Parks paycheck problem. BGA and FOX Chicago News investigate a paycheck mystery that raises questions about Chicago park district management for the third time in a month. And now, with Mayor Daley turning the lakefront fests over to the park district, it’s time for the district board to bring in an independent inspector general to protect taxpayers. BGA says do it asap.
Flying high. Trib transportation writer Jon Hilkevitch says an independent study of the DuPage Airport Authority finds a “remarkable story” about two airport officials, Dan Goodwin and David Bird, who took a poorly-run airport riddled with patronage, inside deals and corruption and “systematically developed a well-earned reputation as a reliable steward of public trust.” Kudos from BGA.
Dirty diesels. Don’t miss the Trib watchdog story about alarming pollution levels on some Metra trains—toxic diesel fumes imperil health of passengers.
Trash talk. Chicago News Coop’s local pages in the Sunday New York Times include an important story about the high cost of garbage collection in Chicago, where the inefficient ward-by-ward collection system, along with a union-mandate of three workers on a truck, make Chicago one of the most expensive trash tossing cities in the country. BGA says that has to change with a new mayor. (Next item offers guidance)
Privatization push. Chicago’s preeminent budget watchdog, the Civic Federation, looks at the looming budget crisis facing the city’s next mayor and calls for serious consideration of privatizing everything, including garbage collection, recycling and water management.
Wet your whistle. ABC News tells a great Sunday night story about a whistleblowing Capitol Hill police official who regains her job and beaucoup back pay a few years after she’s fired for outing her bosses publicly for shortchanging the security budget. BGA says the issue is debatable but don’t fire folks for speaking out.
Post-Pagano post. The Trib covers two new reports from private sector analysts that reveal the obvious: Metra’s board was asleep at the wheel while the agency’s late boss, Phil Pagano, treated the transit budget like his personal piggy bank. The state’s executive IG is now watching the rail yards so maybe the taxpayers won’t be railroaded again.
Copyright controversy. Also in the Trib, a story about a copyright/privacy/transparency battle in Evanston over the posting of a YouTube video shot by an Evanston resident at an Evanston school board meeting. This is an important transparency issue that needs a clear resolution.
Betty’s boil. Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown pays tribute to recently deceased David Boyle, who waged a lifelong battle with Betty Loren-Maltese and the other forces of darkness in Capone’s old stomping ground, corrupt Cicero. Dave, a frequent source in my TV news days, will indeed be missed. RIP old buddy.