Civic News & Info
Wrongdoing on the Taxpayers’ Dime PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 13:53

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

 

The taxpaying public’s confidence in the federal government suffered more setbacks recently with two scandals:  excessive spending by the General Services Administration and allegations of misconduct within the Secret Service.  The actions by employees in these agencies have led to internal and congressional investigations that call into question the culture of the bureaucratic hierarchy.

 

Americans may not be as familiar with the GSA, which was established in 1949 to streamline the administration of the federal government, from purchasing paper clips to managing leases for office space.  In effect, it is an agency that is supposed to help other agencies operate efficiently and should therefore be a model of fiscal rectitude.  The GSA’s lower-profile, behind-the-scenes work was elevated to a higher-profile public square when its $822,000 “retreat” in Las Vegas made the GSA the most recent example of excessive, wasteful spending by the federal government.

 

Showing blatant disregard for taxpayers who would foot the bill for its over-the-top conference in 2010, the GSA pulled out all the stops with lavish entertainment (including clowns and a psychic), gifts and luxurious accommodations knowing full well the taxpayers were picking up the tab.  Somehow I don’t think the GSA needs to re-hire the mind-reader to figure out how taxpayers feel about paying for 300 federal employees to viva Las Vegas on their dime.

 

Yet another shoe dropped amid reports of alleged delinquency by federal agents on assignment in Colombia.  This time the scandal affected a federal agency that until now has enjoyed longstanding repute with the American public for its code of professional conduct.  The Secret Service has earned a prestigious reputation for its protective services to American presidents beginning after President McKinley’s assassination in 1901.

 

Now the esteemed law enforcement agency, whose no-nonsense, clean-cut agents are renowned for wearing tinted sunglasses and corralling rope-lines at presidential events, is suffering a black eye from alleged carousing by a dozen agents soliciting prostitutes while on assignment in Colombia.  By any measure, Secret Service agents who would hire foreign female escorts for nighttime entertainment while on assignment exhibit the judgment skills of a class of nitwits.  The security risks associated with U.S. agents’ allowing strangers into their hotel room in a foreign country are obvious.  Let’s hope the President is correct when he claimed it was a few knuckleheads exercising poor judgment.

 

If the Secret Service incident is not isolated and instead exposes a broader culture within military, law enforcement and security forces that says this type of behavior is okay, that is a big problem.

 

That’s why I’m asking more questions.  I’m glad the Secret Service acted swiftly to fire agents, revoke security clearances by those involved, and issue new rules explicitly prohibiting agents from hosting foreign nationals in their hotel rooms when traveling overseas.  The Homeland Security Department’s Inspector General will be independently reviewing the Secret Service’s internal inquiry.  An independent and transparent review will help restore credibility to the Secret Service.  As Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I take seriously my constitutional oversight responsibilities.  It would be negligent to sweep this incident under the rug and forget about it. Getting the facts on the table will help determine whether there is a broader cultural problem that needs fixing.

 

A Washington culture of overspending, mismanagement and layers of ineffective leadership within the vast federal government begs for enforceable accountability and transparency.

 

Taxpayers are reminded over and over again about the $15.6 trillion national debt and unrestrained spending that racks up deficits year after year.  Looming shortfalls in the nation’s entitlement programs demand more effective stewardship of tax dollars.  And when scandals such as clowns in Vegas and prostitutes in Cartagena keep cropping up, the people’s trust is further violated.

 

From many years of oversight work, I’d say Washington’s modus operandi is that it’s easier to go along to get along.  As an advocate on Capitol Hill for whistleblowers and watchdogs, I work for sunshine laws and reforms that will keep public the people’s business and strengthen our system of checks and balances.  My oversight isn’t based on the political party of the President.  Over the years, I have been an equal opportunity watchdog.  Leaving no stone unturned is the surest way to root out wrongdoing and hold the government accountable to the people it serves.

 

May 4, 2012

 
TENTATIVE AGENDA SCOTT COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Chris Berge   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 14:26
May 7 - 11, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Committee of the Whole - 8:00 am
Board Room, 1st Floor, Administrative Center

1. Roll Call: Earnhardt, Hancock, Minard, Sunderbruch, Cusack

Facilities & Economic Development

2. Approval of transfer of County tax deed properties to the Cities of Bettendorf and
Davenport, Habitat of Humanity, Neighborhood Housing Services and Gateway
Development Group. (Item 2)

3. Approval of setting June 5, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. as the time and date for a County tax
deed auction. (Item 3)

4. Approval of the purchase of an investigation vehicle replacement for the Sheriff's
Office. (Item 4)

Human Resources

5. Approval of hiring David Farmer for the position of Budget Manager at midpoint of
salary. (Item 5)

6. Approval of classification adjustment in the Recorder's Office. (Item 6)

7. Discussion of request to overfill the maintenance coordinator position in the FSS
Department. (Item 7)

8. Approval of Collective Bargaining Agreement between Scott County and Teamsters
Local 238. (Item 8)

9. Approval of personnel actions. (Item 9)

Finance & Intergovernmental

10. Approval of purchase of an upgrade to the AVL (automatic vehicle locator) system in
the Sheriff's Office. (Item 10)

11. Approval of budget amendment to the FY12 County Budget. (Item 11)

12. Discussion of quarterly financial summary report. (Item 12)

13. Approval of quarterly financial reports from various county offices. (Item 13)

Page 1 of 2

14. Approval of Davenport Country Club cigarette licenses and permits.

15. Approval of appointment to committees, boards and commissions. (Item 15

Airport Zoning Commission - Carol Earnhardt

Other Items of Interest

16. Consideration of appointments with upcoming term expirations for boards and
commissions. (3 month notice)

- Public Safety Authority (term expires 06/30/12)
Carolyn Scheibe
- Library Board (terms expire 06/3/12)
Joe Ragona, Robert Petersen and Jenni Criswell
- Benefited Fire District #6/Walcott (term expires 06/30/12)
Angie Ehlers
-Benefited Fire District #5/Muscatine County Appointment (term expires 07/19/12)
Julie Hoffmann

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Special Committee of the Whole - 12:00 pm
Main Center, Central Park Avenue

1. Roll Call: Minard, Sunderbruch, Cusack, Earnhardt, Hancock

2. Discussion with the Vera French Community Mental Health Center.

3. Other items of interest.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Public Hearing - 5:30 pm
FY12 Budget Admendment

Regular Board Meeting - 5:30 pm
Board Room, 1st Floor, Administrative Center

 
PARKS AMBASSADORS PATROL CITY PARKS IN DAVENPORT PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Ron Summers   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:18

Davenport, Iowa, May 2, 2012 – Anyone using a park in Davenport is now likely to see some new members of the team at Davenport Parks and Recreation. Called Parks Ambassadors, these full-time seasonal employees have begun driving around the parks and other facilities in Davenport to help patrons of the parks systems and to ensure that everyone is being courteous and sensible when using city parks.

The program was started earlier this year, and will soon boast 3 full time seasonal employees who will be out and about from 8am to midnight every day of the week. “Many other communities around the country use an Ambassador Program, and it has been very successful,” according to Seve Ghose, Director of Davenport Parks and Recreation. Ghose got the idea from other Parks Departments he has been associated with.

One of the new Parks Ambassadors, Mike, has thoroughly been enjoying his time out in the field. “People are getting used to me and recognize me immediately in my marked vehicle,” he said recently. Mike, like the other parks ambassadors, frequently visits Davenport’s recreational trails, softball diamonds, skate parks, and the dog off leash area in the city. The Parks Ambassadors are not a private police force for the Parks and Recreation Department, but they do occasionally remind patrons of city ordinances and ask politely for compliance. “Most people are more than happy to comply,” says Mike.

 
This Week in the Senate by Senator Shawn Hamerlinck PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Shawn Hamerlinck   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:47

May 1, 2012

Republicans in the House, as well as the governor, have come to an agreement to spend roughly $6.25 billion for the state budget.  Democrats, who control the Iowa Senate have moved their total number of general fund expenditures down from roughly $6.45 billion to match the House and governor’s number.  This move does little to assist in negations to end the legislative session.

Truly, the devil is in the accounting details.  Total spending is not less; in fact it has appeared as hundreds of millions more in multiple budgets presented.  Money is pulled from one-time accounts and used for purposes other than what those accounts were intended for to keep actual spending at a higher level.

As an example, the Economic Emergency Fund, Cash Reserve Fund and Taxpayer Relief Fund are used to keep taxes down in tough economic times.  If politicians pull money out of these accounts for ongoing programing they did not spend less, they just shifted the funding source.  This is like paying your cell phone bill out of your savings account rather than budgeting for the bill in your checking.  What do you do when your fridge goes out and you spent down too low in your savings account?

The budget process impacts the whole pie and it is impossible to pass individual pieces without a rational outlook on the whole thing.  For this reason, even if an agreement happened today, moving the pieces through the chambers will still take several days if not two more weeks.  With responsibilities at home like corn to plant, jobs to return to, and primary elections to work on members are becoming anxious.

Thank you for letting me serve you in Des Moines.  Feel free to contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .gov or 515-281-3371 or visit my website at www.shawnhamerlinck.com.

hamerlinck signaturesmall.jpg
Shawn Hamerlinck
State Senator
District 42

 
Simon to dedicate newest Main Street community PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Kara Beach   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:45

CHICAGO – As ambassador to the Illinois Main Street program, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon on Wednesday will designate the Six Corners business district in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood as the newest Main Street community, the second such designation in Chicago.

"I'm excited to designate the Six Corners business district as an official Main Street community. This means access to technical assistance and training on economic development. The designation will compliment what the Six Corners Association has already done to revitalize this historic part of Chicago," Simon said.

The Six Corners business district is a historic commercial center at the intersection of Milwaukee and Cicero Avenues and Irving Park Road that used to be among the busiest in Chicago according to Ed Bannon, the executive director of the Six Corners Association. The business district includes The Peoples Gas Building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Portage Theater, which was recently given preliminary landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

According to Illinois Main Street coordinator Mitzi Brandenburg, Six Corners received the designation based in part on its historic preservation needs and its efforts since 2007 to implement the Main Street Four-Point Approach, which provides communities guidance on revitalization efforts. One example of this was the Six Corners Association’s assistance in the facade redesign of Six Corners Bistro, a restaurant currently under construction that is scheduled to open this summer.

Illinois Main Street is administered by the Office of Regional Economic Development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and offers its designated communities technical assistance and training in how to revitalize traditional downtowns, neighborhood business districts, and urban corridors. The program is part of the National Main Street Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center.

Simon announced in March that the Illinois Main Street Program is once again accepting applications from communities interested in becoming part of the program. Communities interested in obtaining more information can visit www.illinoismainstreet.org.

 

EVENT: Six Corners Illinois Main Street Designation Ceremony

TIME: 2 p.m.

DATE: Wednesday, May 2

PLACE: Las Tablas Restaurant, 4920 W. Irving Park, Chicago

 

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