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Today’s must-read: The ALPLM back-story and accompanying documents

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014

* Bruce Rushton has a very long and informative piece on the blowup over the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Go read the whole thing

Steven Beckett pleads naive.

When he drew up a bill to divorce the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the University of Illinois law professor who chairs an ALPLM advisory board says he had no idea that he was an architect of uproar. The bill would give Beckett’s advisory panel control of the institution, including the power to hire and fire the executive director, who now serves at the pleasure of the governor.

It wasn’t a power grab, Beckett insists.

Both Beckett and members of his advisory board say the current governance structure makes no sense, and the result has been battles between boards and bureaucrats. While boards bicker, the directors of the IHPA and ALPLM have been fighting over who has the power to run the institution.

With power at stake and House Speaker Michael Madigan front and center, it’s not surprising that cynics would say that this is just another politics-as-usual gambit. Naysayers have pointed out that the speaker, who has sponsored Beckett’s bill, is a friend of ALPLM director Eileen Mackevich, who is a frequent companion of Stanley Balzekas, Jr., who owns the Chicago building where the speaker has an office.

“Half of me goes, ‘Boy, that was stupid, Beckett – you should have anticipated that this will become all about the speaker and Illinois politics,’” Beckett said shortly after the legislative session ended with his plan stalled in the Senate. “ ‘Now this idea that you had is in this big murk. It advanced nothing.’”

On the other hand, the future of Springfield’s biggest tourist draw is now on the radar screen of most everyone who matters in the General Assembly, which Beckett points out isn’t necessarily a bad thing. His plan landed, or crashed, just one week before adjournment, a seemingly out-of-nowhere bill sponsored by Madigan, a man accustomed to getting his way. Except this time he didn’t. And the bill wasn’t out of nowhere.

Again, go read the whole thing.

And if that’s not enough reading, the FOIA’d documents used in the article are here and here so you can do your own sleuthing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 9:40 am:

    Great work by Rushton.

    This needs a thorough airing, and MJM shouldn’t have tried to rush a bill through.

    But, to me, it’s clear that IHPA is in way over its head. And I would take the governor’s office — any governor’s office — out of the equation completely.

    A separate governing and operating agency, perhaps affiliated with a university as Cullerton suggested, seems to be the way to go for this unique and important institution.

  2. - State Worker - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    Couldn’t disagree with Wordslinger more. If anything, this story reads as IHPA board having to continually rein in the presidential library and their advisory board members from wanting to spend money they don’t have, and exercise autonomy as if state government laws and rules don’t exist.

    It comes across looking like a good fight, but only one cohort is acting like they live in the real world, and it isn’t the library folks

  3. - Dan - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    Interesting and informative. Wasn’t the governance issue, including who would run the Lincoln Library, a source of controversy during the Ryan administration?

  4. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    After looking at the FOIA documents it sounds to me like there are too many hands in the cooking jar and that it is an incredibly inefficient operation. It would seem like a good idea to have the ALPLM be a self governing body to cure this. Too many people think they are in charge (or should be in charge). Make it into clearly defined organizational structure and let the ALPLM do it’s thing.

  5. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:06 am:

    “cookie” jar.

  6. - cover - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    = Wasn’t the governance issue, including who would run the Lincoln Library, a source of controversy during the Ryan administration? =

    Absolutely. At that time, the concept of putting the ALPLM under the auspices of the university system (UIS, I believe) was seen by some as a way for Gov. Ryan’s chief of staff Bob Newtson to be appointed to the Director’s position and gain tenure, so that he couldn’t be fired by the next administration. That ultimately did not happen, of course. Would Madigan’s proposal offer the same sort of avenue for a political appointee to become untouchable?

  7. - Lefty Lefty - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    As a board member of a small museum, it’s clear to me that the AAM’s input and an autonomous board are crucial. A lack of clear authority is a waste of money, time, and staff resources.

    There’s almost 1,000 people a day going to the museum and seeing dated displays and a lack of professionalism. There’s also apparently a foundation ready to generate revenue and an endowment. But then decisions aren’t made and the can gets kicked down the road.

    If you’re worried about your tax money and it being political, it’s clear that the IHPA should be taken out of the picture.

  8. - phocion - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    If the Lincoln Library folks felt put upon by the State’s unduly burdensome procurement and hiring rules, the Speaker should be leading the charge to change those rules rather than carving out exceptions for favored agencies.

  9. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    =to change those rules rather than carving out exceptions for favored agencies.=

    Since November 1980 all hiring in the Governor’s agencies has, generally, required approval of the Governor’s budget and / or patronage offices. And overriding reasons may prevent hiring of qualified individuals for full funded positions (such as Filan not allowing 100% federally funded positions to be filled in Blago’s first term due to unfunded pension liability issues). That’s not hiring rules, that is the policy of an elected official.

  10. - Sunshine - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Setting up a new agency will be very difficult, as such relates to “qualified” personnel, especially where you have need of excellent historians. You have Rutan, Veterans Preferences, and the union with which to contend.

    It’s not to say that these are necessarily bad things; but they can and do stand in the way of getting “qualified” personnel to operate the ALPLM either as an autonomous agency or as a part of IHPA.

    Invest more in IHPA and build upon that foundation with clear rules of management, fewer boards, and more qualified personnel.

  11. - Langhorne - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    this is an embarrassing mess. this is the kind of situation where one of those deputy governors with responsibility for this area needed to step in and settle the squabble. or at least put a lid on it til a bill passed. this has gone on too long.

    the beckett bill was a bush league attempt at a takeover, even if it did have MJM support. tho he passed the bill. he is usually much better at building support, even if done secretly.

    the library and museum need to be separate, with a knowledgeable authoritative board to oversee mission, staff, priorities, budget, acquisitions, fundraising–the whole thing.

    ihpa, like dnr, has been slowly strangling due to budget cuts. the museum is a major state asset. it shouldnt have to compete w kickapoo state park, or other historic sites, for resources. esp on a voucher by voucher, item by item, basis.

    set up a coherent governing board. if they need to borrow expertise, then MAYBE have an advisory board of library and museum experts, reporting to the new board, to help with planning and evaluation. get accredited.

    sounds like there should also be a review of ihpa’s structure generally. perhaps pull all of the spfld area lincoln related sites under one division director reporting to ihpa. tomb. old state cap. new salem. lincoln herndon law office.

    when the senate takes it up, i hope cullerton does a better job with it than he did with the lottery. it should not be brought into the university system, they have some expertise, but they also have their own problems.

  12. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    The IHPA hasn’t been able to keep the ALPLM at optimal operating condition and maintenance. The problem lies with the IHPA. The solution also lies with the IHPA.

    It has been wrong for the ALPLM to skirt the IHPA and it has overstepped the procedures which govern the ALPLM within the IHPA. It has been wrong for the ALPLM to go rogue. Period. Good intentions or concerns regarding how the Library is operated and its future is an insufficient excuse for going around the conditions, however challenging or vague they may be.

    Madigan should not have gotten involved at this point at all. He got used.

    The ball is in IHPA court, where it had been originally decided to be. If the IHPA is not meeting the objectives that had been set for it, then that should have been addressed. Creating another agency is not a solution to the problems facing the IHPA. Keeping this entire process secret from the IHPA was completely wrong.

    If the IHPA needs specific funding for the ALPLM, then investigate that. If the IHPA needs to step up in its failure to maintain and govern the ALPLM, then investigate that. After the investigations, the Governor’s office should step in to implement any additional funding and governance needs for the ALPLM.

    You don’t do this.

    What would happen is this bill passed? In what way would there have been problems addressed, other than “who’s in charge here?”? Tell me how there would have been more people hired, better people hired, better pay paid, better handling of historical materials, better digitization of records, better anything?

    The original problems are not personnel based, so the intended solutions wouldn’t have addressed the original problems. Consequently, the bill is a bad idea.

    Fix the problem within the IHPA. Make the IHPA address the problems within the ALPLM. Don’t do this.

  13. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    The first person I would fire would be Eileen Mackevich. She knew the conditions that had been set into place when she took the job. If she was unclear on issues the ALPLM faced, she needed to have pushed the IHPA into getting answers. If she felt the Museum was being shortchanged and losing because of its placement within the IHPA, she needed to have worked within the conditions set.

    She might be exactly what the museum needs in many ways - but anyone willing to do this behind the back of the parent governmental organization and get it pushed right into GA and gubernatorial controversy - is not right for the job at all.

    I’d fire her in a heartbeat.

  14. - Sunshine - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Amen VM!! Amen!!

  15. - It's the Money - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    Steven Beckett is awfully good at gathering power to Steven Beckett, but he has shown no understanding of the issues at play here and even less understanding of the funding situation. The ALPLM Board has been laughably incompetent at handling major fundraising, gifts, and acquisitions; witness their problems paying the Tapir Collection debt. How do these yahoos imagine they can manage their own budget without a grown-up (i.e., the IHPA) to tell them when they’ve overspent by millions of dollars and failed to make on-time payments on their debts?

  16. - Roamin' Numeral - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    ==One month later, Mackevich received a legal opinion from Tom Schanzle-Haskins, a lawyer in private practice, whom she had tasked with telling her whether the IHPA director had authority to make decisions for the ALPLM. The answer was no, according to Schanzle-Haskins – both Mackevich, who serves at the pleasure of the governor, and Martin, who is appointed by the IHPA board, report to the IHPA board, which is appointed by Quinn.==

    So, Mackevich doesn’t want to answer to the IHPA director (her boss) anymore, so she tries to get a lawyer to issue a legal opinion saying she doesn’t have to answer to her boss anymore? Seriously, who does that and doesn’t get fired?

  17. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Yeah, I was surprised this story didn’t mention the Tapir Collection fiasco.

  18. - ILPundit - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Great point, Roamin’ Numeral. I’ve been around this business for decades, and I have NEVER heard of a political appointee hiring outside counsel out of their own pocket for the sole purpose of undermining her supervisors. How Eileen Mackavich wasn’t fired on the spot for that is mind-boggling. The Governor and his team should be embarrassed by their failure to act on that.

    Another point — when is an enterprising reporter going to get the Governor’s office on record about the involvement of Sean Vinck? Vinck is a CMS employee who is close to the Governor and is also on the museum’s advisory board. Was the Governor’s office aware of his involvement or not? Did they sanction it? This is a pretty elemental piece of the puzzle that still has not been answered.

  19. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Such great angst over such small matters; meanwhile, Rome burns. I had read the whole thing before, and I re-read it today. I read all the background materials. Has ALPLM and it’s top leaders gone rogue? Looks like it. Was it justified? Maybe. Can IHPA leadership communicate realities, limitations, and implications in non-stilted language? Hard to tell, since we only see what’s in writing. Were they able to see and manage the growing problem? Clearly not. Everyone playing a role in this little drama is a gubernatorial appointee: yet, could the 16th floor staff person get things in hand? Doesn’t look like it.

    Governor, fire them all, separate the two agencies with an executive order, and start over. No one in this comedy appears to have served your administration or the State well.

  20. - 100 Miles West - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    The issues with IHPA and ALPLM are good snapshot of the problems in state government generally. Hiring is a mess, everyone focuses on the AFSCME contract but the root problem is the personnel code. CMS procurement makes the Byzantine Empire look like a highly efficient operation. The advisory board should be studied by Rauner should he be elected. His dollar-a-year men/women will face bigger issues that these when they try to change state government. Many of the private sector ideas and solutions that make perfect sense violate state law.
    AND, if I had an employee who hired a lawyer to check if I was still the boss, they would gone immediately.

  21. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    100, how is the personnel code the problem? It’s no different than it’s been for the past 40 years. And, isn’t the already demanding CMS procurement process significantly exacerbated by the State’s new Procurement Office?

  22. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    Pardon the disjointedness, but my point was other agencies hire people and buy things. Sure, it can be tough, but it still gets done. Here, either there are very serious budget problems preventing positions being existing vacant positions from being filled (which we don’t see communicated in the lengthy e-mail exchanges) or the agency is simply less competent than most in mastering the process of hiring people.

    Anyone, you are simply wrong in your hiring freeze assertion.

  23. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    100 Miles West is dead on in accuracy.

    Rauner’s “shaking up Springfield” team will be stunned at the Brer Rabbit qualities of the state’s procurement and hiring codes.

    I predict “the stuckerer and stuckerer” they’re going to get.

  24. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    steve schnorf

    =Anyone, you are simply wrong in your hiring freeze assertion.=

    How so? I remember Jim Edgar making a pledge in his debate with Neil Hartigan (October? 1990) that there would be increase in headcount in his administration and that he’d hire prison guards and DCFS case workers. And, by and large, he didn’t increase headcount. Thompson ran a patronage operation. Blago didn’t replace ERIs. Those people I know of that hired during Ryan had BoB approval.

  25. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    That should be NO increase in headcount … forgive the typing error.

  26. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Well, anyone, you appear to at least have the century right.

    Edgar pledged “no increase” in headcount, and he held us to it, but that isn’t a hiring freeze and there wasn’t one during most of Edgar’s Administration. As to Ryan, I was at BoB and I didn’t approve hiring anyone other than BoB staff. We did impose a hiring freeze for the last 12 months or so as we realized how revenues were crashing, and a committee consisting of Kevin Wright, Bridget Lamont and me approved exceptions. We didn’t look at names at all, just job titles.

  27. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    –Governor, fire them all, separate the two agencies with an executive order, and start over. No one in this comedy appears to have served your administration or the State well.–

    Probably for the best, at this point. Protecting the asset, not the egos, should be the immediate goal.

  28. - girllawyer - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    Law Professor/Criminal Defense Attorney Beckett could be described in various terms but “naive” would not be one of them.

  29. - Insider - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    It was good to see Rushton’s reporting on the controversy. Here’s another perspective on the money issues facing the ALPLM and IHPA. Since the Museum opened, the rest of the agency has suffered cuts–none worse than the Historic Sites Division, which staffs 25 historic sites all over the state with FEWER employees than the Museum. There’s virtually no money for maintenance, little for programs, and an exodus of knowledgeable staff. Maybe separating the two–and giving IHPA a budget sufficient to maintain the people’s access to sites all over the state, and not just Springfield–would be an improvement. There’s been too little understanding–particularly on the part of Beckett, who is either a fool or a liar–of how these two entities operate under one umbrella. There are no easy fixes.

  30. - 100 Miles West - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Steve, yes the personnel code has been around for 40 years. It has always been a mess. The code works fine when you have money and can hire all the veterans and coded folks on the list to finally get to the person you actually want to do the job. With tight budgets and hyper-scrutiny on hiring, the system breaks down. Nothing is easy in state government anymore. There are so many more hoops to jump through in state government that do not exist even Illinois supposed “over regulated” private sector. I don’t think people who have “business experience in the private sector” understand what they are up against. The ALPLM advisory board is a prime example of people who don’t get the realities of state government.

  31. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    steve schnorf

    The only “freeze” I was referencing was under Jim Thompson, which was noted in the first line of the US Supreme Court Rutan opinion. As to the other Governors, the reference was to hiring being approved by the budget officials, but not a freeze.

  32. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    It’s been around for 59 years and absolutely needs to be reworked. Too many patches over this lengthy period of time.

  33. - Norseman - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Clearly, we have a problem with the personnel and board members and their egos. I agree with Steve’s suggestion of cleaning house, but I think the decision on separation needs to have a “long” discussion by the General Assembly. There is a budgetary context surrounding this decision. If the G.A. determines that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is the preeminent historical asset in the State than they need to ensure that it has the organizational and financial support to sustain it.

  34. - susie springfield - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    Steve Beckett might be naïve and/or completely ignorant of state government operations and the legislative process. He let Mackevich manipulate him into drafting legislation that if passed, would make Beckett and 3 others ineligible to sit on the board. I think naivety might have played a role in all this because I can’t imagine truly wanted to create this embarrassing soap opera and appear inept and power hungry.

    As witnessed at the last board meeting, this board didn’t even take the time to read and understand their enabling statute, and were surprised to find out that they only were to advise the ALPLM on conferences, symposia and exhibits. They wasted an hour debating a collections policy and called a vote on an issue they have no right to vote. Then when they are called out, Reardon starts slinging Blago insults like a 5 year old throwing a tantrum. They’ve only met 7 times and already they are the experts on the ALPLM? Obviously, this bill was drafted by people that don’t understand the operations of the IHPA. There was no transition plan for the split and Mackevich had no idea that as of July 1 the ALPLM wouldn’t be able to issue paychecks, have computers, security or theaters operational, nor did they understand that it was impossible to implement these systems by July 1.

    The ALPLM has adequate funding considering the sorry financial state of Illinois, and has a completely separate budget from IHPA. There have been funds allocated in the ALPLM budget every year of Mackevich’s tenure to pursue accreditation, repair the building and update the exhibits. The problem is that Mackevich has no interest in the actual operations of the ALPLM. Her main concerns are parties, dinners and promoting her friends books. She wants to throw contracts, hospitality, and honoraria to her academia pals and views any attempt to make her accountable as obstructionist actions. After 4 years she still has no understanding of state government rules and processes and thinks that this bill will relieve her of compliance and accountability.
    You would think after all the bad press and embarrassment Mackevich would quietly sit down and start working, but she’s more convinced than ever that people are afraid of her now and she will get whatever she wants. As for Sean Vink, this is an obvious attempt to score points with the Speaker. Not real smart when you work for the Governor. Mackevich should be fired immediately for her self-serving treachery and the fact that she has accomplished nothing during her tenure other than creating absolute chaos, and confusion. She’s also spent a considerable amount of time trying to undermine the Foundation because of a personal dislike of the Foundation director, and is a pro at manipulating reporters so they print her fake hat articles.

    No, the IHPA is not perfect. But the real story is that the IHPA staff have always supported and assisted the ALPLM and kept Mackevich from making terrible mistakes…violating hiring and procurement rules such as having ex-parte communication with vendors related to the Stevenson Collection and things as ridiculous as requesting reimbursement for dinner with her hair dresser.
    You can be assured that even after all the Director debacles the worker bees at the ALPLM have always picked up the pieces and pursued excellence in the face of great difficulties and they and the volunteers should be commended not trashed.

  35. - Lincoln (b)logger - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 6:20 pm:

    I thought the Gov was surprised by this… But the FOIA docs indicate Vinck helped draft the bill. What does the gov want here? His agency head is against it, and the Exec Director and M Madigan want it, and Gov’s staff helped write it. What is really going on???

  36. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 7:16 pm:

    Susie Springfield has excellent points. IHPA is doing its job in reigning in Mackevich and her ridiculous requests and attempts at a spending spree. Does she realize that she is dealing with tax payer money here? I do not think so. IHPA has been working within its budget and not letting her get away with spending ridiculous amounts of money to further her personal agenda.

    It baffles the mind to think that anyone would think that making ALPLM its own agency within state government would make any of this go away. The only thing that would happen is that Mackevich would run the museum into the ground, it would be completely broke, and she would be even more of an embarrassment to the museum than she already is. Hiring, daily operations, union issues, etc., would still be state government run. Has anyone compared IHPA’s job vacancies to other state agencies’? My guess is that it is that job vacancies are a problem across all state agencies as the money simply isn’t there. Giving Mackevich control of the museum will not fix that. It will hurt it.

    I wonder what Mackevich promised Beckett to get him to draft legislation for her? This is her trying to take away power from IHPA because they constantly tell her to stop spending money and she cannot handle being told “no”, just like a child. It is time for her to retire.

  37. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 8:04 pm:

    Nowhere in the exchange of emails did I see anyone telling the museum director “you have these vacant positions on paper but they aren’t funded and you can’t fill them. End of story!” Absent that, either funding isn’t all the problem, or someone missed the boat not so advising the museum. In the greater scale of things these are tiny agencies. On both sides of this little fiasco, if you can’t manage either of them maybe your management skills are under-developed

  38. - ILPundit - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 8:51 pm:


    I dealt with current HR system in the post 2003 environment. It is insane. Not only are you dealing with union posting rules and absolute veterans preference (which I believe changed under Ryan via court ruling), but the ePar system is unreal. An agency must get hiring approval from GOMB, their Deputy Chief of Staff and the Chief of Staff before they can proceed. In cases of union positions, you would have to go through the process twice, pre posting (for approval to post) and after posting (approval to hire). Like I said, crazy.

    My point is this. I really does take about 6 months or more of internal, bureaucratic haggling to get a hire done. The problem this creates for management is, because every hire is a battle, you’ve got to pick your battles. Something that may have been a priority for 4 months may have to shift back because of a major staff retirement, etc.

    The process is complete chaos. And from the Govs office, which still clings to the Blago system, it is a self inflicted process wound.

    As complicated as personnel process was in the 80s-90s, people who have been in muck recently view that as the golden era.

    The best manager in the world can’t make a difference. It’s a process nightmare

  39. - Lincoln (b)logger - Friday, Jun 20, 14 @ 7:39 am:

    Not allowing ePars to move is a cost control mechanism. That’s part of the fiscal problems in all agencies.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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    * Suburban college recognized for campus safety efforts
    * Metra installs charging stations downtown Chicago
    * Police superintendent to face alderman demanding his firing
    * Terrorism suspect due in court for 2nd straight day
    * Chicago aldermen demand firing of police superintendent

    * Panel recommends Rep. Mautino for Illinois auditor general
    * Illinois stops paying local health clinics for STD testing
    * Chancellor Koch: Budget pressures growing for UIS, other schools
    * Illinois to implement new ratings for schools, districts
    * Budget impasse cuts services for domestic abuse victims
    * Weaver tapped to replace LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Peoria city councilman tapped to replace Darin LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Illinois budget impasse affecting emergency call systems
    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?

    * U of C names new law school dean
    * For an hourly fee, Argonne Lab will help you make batteries
    * Fiat Chrysler workers, including thousands in Belvidere, poised to strike
    * Fiat Chrysler workers, including thousands in Illinois, poised to strike
    * Cook County to downsize aging Oak Forest health campus

    * McCarthy ‘extremely disrespectful’ to council, one alderman tells him
    * Emanuel on McCarthy: ‘I’m standing by him’
    * Neighborhood fests overlooked, some aldermen say
    * Blackhawks are getting playoff beards ready before the season even starts
    * Check out these pictures from the Blackhawks’ ring ceremony
    * McCarthy promotes cop under investigation in Daley nephew case
    * Brown: Demand for McCarthy’s ouster puts Emanuel on spot
    * Raffi Torres suspended 41 games for check to head
    * Bryan Bickell gets the message from Hawks
    * City Council Black Caucus: Fire Supt. McCarthy

    * 5 wounded in daytime shootings
    * Cook County OKs Palos Park annexation plan
    * Suit filed over keyless car for Highland Park couple who were poisoned
    * Illinois Fortune 500 companies have $135 billion stashed overseas: report
    * Lakeshore cities expect marine sanctuary to have huge impact
    * Illinois reducing fees on college savings plan
    * $310.5 million Powerball winner comes forward
    * Emanuel rejects call by black aldermen to fire top cop
    * FAA proposes nearly $2 million fine against Chicago drone operator
    * Man dead, 2 injured in Arlington Heights fire

    * Panel recommends Rep. Mautino for Illinois auditor general
    * Illinois stops paying local health clinics for STD testing
    * Kathleen Parker: The GOP’s (New) McCarthyism
    * Clark Bullard: Unclear if CWLP’s proposed rate changes are fair
    * Chancellor Koch: Budget pressures growing for UIS, other schools
    * Illinois to implement new ratings for schools, districts
    * Paul Findley: Boehner deserves souvenir from Pope's visit
    * Budget impasse cuts services for domestic abuse victims
    * Weaver tapped to replace LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Illinois budget impasse affecting emergency call systems

    * UPDATED: I-74 crashes cause 4-hour delays
    * 10-06-15 Penny for Your Thoughts
    * Crashes clog I-74 near Mahomet
    * Mild pattern to largely continue
    * Route 66 Museum to hold auction in Springfield
    * Taste of Chicago earns $320,000
    * Sentencing set for Illinois trooper in roadside strip search
    * FAA proposes nearly $2 million fine against drone operator
    * Workers removing Ten Commandments from Oklahoma Capitol

    * Nekritz snubbed for top auditor job
    * Roosevelt students walk out to protest teacher cuts
    * Emergency sewer line repair costs in Lake Zurich
    * Egg Harbor Cafe in Schaumburg now open
    * Rookie Boswell latest to get a chance kicking for Steelers

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    * Des Plaines sued for blocking rezoning to accommodate Muslim mosque
    * Audit commission recommends Democrat House member as new Auditor General
    * Mathieson: Lake County steers course with shaky state funding
    * Illinois' first lady appears in domestic violence PSA
    * Property Tax Appeals Assistance
    * GOP Presidential campaigns begin to take shape in Illinois
    * Drug use now rivals drunk driving as cause of fatal car crashes, study says
    * Halloween Jamboree At Chase Park (Leland and Ashland)
    * The city council Black caucus wants McCarthy to go
    * Meeting Regarding Future of 931-933 Belle Plaine

    * IEMA Announces Elgin Community College Attains ‘Ready to Respond Campus’ Designation - Elgin one of five Illinois campuses to receive distinction
    * New Mortgage Loan Interface Increases Efficiency, Compliance
    * State Fire Marshal Ushers In Fire Prevention Week - “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep!”
    * October Is Illinois College Application Month! - Over 130 High Schools Will Hold Events to Help Students Get to College
    * Illinois Takes Part in Nationwide Community Banking Study, Findings Announced

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