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Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated)

Tuesday, May 7, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

…Adding… The House has canceled session for Friday, May 10th.

* Illinois Answers

Larry Hall was not even three years into his career as a Flossmoor police officer when he began having sex in the summer of 2007 with an 18-year-old woman he had met months earlier while working as a resource officer at the south suburban high school she attended. […]

For most officers, such an offense would end their careers. But a little more than four years later, Hall returned to law enforcement, rising to become the acting deputy chief in the nearby Village of Robbins, where he oversees internal affairs and background checks.

Robbins Mayor Darren Bryant said that “sometimes we take what we can get” when it comes to the difficult task of hiring part-time, low-paid police officers.

“Just because you got fired doesn’t mean you can’t grow or you can’t learn from your last job,” he said. “It’s almost a restorative practice.”

Robbins has long been a dumping ground for police officers with troubled histories. In the past year alone, Robbins’ part-time police department employed Hall as well as two police officers whom the Chicago Police Department fired for lying about what they saw the night Laquan McDonald was murdered, and an officer whose history of past misconduct must be disclosed to defense attorneys any time he testifies in court. That officer was fired for submitting a vacation request containing the forged signature of his police chief.

Departments like Robbins that most often hire fired cops are at the mercy of diminished property tax bases to fund their operations. They pay just above minimum wage and hire fired cops who then use their status as police officers to secure higher-paying private security jobs or to salvage their policing careers before going elsewhere. In turn, residents are often left with a police force that gets more attention for the misdeeds of its officers and the crimes it doesn’t solve than the ones it does. […]

Since 2000, about 17% of all officers hired by the department — 46 altogether — joined or rejoined the department directly after getting fired, state data shows. By comparison, the Chicago Police Department hired or rehired just 15 officers this way.

Here’s where fired cops get hired in Illinois

* Illinois Economic Policy Institute…

A first-of-its-kind analysis of construction projects from the Port of Seattle between 2016 and 2023—including airports and seaports—shows that project labor agreements (PLAs) promote competition amongst contractors, control construction costs, and deliver superior workforce development outcomes over projects completed without PLAs. The report was conducted by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and the Project for Middle Class Renewal (PMCR) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Read the Report, The Impact of Project Labor Agreements on Competition, Costs, Apprenticeships, and Diversity: Evidence from Port of Seattle Projects here.

Project labor agreements are pre-hire agreements between construction project owners and labor organizations that establish the terms and conditions of employment for skilled craft workers on large infrastructure projects. They have a long history as a de-risking mechanism and construction management tool for both the public and private sectors, ranging from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1930s to the construction of most modern NFL stadiums today. In 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order to require PLAs on federal projects valued at more than $35 million. Most PLAs include provisions for preventing strikes and lockouts, creating uniform work rules and safety standards, harmonizing schedules between different types of crafts, and addressing skilled labor supply needs.

“As is the case with many policies involving labor standards, there is a great deal of mythology around PLAs and their impact on businesses seeking to compete for bids, on costs borne by project owners and taxpayers, and on the broader workforce supply needs of the construction industry,” said study coauthor and ILEPI Economist Frank Manzo. “With trillions in new infrastructure funding and an Executive Order from President Biden expanding the utilization of PLAs, data from Port of Seattle projects offers a useful comparative analysis that will help communities and policymakers separate myth from fact and maximize the impact of these investments.”

For their analysis, researchers analyzed data from 95 projects and 366 bids between 2016 and 2023, as well as the Port of Seattle’s Apprenticeship and Priority Hire annual reports from 2020 to 2022 (The Port Commission enacted a $1 million project threshold for implementing specific apprentice hiring goals). All told, 23 of the analyzed projects were covered by PLAs, 72 were not, and the cumulative cost of all projects was just under $1 billion. […]

“The data makes clear that PLAs ensure a competitive bidding process, control construction costs, and increase the utilization of apprentices,” said study coauthor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Professor, and PMCR Director Dr. Robert Bruno. “These findings are an important contribution to our broader understanding of PLAs because they involve robust analysis of more project bids than any prior comparable study.” […]

As construction employers face a historically tight labor market, the study revealed especially important distinctions between PLA and non-PLA projects on both workforce development and diversity. Specifically, it showed that PLA projects employed significantly higher rates of apprentices. PLA projects had 5% more labor hours worked by apprentices, were 23% more likely to achieve apprenticeship utilization goals, and nearly twice as likely to meet women apprentice goals (55% to 29%). People of color accounted for a larger share of apprentice hours on PLA projects (37%) than on non-PLA projects (35%).

*** Statewide ***

* NBC Chicago | Millions of birds will migrate over Illinois in the coming days. Here’s what to know: That trend is expected to continue Monday and Tuesday night, with officials expecting “high levels” of migrating birds to take flight over the state. You can find a bird migration map here. “You may observe their movements birding and listening by day and night,” an alert from Birdcast said. “Remember that high intensity nocturnal migration may not necessarily mean an excellent day of birding; rather it means that large numbers of birds are migrating or predicted to migrate at night.”

* WCIA | Asian longhorned tick found in Illinois for the first time: Since the species was first discovered in the U.S. in 2017, it has been found in 19 states. As of April 12, Illinois has become the 20th. […] “In some cases of severe H. longicornis infestation, livestock death has been reported,” said Dr. Mark Ernst, Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) State Veterinarian. “Farmers and producers should continue working with their veterinarian to maintain an appropriate management plan.”

*** Chicago ***

* Bloomberg | Pritzker downplays protest risks for Dems’ convention in Chicago: “We feel like we’re in much better shape,” Pritzker said in an interview in Bloomberg’s Chicago office. “But I understand why people can get nervous because if you were around in the summer of 2020, it’s going to take a little while I think for people’s tensions to decrease.” “I do not think that we are going to have anything like that,” Pritzker added, “and in particular, it’s because there’s such good security that has been planned for this convention.”

* Block Club | This Vacant Bungalow Is Owned By The CHA — And Now It’s A Drug Stash House : Just before that story was published, the CHA promised it would spend as much as $50 million in 2024 to rehab dozens of homes and sell some to CHA residents. The two-story, red-brick home at 849 N. St. Louis was picked to be one of them. Nearly six months later, only a handful of units have been finished citywide, and no work has been done at 849 N. St. Louis. Neighbors say it’s in worse shape than ever.

* Block Club | Ban On Unaccompanied Minors Downtown Should Be Lifted, Park Group Says — Will Mayor Agree?: Leslie Recht, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, told Block Club that council members have raised questions to the park district and the Mayor’s Office surrounding the policy. Both offices have indicated that the youth ban will resume this year, Recht said.

* Sun-Times | City workers who accused Water Department supervisors of racism agree to tentative $5.8 million settlement: Announcement of the settlement comes just a month before the case was to go to trial. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly had yet to rule on whether former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, now serving as U.S. ambassador to Japan, would have to testify. The deal must still be finalized and then approved by the City Council. Details of the settlement were not filed in federal court, but an attorney for the workers disclosed the amount. A spokeswoman for the city Law Department declined comment.

* Crain’s | Report rips city, state inaction as Loop Greyhound terminal faces closure: Just a few months remain before the impending shutdown of the West Loop Greyhound bus station threatens to leave 500,000 riders a year without easy access to affordable transportation, but neither the city nor state seems interested in doing much about it. That’s the bottom line of a new report today from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, a report that dings local government officials hard for apparent indifference to the struggles of a mode of transportation that is heavily used by low-income, often minority patrons without other good options to get around.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Naperville Sun | Naperville staff to restart search for employee DEI training services: Envisioning Equity Work had been chosen over a dozen other vendors who responded to the city’s request for proposals in August 2023. A selection team evaluated applicants and eventually chose the firm as its top choice. But council members weren’t entirely sold. […] Members also questioned whether city-offered DEI educational courses would cover training separately required by the state for law enforcement. According to the Illinois Police Training Act, there are minimum in-service training requirements that a law enforcement officer in the state must complete every three years. Among the topics that need to be covered are cultural competency, implicit bias, and racial and ethnic sensitivity.

*** Downstate ***

* SJ-R | Grocery tax, new hotel and more: Springfield mayor marks one year with exclusive interview: SJ-R: If the State’s grocery tax is repealed, what will the city do? Buscher: I believe it will be repealed. The question is when. Our Office of Budget and Management has calculated we will lose $3.8 million in revenue that we’ve already built into our budget. Any of our state legislators are going to vote for fewer taxes on its citizens. There are state legislators who are aware that it’s hurting municipalities.

* BND | St. Clair County will demolish derelict properties until $2 million state grant runs out: It is starting this month with 31 properties the county owns: a vacant commercial building in Belleville and 30 derelict homes in Cahokia Heights. The county acquired the properties, among thousands of others, when the former owners stopped paying property taxes. This first round of demolitions will cost $260,780, according to the contract.

* SJ-R | LGBTQA+ nonprofit newspaper opens brick-and-mortar location in Springfield: Editor and publisher of the Illinois Eagle Tom Wray said it was time to expand the news organization to its own solid location and stop cluttering his living space with the news. “Literally it was the past few years in the backroom of my house,” Wray said. “Either the house I rented, or the house I own now. It’s getting to the point I simply don’t have the room in my house anymore. I also needed the separation of working from my home; I already have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and have to work at concentrating.”The new location for the online newspaper is the historic 1133 W. Governor St. which was previously the House + Garden reSource gallery home decor until owner Greg Pierceall relocated to 1220 W. Governor St. last year.

*** National ***

* Tribune | U.S. Dept. of Education launches FAFSA support strategy with deadline for federal aid inching closer: The U.S. Department of Education announced additional steps on Monday to support the many students and their families who are in the process of completing the overhauled Free Application for Federal Student Aid after a shaky relaunch and complicated start for applicants. […] In a news release, the department said the $50 million program is part of the “FAFSA Student Support Strategy” and addresses known issues with the 2024-25 form to help boost its completion. Since the application became available in December, only around 9 million forms have been successfully submitted, according to the Department of Education.

* Bloomberg | TikTok sues feds to block Krishnamoorthi-backed divest-or-ban law: TikTok has argued that the law will stifle free speech and hurt creators and small business owners who benefit economically from the the platform. The company previously said that it spent more than $1.5 billion to isolate its US operations and agreed to oversight by American company Oracle Corp. [..] The legal battle comes after President Joe Biden signed into law a Ukraine-Israel aid package that includes the TikTok provision co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who lead the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.

* Bloomberg | NFL poised to allow teams to sell 30% of franchise to private equity: Proposals under discussion would let buyout firms individually acquire as much 10% of a team, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. A special NFL committee is meeting to examine the league’s ownership rules. Talks are ongoing and the percentages may change, some of the people said. A spokesperson for the NFL declined to comment.


  1. - Homebody - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 2:53 pm:

    Robbins has NEVER had a population greater than 10k people, according to the US census numbers. It only has 4,600 people now. For comparison, 75 of the 77 Chicago community areas have higher populations than Robbins.

    There is no reason Robbins should even exist as an independent entity. Illinois is rife with these tiny independent bodies that help basically no one other than those who are in a position to personally grift off their existence.

    Everyone would be better off with all sorts of consolidation in Illinois.

  2. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 2:58 pm:

    Lol. So you want to eliminate towns now? What exactly is your threshhold to be a “legitimate” town? Because 4,600 is a decent size small town.

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===Because 4,600 is a decent size small town===

    It is if you have a tax base to support it. Parts of the south suburbs have been devastated. The state and the county should be doing a whole lot more. But one thing that could be done is consolidated policing and other services.

  4. - A suggestion - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 3:07 pm:

    Parts of Michigan organize police and fire services at the township level rather then the municipal level. For the south suburbs, do the same and provide additional state & county funding to provide an appropriate level of service.

  5. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 3:08 pm:

    Re: Robbins police

    If a hairdresser in Illinois does their job so poorly that people are endangered, they can lose their license and be prohibited from working as a hair dresser anywhere in this state. 225 ILCS 410/4-7

    Perhaps Illinois law enforcement should be held to the standard of safety and professionalism that we expect from barbers.

    – MrJM

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===Perhaps Illinois law enforcement should be held===

    There is a provision in the SAFE-T Act about this, but I’m too busy to look it up.

  7. - JoanP - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 3:28 pm:


    There’s now a process for state-wide decertification of police officers who engage in misconduct:

    I think that’s what you are referring to?

  8. - Homebody - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 3:40 pm:

    == Lol. So you want to eliminate towns now? ==

    … yes? Though there is a distinction between a town of 4,600 that covers a wide rural area and has a bit of a drive to the next town over, versus a town of 1.45 sq miles that is wedged into a jigsaw puzzle of other small towns.

    If your town is too small to support basic municipal services, and it is right up against a bunch of other municipalities that don’t have that problem, then yes, its existence as a stand alone municipality should end.

  9. - JS Mill - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 3:57 pm:

    A quick google search tells me that there are 1,450 towns and cities in Illinois. 337 have 5,000 or more residents. Most of the towns in Illinois are smaller than 5,000, 77% actually.

    It might be possible to make some consolidation happen in Cook and the collar counties. Outside of that you are looking at towns that do not have another one near them for 5, 10, and even 15 miles.

  10. - JS Mill - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 4:01 pm:

    Here is the list that I found…

    I doubt the folks in Indian Head Park are going to merge with anyone else.

  11. - Dupage - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 4:19 pm:

    Some towns contract with a nearby town, or the county for police, or fire/EMS, or even water or sewer districts. They do that without going out of existence.

  12. - Aaron B - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 5:06 pm:

    Can I nominate Kankakee, Bradley, and Bourbonnais to merge into one entity? I have lived here my whole life and I still have trouble remembering where the boundaries are between the three. We’d be the 22nd largest city after the merge. Champaign/Urbana? Bloomington/Normal? Rock Island/Moline? Some combinations could be made in Sangamon County and around Peoria probably too.

  13. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 5:07 pm:

    ===What exactly is your threshhold to be a “legitimate” town?===

    How about 5,000? At that population level, the Municipal Code requires, at a minimum, a Police & Fire Commission. I.e., some form of merit hiring, merit selection, etc. Aren’t most / not all of the 10 agencies on the list in the story below that population threshold?

  14. - Been There - Tuesday, May 7, 24 @ 7:54 pm:

    ==== If your town is too small to support basic municipal services, and it is right up against a bunch of other municipalities that don’t have that problem,====
    The last part of your statement is the problem. What resident of Crestwood or Blue Island would want to pick up an area next to it with basically no upside. All of a sudden all the problems are yours. It sounds easy but it definitely is not. If you mandate it you better fund it at the state level at least for awhile.

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