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Jul 23, 2018

Board meetings not transparencies enough

21 comments

I have been to almost every board meeting... they never share the reports that was distributed to board members... I rarely see any debates or concerns being discussed... the village claims that their meeting are open to the public but they do not share anything... the information can be released upon Freedom of Information Act.... these behaviors indicates that the village doesnt want to discuss in open meeting and took action votes without seeing the discussions or debates... that’s definitely concerns on how they are running their business behind the scenes ... if the village claims that they have nothing to hide, then share the reports and let the discusdions and debates taken place in meetings... we spent lots of money to board members, mayor, employees, and lawyer for less than half hour for each meetings... is this real transparencies? I dont think so!!!!

Jul 25, 2018Edited: Aug 21

 

Why is the Village Board having discussions regarding Public Business without doing it in the public during an Open Meeting required by law? They approved accepting a bid for a play system for the new Village Park, but they never held discussions regarding the play system during an Open Meeting and there was never a discussion of it going out for bids in an Open Meeting.

NOTE: At no time during this meeting was the amount of the bid ever mentioned.

 

 

 

August 20, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contracts: Online transparency recommendation https://www.illinoispolicy.org/10-point-transparency-checklist/

  • Current requests for proposals and bidding opportunities, more than $25,000 in value

  • Instructions on how to submit a bid or proposal

  • Approved vendor contracts, more than $25,000 in value

  • Individual employee contracts

  • Collective bargaining contracts (There were on the village website at one time)

Rationale

Every local government agency should want to attract as many high-qualified bidders as possible when they submit a request for proposal out to the public. Posting this information online expands the marketplace for local governments to find the most qualified business at the best price.

 

Contracts with third parties are often an area where local taxpayers fall victim to corruption and malfeasance. Third-party contracts should be available to public watchdogs to discourage and expose insider dealings. When details about contracts are posted online the public can find out important details, such as if the contract went to the family and friends of elected or administrative officials or did not go out for bid. Posting previous contracts gives competitors the information to better bid on future contracts, thus increasing the marketplace of qualified bidders and potentially lowering costs for taxpayers.

 

It is also important to post individual employee contracts, such as a county administrator, and collective bargaining agreements online. Labor costs are often the biggest cost area for local governments. The terms of these costs are outlined in labor agreements. The Institute has separately recommend to post proposed collective bargaining contracts online for at least 14 days, allowing citizens to examine and comment on them in a public hearing prior to a vote.

 

NOTE: At no time during this meeting was the amount of the bid ever mentioned.

 

  • Why will the Mayor and Village Trustees not answer questions by the public?

  • Why are totals not stated during the meetings when approving bills payable?

  • Why are amounts of contracts, agreements or other items not always stated when being approved?

  • Why isn't copies of the Treasurer's reports available to the public at the meetings and why does the public have to file a FOIA request to see them?

  • Why aren't the Treasurer's reports on the Village website with the budgets and audits?

Sep 21, 2018Edited: Dec 1, 2018

WHEN YOU LEARN MORE FROM THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER THAN YOU DO FROM READING THE MEETING MINUTES THAT'S PRETTY BAD! TAX DOLLARS SPENT NEED TO BE STATED DURING MEETINGS AND PUBLISHED IN THE MINUTES! PRIME EXAMPLE ABOVE!!

 

MONTHLY AND ANNUAL TREASURER'S REPORTS SHOULD BE POSTED ON THE VILLAGE WEBSITE, THEN THE FOIA OFFICER WOULD HAVE LESS FOIA REQUEST TO RESPOND TO.

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/10-point-transparency-checklist/

Public meetings

Online transparency recommendation

 

Sherman Taxpayers can see the agendas and meeting minutes, but not the board packets!

https://www.shermanil.org/Government/village-board-meetings/village-board-agendas-_-minutes/

 

Citizens should have the knowledge of when an elected body meets and what issues they will be voting on so they can be informed and engaged in the democratic process. Meetings are one of the few ways the public can engage in true dialogue (something the Sherman Village Board doesn't allow) with their elected representatives. Failing to provide adequate materials to citizens and the media in advance hinders public participation in democratic institutions, and the participation that does happen is made on a less-educated basis.

 

Given the reality of citizen’s busy schedules, governments should also offer an alternative to attending to be informed about public meetings by posting agendas, board packets and meeting minutes on their website.

 

  • Five years of individual third-party searchable expenditures via bill list or check register

  • Five years of searchable third-party annual expenditures, total expenditures to each vendor for year

https://www.shermanforum.com/main-forum-page/city-spending-taxes/2007-2018-where-your-tax-dollars-went

Having access to a check register or bill list provides timely and pertinent information about government operations to the citizens and taxpayers. Often such bill lists are voted upon by elected officials and citizens should have access to the same information as its leaders. Having expenditure information online deters waste and abuse by government employees, and increases the chances of rectifying problems once they occur.

 

  • Five years of searchable individual employee wage compensation (all W-2 wage earnings salary, bonuses, overtime)

  • Five years of searchable individual employee benefit compensation (health, dental and life insurance; retirement payments; etc.)

 

Employee compensation is usually the biggest cost area for most counties and local governments. Government employees work for and are paid by the taxpayers. Citizens have a right to know how their money is being spent.

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/10-point-transparency-checklist/

 

Below obtained via FOIA request.

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 25, 2018Edited: Mar 5

The May 30, 2017 Zoning Board Public Hearing minutes were finally approved November 12, 2018. See below!

 

Why isn't the meeting minutes of the May 30, 2017 Public Hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals involving the Carter family's request not approved or available to the public? It appears that the Public Hearing minutes are being withheld from the public eye. At least two FOIA request have been filed with the Village for these meeting minutes and been denied as not approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The OMA states. (b) A public body shall approve the minutes of its open meeting within 30 days after that meeting or at the public body's second subsequent regular meeting,whichever is later. The minutes of meetings open to the public shall be available for public inspection within 10 days after the approval of such minutes by the public body.

 

MAYOR CLATFELTER USED THE LACK OF A SECOND SUBSEQUENT REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS AS AN EXCUSE FOR THE MAY 30, 2017 PUBLIC HEARING MINUTES NOT BEING APPROVED.

 

The IL Attorney General didn't take action simply because the complaint was not filed within 60 days of discovering the minutes had not yet been approved. However, the IL Attorney General stated: This office does, however, encourage the Board to review its method of approving meeting minutes to ensure compliance with the requirement of section 2.06(b) of the OMA.

 

October 6, 2018 the MAY 30, 2017 Public Hearing Meeting Minutes are still not approved or available to the public!

 

WHAT IS THE VILLAGE OF SHERMAN TRYING TO HIDE???

THE MAY 30, 2017 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS "PUBLIC HEARING"REGARDING THE REQUEST FROM ED CARTER TO GRAZE HIS CATTLE NOT CLOSED MEETING, "PUBLIC HEARING" MINUTES HAVE STILL NOT BEEN APPROVED BECAUSE THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS HAS NOT MET SINCE MAY 30, 2017 TO APPROVE THEM!!

 

WHY, SHOULDN'T THIS BE PART OF GENERAL MEETING HOUSEKEEPING. SHOULDN'T THEY MEET AGAIN SOON AFTER TO AT LEAST APPROVE THE MEETING MINUTES RATHER THAN WAITING OVER A YEAR TO MEET AGAIN TO APPROVE THEM.

 

THE VILLAGE IS NOT ONLY REFUSING TO RELEASE THE MEETING MINUTES BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T BEEN APPROVED BY THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, THEY ARE REFUSING TO RELEASE THE AUDIO RECORDING OF THE "PUBLIC HEARING" AS WELL!!

 

ON JULY 23, 2018 The IL Attorney General stated: This office does, however, encourage the Board to review its method of approving meeting minutes to ensure compliance with the requirement of section 2.06(b) of the OMA.

 

From: Michael Stratton

Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 5:26 PM

Subject: FOIA RESPONSE 18-065

We have reviewed your request for audio recording.  We were unable to locate the audio recording you referenced.  Minutes and/or any audio recordings to the meeting you request will remain closed from public inspection until such time as the Zoning Board meets again on a zoning matter thereby approving the minutes from the prior meeting, in accordance with FOIA and OMA and as noted in the decision by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office PAC Officer review of July 23, 2018.

Thank you. 

Michael Stratton, Village Administrator Village of Sherman Administrative

Offices 401 St. John’s Drive Sherman, IL. 62684

 

2018-08-22 IL State Senator Bill Brady's Office contacted the Village to ask why the May 30, 2017 Public Hearing Zoning Board of Appeals minutes were still not approved and available to the public. They were told because the Zoning Board of Appeals had not met since that time to approve them. Senator Brady's Office asked when the Zoning Board of Appeals would be meeting again to approve those minutes and their office was told within the next 60 days (October 22, 2018). Senator Brady's Office stated they will be following up on this.

 

So when will the Zoning Board meet again??

 

What do you think? Do you think the intent of the law is to allow a public body to stall having a “second subsequent regular meeting” to approve the minute of their last meeting withholding them from the public until they see fit?

 

Watch the "public comment portion" (37:00) minutes into the August 21, 2018 regular meeting of the Sherman Village Board on YouTube at Sherman IL411.

 

Will the May 30, 2017 Public Hearing meeting minutes of the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding Mr. Ed Carter's request to graze his cattle on the 12.22 acres north of his 40.9 acres be approved at the upcoming November 12, 2018 Public Hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals?

https://www.shermanil.org/News/15/2018-Village-Event-Calendar/news-detail/ LET'S HOPE SO!!!

 

Hear the public comments and to see how Mayor Clatfelter responded to Mrs. Walden's questions regarding the meeting minutes of the May 30, 2017 Public Hearing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: Michael Stratton

Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2018 5:38 PM

Subject: Re: FOIA Request May 30, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals Audio Recording

 

We have searched the records both physical and digital and are unable to locate any audio recording of the May 30, 2017 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. In conversation with the recording clerk of the meeting, he could not recall whether the meeting was being recorded or not and is unaware of where it would be located if recorded.

Thank you.

Michael Stratton, FOIA Officer

Village of Sherman Administrative Offices

401 St. John’s Drive

Sherman, IL. 62684

Jul 25, 2018Edited: Sep 18, 2018

Everything under the "President's Report" on the Village meeting agenda is an "Action Items" NOT "Informational Items". Which means the public/taxpayers have never heard the Village Board discuss the item during a "Open Session" meeting before it's voted on. Therefore, the public/taxpayers never have an opportunity to question the actions of their Village Board until it's too late and things are already acted on. The "President's Report" should list "Informational Items" to be discussed in "Open Session" at least at one meeting before it's acted on in another meeting. Things should SELDOM be heard by the public for the first time in “Open Session” and acted on in the very same meeting!! Read Article 11-A "The Order of a Business Meeting in Robert's Rules of Order. http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/roberts_rules/chap2.html

Jul 25, 2018

Exactly ... I wonder why are they making so difficult for the public to access the information!!!

Jul 31, 2018

 

The Mayor needs to read this Public Comment Policy because it clearly states the person speaking does not have to state out loud their address.

Sep 6, 2018

When this Public Comment Policy was approved the Village Board would not allow the public to view the policy prior to it being approved. WHY???? Shouldn't the Public have had an opportunity to address the proposed policy before it's approved?

Jan 20Edited: Jan 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 24Edited: Feb 24
  • Why are taxpayer questions not answered at public meetings?

  • Why is it that the Mayor or Village Board members will not reply to taxpayer questions via email?

  • Why is it that a taxpayer can not get on the Village Agenda unless they are speaking on behalf of a Civic Organization?

  • Why is it that taxpayers are limited to 3 minutes during the Public Comment period of a meeting when there may only be one or two people who signed up to speak?

  • Why will Mayor Clatfelter never consent to a public debate?

The only information the taxpayers or public gets it the information the Mayor wants them to get!!

 

He’s ready to answer any questions???? He has not answer many questions for months, perhaps years... he loves to hearing from us in Sherman ??? he has heard plenty from the public — the real question is ... is he really listening? Is he really caring and responsive? his actions speaks louder than his own words...

@bosoxpats4 I wish more taxpayers would take notice of these things. However, the majority are to busy with their day to day lives to attend meetings, watch the videos or even notice. They just believe what they read in the newsletters and never investigate things beyond that. How can taxpayers hold their elected officials accountable if they never get involved and believe everything they say.

@Sherman IL411 very true. The only time taxpayers will pay attention if it has impacted on them. By the time, it may be too late ... who knows?!?

Feb 25Edited: Mar 8

Why was the Bond Series 2011 payment in the amount of $325,196 principal and interest not made in fiscal year 2017 and 2018 as of April 30, 2018? This was noted on page 30 of the FY2018 audit. See below.

To view other details of the FY2018 audit and see what the $5,623,604 million debt consist of visit:

https://www.shermanforum.com/main-forum-page/city-spending-taxes/how-much-debt-does-the-village-have-5-623-604-per-2018-audit-down-747-992-from-2017

 

 

During the March 5, 2019 Village Board meeting, Mayor Clatfelter and Trustee Schultz basically said the Rt 66 TIF has not been successful and there are insufficient property tax revenues to make the bond payment; therefore, the Village has no obligation to pay the bonds without sufficient property tax revenues, so UCB Bank who holds the bonds is the loser. WOW who wants to invest in Sherman now!!

 

Trustee Schultz stated, I tried to get that language not included in the audit, because the Village is not obligated to pay those bonds back. The Village’s only obligation is to collect the incremental real estate property taxes from that specific project. If that project generates sufficient incremental taxes, then the Village is obligated to collect it and pay the bond holder per the agreement. If the taxes are insufficient then there is no obligation of the Village. Trustee Schultz also stated the wording is misleading because there were not sufficient incremental taxes to pay the bond.

 

Village Treasurer, Jeremy Stuenkel, CPA stated: "To reiterate from last night’s proceedings, the Village pledged certain revenues (for these particular revenue bonds the Village pledged incremental property taxes and certain sales taxes, the sales tax portion expired in 2016, collected within the boundaries of the Route 66 TIF) to the punctual payment of the interest and principal on the bonds.  During FY2017 and FY2018 (and FY2019 for that matter), the property tax revenues received from the Route 66 TIF district were not sufficient to pay the full amount of the principal and interest payments that were due.  Therefore, the Village did not strictly comply with the bond payment schedule that was outlined in the bond agreement as the full principal and interest payments were not made.   However, the Village did comply with the bond requirement to remit the pledged funds that were collected during the fiscal year.  The Village is not required under the bond agreement to pay any funds other than those revenues that were pledged to the payment of the bonds.

 

At the end of FY2018 the Village had approximately $2.3 million in principal outstanding, approximately $0.5 million on the TIF payable to the developer, as well as accrued interest all related to the TIF Revenue bonds.  All of this debt is recorded as outstanding debt on the Village’s financial statements.  It is important to understand that if the Village never collects another cent in property tax revenues from within the Route 66 TIF district, the Village would not be responsible for paying off one penny on the aforementioned debt.  The bank would be responsible for collecting any unpaid amounts from the developer, and if unable to do so, the bank would most likely write off the bond."

 

The December 31, 2017 Treasurer’s report, indicates the Rt 66 TIF had an ending balance of $519,754.31. This was prior to the end of FY2018 which is April 30, 2018.

 

 

Patriot1210
Feb 25

This is outrageous! Unacceptable and unaccountable!

Feb 25Edited: Feb 25

@Patriot1210 I agree, this is something the State of IL does all the time. Will the taxpayers get any answers as to why this happened?

Patriot1210
Feb 25

@Sherman IL411 No they wont!

 

A village of 5,000 people has a debt balance of close to 6,000,000.

 

It is deliberately derelict. I hope Mrs. Shaw wins the election. We will need her business acumen to help dig us out of mountain of debt.

The Village bills and treasurer's reports are now posted on the Village website following each meeting. This is new as of January 2019, there were never posted to the Village website prior to that.

 

However, the monthly payroll is not getting posted to the Village website until the following month. Therefore, January 2019 payroll was posted to the Village website following the February 12, 2019 meeting and the February payroll should be posted to the Village website following the March 5, 2019 meeting, as it has not been posted as of today, March 5, 2019.

https://www.shermanil.org/Government/village-administration/warrants-and-treasurer-reports/

Jun 17Edited: Jun 17

The new Village Fiscal Year began 5/1/2019 and ends 4/30/2020. However, the April 2019 and May 2019 Treasurer's reports have still not yet been presented or approved. How can the Village operate when they don't have a clear picture of the end of one Fiscal Year and the beginning of another?

 

The new FY 2020 budget has NOT been discussed in open meeting, and the June 18, 2019 Village Board meeting has been CANCELED due to a light schedule. "The regular scheduled Village Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 18, 2019 has been canceled due to a light schedule." Just because they have a light schedule for the regular meeting, June 18th doesn't mean our elected officials couldn't hold a budget meeting to have open discussion regarding the new FY budget.

 

During the June 4, 2019 Village Board meeting (item #6 14:25 minutes into the video to 16:35) it was discussed that a budget hearing date needed to be set regarding the FY2020 budget.

 

State law requires the new FY budget be approved and filed by July 30, 2019. The new FY budget must be posted in the paper and available for public inspection by June 21, 2019 and a notice of a hearing by July 2, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. prior to the regular meeting. The July 2, 2019 Budget Hearing is not yet posted to the Village Calendar. https://www.shermanil.org/News/15/2019-Village-Event-Calendar/news-detail/

 

They don't want to have an open discussion regarding the Village budget!!!

 

New Posts
  • So what else is new? The AT&T service has sucked in Sherman for a long time and they recently raised their cell phone rates!!!
  • Patriot1210
    Nov 1

    I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the Mayor and the board for publicly clarifying the misunderstanding about TIF funds and the financial obligations of Sherman. I hope they take notice what happens when they allow a back and forth discussion with a constituent that has questions in a public forum. It amuses me to watch it unfold as both sides battle it out on social media (not excluding me). What is all the rage about? Why would there be any passionate opposition if things are above board and going so well? I'd hope we could all agree that we have nice amenities in Sherman. Is the park worth 4,000,000 to you and to your family? Were the comments by any of the incumbents surrounding the park accurate? Does the park generate money? No reasonable person could say that the park generates money. I will agree that doesnt necessarily mean that the park has no value. Just please stop saying that it generates revenue. It matters that things are openly discussed in a public forum. It matters that a deaf man is cut off from speaking on an issue, even if the Mayor doesn't share that persons views. Not one board member present at that meeting asked to extend his time to communicate. It matters that the last police Chief was ran out of here over a time card issue but the Mayor doesnt keep one. It matters that a Sherman resident and Sherman employee were wrongfully accused over Teen Court records. It seems that the mere accusation of wrong doing works here in Sherman. I assume that the 3 minute time cap on open public debate between the board and its constituents was due to Michael O'Hare arguing with the Mayor. It doesnt justify the 3 minute time cap for public comment with no public dialogue with your constituents. It matters that anyone wishing to speak to the board would be encouraged to do so publicly. The standard practice is to start the 3 minute time clock, ignore the residents emails, tell the resident to speak off camera after the meeting, or make a blanket statement that you can call by phone anytime to discuss the issue. Let's not forget how any political challengers were treated earlier this year. We cannot ignore it nor should we. I am sure that no matter the side of the political landscape we land on, we all want Sherman to succeed. We may disagree on which candidate will achieve that goal. No matter who is the Village President it matters how you treat people. It matters what you say. If you look at our current Mayor a little more closely it becomes clear that he feels that he is beyond reproach. So I appreciate the multiple posts on Facebook of the one meeting that supports their positive narrative of a very arrogant administration. Are you really asking voters to ignore the other videos that paint a very different picture? Are those posts of support intended to encourage us all to forget the pattern of how anyone who shares different views are treated by this Village President publicly? I cant imagine how he behaves in private. Vote your conscience but stop with the see I told you so defense that this one meeting has provided you.
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