Winnebago County official looking to restore government reputation

Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney has a clear mission statement.

“Our goal every day is to work to become the most accountable, collaborative, and transparent unit of government in the state of Illinois,” Haney said.

I write for Illinois News Network.

NIU President Severance Package Eyed By Lawmakers

A severance package handed out to the exiting president of Northern Illinois University is drawing attention from state lawmakers. Doug Baker is leaving the school following a report by the state’s Inspector General that alleged improper spending and hiring. Under an agreement approved by the trustees, Baker will receive around $600,000 plus benefits when he steps down.

I wrote about it for Illinois News Network.

State Sen. Tim Bivins To Retire

There aren’t very many Republicans in the Illinois State Senate. Democrats maintain a supermajority in the chamber, though the GOP has increased its numbers slightly from the time when I joked the entire caucus could be shuttled around in a Ford Econoline van.

Republican State Senator Tim Bivins has announced he will not run for re-election to the 45th District the in 2018, ending more than a decade in Springfield. He’s one of the most honest, earnest politicians you’ll ever be around, likely due to his long service in law enforcement. He even has a radio background and ably co-hosted with me a handful of times through the years.

One word popped up more than any other when talking to people about Tim: integrity. He’ll be missed. I wrote about his upcoming retirement at Illinois News Network.

Public Notices & Eclipses

I have a couple of stories up this week at ilnews.org.

Check out this piece on Illinois possibly moving prevailing wage notices from newspapers to the web. It could be a first step toward digitizing a whole bunch of public notices that local governments are mandated to publish.

Then read here, especially if you’re heading to southern Illinois for the upcoming solar eclipse and are looking for a place to stay.