelphia Daily News reported last November. Bills had been introduced this summer, the result of a Daily News report in July that former Philadelphia police officers convicted of child sexual abuse were still collecting city pensions, but gained renewed relevance after Sandusky's indictment on Nov. 4.

No bill has come to a vote, though. State Rep. Brendan Boyle, who introduced one of the bills, told Governing that he sent a letter to state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, chairman of the House State Government Committee, asking for a hearing on his legislation, but nothing has been scheduled as of Feb. 29. Boyle admits "there is a certain amount of inertia" for any bill. "Other things are competing for time on the agenda," Boyle said. With other issues such as redistricting occupying the legislature's time, he acknowledged that it has been difficult to galvanize interest and support for his bill.

As in Pennsylvania, other historical examples show that pension forfeiture legislation is often proposed in response to a headline-attracting controversy. Tennessee's pension forfeiture policy has undergone an evolution when state lawmakers encountered new circumstances that weren't covered in previous incarnations of the law. The first law, effective in 1982, was adopted in response to a scandal involving former Gov. Ray Blanton, who was convicted of selling liquor licenses, according to a 2006 article in The Tennessean. It revoked pensions for state officials who were convicted of a felony in a state court. A second law was passed in 1993 after former county circuit judge David Lanier was conviced of federal sexual harrassment charges, The Tennessean reported, adding federal crimes to the list of reasons for which a pension could be revoked.

After Operation Tennessee Waltz in 2005, in which seven state legislators, some longstanding politicans who took office before the 1982 law was instituted, were convicted on corruption charges, legislators approved yet another forfeiture law. It established that elected public officials, elected or re-elected in 2006 and after, consent to the state's pension forfeiture policies each time they are re-elected -- regardless of their original entry date into office.

One of the most high-profile corruption stings at the time -- Operation Boptrot -- led to the Kentucky Legislature to update its pension forfeiture laws, which had covered only hired employees since 1956. As the result of a federal investigation that concluded in 1993, 15 state legislators, along with lobbyists and public officials, were convicted of crimes such as bribery, extortion, fraud and racketeering, according to the New York Times. The state statute, effective in 1993, demanded forfeiture of pension benefits if a legislator or former legislator is convicted of a felony related to their official duties.

Connecticut lawmakers scrambled to find a way to prevent former Gov. John Rowland, convicted in 2004 of selling access to his office for personal gain, from receiving the $50,000 annual pension to which he was entitled when he turned 55, the Hartford Courant reported in April 2008. A new law was adopted in October 2008, requiring the state attorney general to request a court order to have the pension rescinded. However, it was too late to revoke Rowland's pension; Constitutional law is routinely interpreted to prohibit laws being applied retroactively, NCSL's Snell said.

But in the case of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, convicted on 18 counts of corruption last year, a statute was already in place to ensure he wouldn't receive any of the $65,000 annual pension he had earned as governor, the Associated Press reported. Tim Blair, executive secretary for the state retirement system, told Governing that Illinois's pension forfeiture policy went into effect on July 9, 1955, making it one of the oldest on record in a state that had endured several corruption scandals prior to the 1950's. But Blagojevich would be entitled, under state law, to the $129,000 that he paid into the state retirement system.

"If there's a high-profile case, and it looks like somebody who's committed a dastardly crime is now going to be supported in his or her old age at the expense of the taxpayer, people take a look at that," Snell said. "In the years that I've been looking at this, I can't spot any trend other than that."

'It's Not A Burning Issue'

Why do some states not have pension forfeiture laws? The reasons are difficult to pinpoint, and no conclusive research has been conducted. But situations in New York and Washington might provide some insight. Following a string of corruption scandals, the Seattle Times floated the possibility of a state pension forfeiture law in an extensive article on Washington's lack of a policy published in 1993. When asked about his organization's stance on the theorectical legislation, Mike Patrick, then-executive director of the Washington State Council of Police Officers, told the Times that his organization would fight such a policy. Legislation was proposed later in 1993, according to the Times, but didn't pass. As of 2012, Washington state still has no pension forfeiture policy.

In New York, pension forfeiture legislation was introduced annually from 1988 to 1992, Newsday reported in 1994, but never moved past the committee stage. "It's not a burning issue up here," an aide to then-state Sen. Caesar Trunzo, who repeatedly sponsored the proposals, told the newspaper. Police unions voiced firm opposition to the bills and lobbied against them, according to Newsday. "If I spend 18 or 19 years serving the public and commit one indiscretion, I shouldn't be penalized for a life's work," Kenneth Long, chairman for the legislative committee of the Metropolitan Police Conference of New York State, told the newspaper.

Current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo successfully passed a pension forfeiture law as part of an ethics reform package last year. It will target select public officials who commit felonies, but only new plan members will be affected by the law.

Generally speaking, public employee unions don't fret over pension forfeiture policies, Steven Kreisberg, director of collective bargaining at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), told Governing. Firstly, instances of pension forfeiture are exceedingly rare, Kreisberg said, and it hasn't been a focal point of reform. AFSCME does favor certain policies, though, Kreisberg added, particularly those that give the judicial system the discretion to decide whether or not a pension should be revoked -- as opposed to a policy with "blanket application." Arizona, for instance, gives courts leeway in how much of a pension is rescinded. Connecticut requires the state attorney general to request a court order that a pension be revoked following a conviction, leaving the decision ultimately to a judge.

'The Public's Right to Conscientious Service'
NASRA's Brainard told Governing that there is also an interesting philosophical question at play with pension forfeitures. Are pensions gifts from the states, which can be rightly revoked for criminal behavior? Or are they earned elements of an employee's compensation, which are not subject to be annulled for any reason? After all, most convicted criminals don't typically lose their property as part of their sentence, Brainard said. Should the families of those convicted "be punished... because of something they had no control over?" Snell asked rhetorically.

"Normally, an employer wouldn't and probably couldn't go claim back wages that were paid," Brainard explained, "and pension benefits are part of compensation just as much as wages."

The Illinois Supreme Court provided an answer of sorts in a ruling concerning the state's pension forfeiture law. In declaring that the state pension board had a right to revoke former Gov. Otto Kerner's pension after his conviction of several federal felonies that took place while he was in office, Justice Robert Underwood wrote in 1978 that the pension forfeiture statute was designed for the purpose of ensuring "the public's right to conscientious service from those in governmental positions."

As Pennsylvania continues to confront the same issue more than 30 years later, Rep. Boyle expressed a similar sentiment.

"In light of all the attention that public pensions have received and the tight financial situation that we're facing, it's incumbent on us to ensure that the most egregious offenders don't receive public pensions," he said.

State Pension Forfeiture Laws

Thursday, March 22, 2012

NEWS: (Stone Park) Hundreds Protest Plans to Put Strip Club Next to Convent in Stone Park

Story at My FOX Chicago



Updated: Thursday, 22 Mar 2012, 9:36 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 22 Mar 2012, 9:26 PM CDT
FOX Chicago News

Stone Park, Ill. - Dozens of people hit the streets in Stone Park on Thursday night to protest plans for a strip club next to a convent.

The club is set to open on Lake Street right next door to a convent.

The Village of Stone Park initially voted against the club two years ago, but they gave in to pressure from the developer's lawsuit.

An attorney representing the convent said the village has other options, and even offered to sue the strip club on the village's behalf for free.

NBC5 Video

video


WGN News video

video

NEWS: (Stone Park) Stone Park Police Department Sends Squad Cars for Repairs at Chief's Autobody Shop

--Sometimes when you do what I do, this happens.
A story comes along and your friend or friends are involved and you have to decide what to say or do.
Here is the story.--
Duke

Story at My FOX Chicago



FOX Chicago, BGA Investigation
Updated: Thursday, 22 Mar 2012, 9:16 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 22 Mar 2012, 9:16 PM CDT
By Dane Placko, FOX Chicago News, and the Better Government Association

Stone Park, Ill. - The Village of Stone Park sends its police squad cars for repairs at a shop owned by the police chief, and the mayor says there's nothing wrong with it.

"No comment. I told you that already," Police Chief Giuseppe Capece said.

The chief's wife is officially listed as the owner of Starcom Auto Body in Melrose Park, although Capece is listed as a "corporate officer" on a certificate hanging on the bodyshop wall. When we visited, we found his car parked outside.

Invoices obtained by FOX Chicago News and the Better Government Association show Starcom has billed the Village of Stone Park more than $59,000 for 72 separate repairs over the past four years, taxpayer money that's apparently being spent without any competitive bids.

"He saved the village a lot of money," said Mayor Ben Mazzulla. "It would have cost us a lot more than what we were paying. And every board member's aware of it. They all approved it. He helped the village, and he does a lot of stuff for no charge."

"It is definitely a conflict of interest," said Stone Park Police Officer Kevin Shirazi. Shirazi said his fellow officers are scared to speak out. "He's the chief, and he has the final say-so."

NEWS: (Chicago) Attorneys allege investigators falsified reports in death involving Daley nephew

--Yet, we vote for these people and allow them to hold such powerful offices so they can "arrange" facts however they need.
Wake up people.--
Duke

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Jason Meisner
Tribune reporter
5:01 AM CDT, March 22, 2012

Sworn witness interviews show Chicago police "deliberately falsified" reports during the investigation into the death of a young man during a drunken confrontation with a nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley's nearly eight years ago, attorneys asking for a special prosecutor argued Wednesday.

The 40-page court filing on behalf of the mother of David Koschman also alleged Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has opted to "circle the wagons" to block their bid for an independent investigation because of her political ties to Daley.

Attached to the filing in Cook County Circuit Court was a photo the lawyers said was taken from Alvarez's Facebook page showing her posing with Daley at the 2010 Mexican Independence Day parade. Another image of a newspaper clipping showed a young Alvarez grinning and shaking hands with Daley — then the Cook County state's attorney — on the day she was sworn in as a prosecutor in 1986.

Alvarez's decision to fight the appointment of a special prosecutor shows her "close ties to Richard Daley, who has a personal interest in the fate of his nephew, have compromised her ability to view the evidence with an open mind," according to the filing.

Koschman, 21, had been drinking in the Rush Street nightlife district early on April 25, 2004, when he argued with a group that included Daley's nephew, Richard "R.J." Vanecko. During the altercation, Koschman was punched or shoved, causing him to fall back and to hit his head on the street. He died 12 days later.

Four of Koschman's friends and two bystanders there that night were recently interviewed under oath in an investigation being conducted by the city inspector general's office. Prosecutors used portions of those interviews to argue last month that the witnesses were unreliable and had made conflicting statements to reporters for the Chicago Sun-Times, which has published an investigative series on Koschman's death.

But attorneys for Koschman's mother, Nanci, argued in Wednesday's filing the transcripts show police mischaracterized witnesses' statements to make it falsely appear that Koschman was the physical aggressor in the altercation and that Vanecko could not be positively identified as the person who struck him.

According to the quoted transcripts, Michael Connolly, a bystander not with either side, said statements by prosecutors that Koschman had initiated the physical confrontation were a "flat-out lie." He also said police reports from 2004 stating he had seen Koschman move physically toward Vanecko were incorrect.

"I never said that I saw David moving forward to strike anybody," Connolly was quoted in the transcript as saying under oath. "I never said that in any (police) statement."

One of Koschman's friends, Shaun Hageline, said he was clear in his statements to police that Vanecko and his group were the ones who were physically imposing and that Vanecko, who towered over Koschman, appeared drunk but that police omitted that information from their reports.

"The notion of Dave Koschman beating these guys up or punching them or winning any kind of fight was just preposterous," the filing quoted Hageline as saying.

Vanecko ran from the scene that night. It wasn't until nearly a month later that detectives had him come in to the station for a lineup, but none of the witnesses identified him as the assailant.

In their sworn statements, several of Koschman's friends recently revealed that detectives told them after the lineup that Vanecko had tearfully apologized for his actions and said he never meant for one punch to lead to someone's death.

Koschman friend James Copeland recalled a detective telling him Vanecko was "in the other room and he's bawling his eyes out, he's a big baby."

Attorneys for the Koschman family questioned why the revelation was never described in police reports or mentioned by Alvarez and went on to call it "disturbing" that the detail might have gone unknown if prosecutors hadn't been forced to turn over the transcripts.

Alvarez has denied any conspiracy to sweep the case under the rug.