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Report: Serious internal strife at IML

Friday, Dec 7, 2012

* The Daily Herald reported this week about some major turmoil within the Illinois Municipal League. Fascinating stuff

Several board members — mainly from the suburbs — are questioning hiring practices, construction projects and financial management of the Springfield-based agency, according to letters and documents obtained by the Daily Herald between League officials and board members of the agency.

“The two biggest issues are the upper level management and personnel issues,” said Woodridge Mayor Bill Murphy, a past president of the League’s board and current member of its executive committee. “Those can be resolved with the timely resignation of Executive Director Larry Frang, who should be allowed to retire with dignity sometime in 2013. Earlier, than later.” […]

In February, a motion to fire Deputy Director Roger Huebner from his $192,474-a-year post was rejected 7-5 by the board’s executive committee.

That vote came on the heels of Huebner’s daughter being hired to a $32,500-a-year post as the League’s media relations specialist, a position that didn’t exist before her hiring. […]

The opposition mayors also expressed concern about more than $720,000 in renovations to the League’s offices in Springfield over the past six years that were not put up for bid.

* And you almost never see public comments like this from another municipal group

“We’re in the camp of concern,” said Mark Fowler, executive director at the Northwest Municipal Conference that represents more than 40 suburbs in Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. “It’s imperative for all organizations like ours to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars and that’s the bottom line. I think there are significant questions that some board members have that need to be answered by the organization.”

Go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - Fight for Danville - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    Isn’t Scott Eisenhauer President? I wonder what role he has in the problems?


  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:08 am:

    Fight, Eisenhauer just started his term over there.


  3. - langhorne - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:21 am:

    i got to know steve sargent, ken alderson, and larry frang in the early 80s, when i was starting my career in state government. they were good people to work with and always behaved honorably, as far as i could tell. i am sorry to see the leagues dirty laundry being aired in public. however, attitudes and circumstances have changed over the hundred years of the leagues existence. so aside from their internal issues, it might be time to revisit whether it is appropriate for employees of such groups to participate in public pensions.


  4. - Judgment Day - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:23 am:

    It’s interesting…

    I’ve been to a number of NWMC (NorthWest Municipal Conference) and WCMC (West Cook Municipal Conference) meetings, and IML isn’t their main point of focus. In fact, they really don’t get too much play.

    IML really needs to shore up their flanks, and do it in a hurry.


  5. - Doc Holliday - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:29 am:

    This is more than serious internal strife. Half of the IML’s $2.5 million budget is funded by taxpayer dues yet they are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act or the Open Meetings Act. However, they advocate for more and more exemptions to both laws every year.

    If the IML and other similarly structured organizations supported by taxpayer funds (in whole or in part) were subject to FOIA and the OMA, these problems would be far less likely to occur.


  6. - siriusly - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 11:32 am:

    IML is supposed to advocate for municipal priorities in Springfield. NWMC and DuPage M&M seem to be doing a much stronger job of it.

    I think IML needs to re-focus. Whether that means firing this guy or not, I don’t know. But I do know that IML is not delivering in the capitol for their members how they should be.


  7. - Shemp - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    IML’s influence has always appeared underwhelming to me. I hope I am wrong, but for all the horrible rules imposed on cities, I am not seeing much for effectiveness.

    Having attended IML events though, it’s little wonder as it seems largely comprised of people interested in being in a position of influence rather than actually influencing.

    That said, there are some good staffers there and they do watch out for the bad legislation. I guess I am left to wonder if IML is ineffectual because of their work or because the GA is going to do whatever they want anyway.


  8. - Illanoyed - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 12:20 pm:

    The IML seems to do a pretty good job of looking out for their members in the legislature. So far they’ve kept city money off the chopping block while other groups and interests have been hit pretty hard. That’s no small feat these days.


  9. - Anon - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 12:52 pm:

    When I saw the headline, I thought “IML” ws referring to “International Mr Leather”. But I guess not …


  10. - Judgment Day - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    “The IML seems to do a pretty good job of looking out for their members in the legislature. So far they’ve kept city money off the chopping block while other groups and interests have been hit pretty hard. That’s no small feat these days.”

    There’s a lot of people out there who felt that IML didn’t do a good job of handling the entire issue.

    A while back when the trial balloon was floated to divert Corporate Personal Property Tax funds from municipalities to school pension funding, that ended up as an ongoing issue within the municipalities about IML’s effectiveness.

    Just sayin….


  11. - Illanoyed - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 1:59 pm:

    “A while back when the trial balloon was floated to divert Corporate Personal Property Tax funds from municipalities to school pension funding, that ended up as an ongoing issue within the municipalities about IML’s effectiveness.”

    That makes absolutely no sense at all. So you’re suggesting that the IML is considered ineffective because a proposal that the IML opposed didn’t pass the legislature? Huh? And, by the way, that proposal would have taken money from schools and other units of government. Were those organizations also ineffective because a proposal they opposed didn’t pass?


  12. - phocion - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    Like other state-wide associations that are housed in Springfield, the IML may have forgotten about their membership in the Chicagoland region. Interest groups can get dangerously complacent by hanging around in Springfield too much. Looks like the suburbs are doing what they have to do to get HQ’s attention.


  13. - Casual observer - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 2:32 pm:

    I remember the days when all you had to say was “the League” supports or opposes and that was it. They did it by getting mayors to press their legislators. Larry Frang is a brilliant numbers guy. I’m not sure he can handle day to day operations along with a divisive board.


  14. - Just saying... - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 3:07 pm:

    Casual, I agree. Larry is a very smart guy. But he seems to have let the deputy director Roger Huebner get by with making decisions using very poor judgment on numerous fronts.

    There have been whisperings about these internal IML issues for quite some time now, maybe now that the issue has gone public there will be some resolve.


  15. - Judgment Day - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 3:17 pm:

    “…IML is considered ineffective because a proposal that the IML opposed didn’t pass the legislature?”

    A number of suburban mayors and others felt IML got blindsided on the issue, and that if the IML was really on top of the legislative issues, they would have heard rumblings of what was going to be put out there.


  16. - Umm - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 3:59 pm:

    Many of these poor decisions were made when Ray Muniz was at the helm as president. He’ll boast about his travel all over the state to anyone who will listen, and the only impression he left was that he was drinking the Huebner Kool-aid.

    Eisenhauer isnt responsible for this mess. Having said that, we will see if he takes the initiative to sort things out and improve the reputation of the League during his term of presidency. Good luck with that one, Scott!


  17. - Casual observer - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 4:03 pm:

    Back in the day legislation wasn’t considered, let alone introduced without 1st being vetted by the League. The fact that they were blind sided lies solely with Huebner. That’s his job.


  18. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 4:20 pm:

    “A number of suburban mayors and others felt IML got blindsided on the issue, and that if the IML was really on top of the legislative issues, they would have heard rumblings of what was going to be put out there.”

    Bills are frequently introduced without affected parties knowing that they would be introduced in advance. This is a normal function of the legislative process and why there are public notice requirements. Are the schools and other groups that represent city governments around the state to blame for being “blindsided” by the bill being introduced? And why does it matter anyway if the bill didn’t pass?


  19. - amalia - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 5:15 pm:

    so who is in the corner of the two top guys?


  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 7, 12 @ 9:58 pm:

    “Executive Director Larry Frang…should be allowed to retire with dignity sometime in 2013. Earlier, than later.”

    LOL


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