Tag Archives: Illinois

School bus shocker / 'LITTLE MONSTER' | Driver, aide suspended after tape catches them taunting special needs kids

Source: BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN, Chicago Sun Times (IL), April 30, 2008

Cathy and Richard Bedard worried that something was wrong on the bus that took two of their three special-needs children to school. So the Berwyn couple slipped a tape recorder in their 13-year-old daughter Tiffany’s backpack to investigate. They couldn’t believe their ears when they pushed play. Cathy Bedard threw up.

“F – – – ing little monster,” a man groused at 17-year-old Rick, who has Down syndrome. There were also jokes about tying kids to the roof of the bus, threats of breaking a child’s finger and chuckling when a disabled student was escorted to another seat in order to “irritate” a classmate.

…… The driver and a bus aide, Eugene Church, were suspended from driving students in the Morton School District 201, which hired First Student Inc. to transport eight disabled children to a special-needs school in Chicago.

But the district learned that the two men were allowed to work elsewhere following a six-week suspension after the Jan. 17 recording surfaced, so the district is reviewing its $1.5 million annual contract with First Student and will try to bid the contract out by the end of the school year, district spokesman Dan Proft said.

6 groups want to purchase Midway Airport

Source: BY FRAN SPIELMAN, Chicago Sun Times (IL), April 2, 2008

Six teams — one including some of the same players who paid $1.82 billion to lease the Chicago Skyway — will vie for the right to make Midway Airport the nation’s first privately-run commercial airport.

……. Roughly $1.3 billion of the windfall will be used to pay off Midway Airport debt. Up to half of the net proceeds will be used to shore up under-funded city employee pension funds. The rest will be used to build libraries, parks, schools, museums, police and fire stations.

Labor board to hear local union claims

Source: By Patrick Ferrell, Herald News (IL), April 1, 2008

NEW LENOX — The Illinois Labor Relations Board has requested a hearing over whether the New Lenox Fire Protection District improperly reassigned 55 part-time firefighters in April as they were in the midst of unionizing.

…….. At issue is whether the district should have negotiated with Service Employees International Union Local 73 before it took away all shift work from its part-timers, instead privatizing the department’s entire firefighting ranks as the part-timers successfully culminated their unionization attempts.

…….. The district has contended all along that it privatized all of its ranks because it was having difficulty filling the four of 12 daily shifts set aside for part-timers.

School contractor faces fire at hearing

Source: By Jameel Naqvi, Daily Herald (IL), 3/28/2008

Aramark, the contractor that cleans and feeds dozens of suburban schools, was in the hot seat Thursday.

The Illinois House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee held a hearing in Chicago on a litany of complaints against Aramark from workers, parents and union officials.

The Philadelphia-based company did not attend the hearing — missing a chance to respond to a nationwide campaign to unionize Aramark workers and expose the firm’s alleged abuses.

……. Thursday’s hearing focused on a report released this month by the Service Employees’ International Union, which is trying to add 100,000 Aramark workers nationwide to its membership rolls and 2,000 in the Chicago area alone.

…… The report, titled “Failing Grade: How Outsourcing Vital School Services to Aramark Corp. is Shortchanging Illinois Kids,” alleges Aramark pays low wages, provides few benefits and does not adequately clean schools or feed suburban schoolchildren.

Inmates sue for $2 million over food

Source: By MATT HANLEY, Courier News (IL), January 5, 2008

Three Kane County jail inmates, including a Carpentersville man, have filed suit claiming they are not getting proper nutritional value from their meals.

Michael Nance, Devalius McDonald and Deandre Clemons filed the civil suit in Kane County court this week against County Sheriff Pat Perez and the jail’s food service provider. The suit claims the food provided by Aramark Food Service is “not sufficient.”

Taking a heavy toll / Tollway aggressively chases accused scofflaws, regardless of cracks in enforcement system

Source: By Joseph Ryan, Daily Herald (IL), January 6, 2008

………. The violation enforcement system is key to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s new Open Road Tolling initiative, which eliminated barrier toll plazas for highway-speed I-PASS lanes that rely on cameras and heavy fines to keep drivers paying.

The tollway botched a critical element of the system when it failed to send out violation notices for the 13 months between July 2006 and August 2007.

Tollway officials blame the delay on a mix-up after switching companies that run the violation enforcement system.

…….Officials with the new company, Texas-based Electronic Transaction Consultants, said they didn’t expect the switchover to cause such a long delay, but it couldn’t be avoided.

……. In 2002, the state’s auditor general blasted tollway officials for failing to routinely send out violations over the previous two years. Tollway officials said at the time the job of sifting through scofflaw license plate pictures and matching them in a license database was too complex for in-house staff.

They hired TransCore to do it for $38 million over three years.

Related article from the Daily Herald: Critics call for reform of toll collection system

Urbana meeting focuses on consultant proposal

Source: By Paul Wood, News Gazette (IL), Thursday, October 11, 2007 10:54 AM

Taxpayers will have at least another month to hear more about a plan to hire a consulting firm for the new $24 million county nursing home. The county board met in a three-hour study session Wednesday with mostly Democrats, most of whom are skeptical about the idea, in attendance, as well as AFSCME officials opposed to the plan.

……. AFSCME Local 900 leader Kent Beauchamp said the proposals constitute “radical change” at a time when nursing home operations are improving.

Government Privatization: History, Examples, and Issues

Source: Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, October 2006

With the growing trend of privatization and public private partnerships in state and local governments, the Commission has put together this report to inform interested parties on forms of privatization, the history of privatization, reasons for privatization, methods of valuing public assets, examples of privatization that could be relevant to Illinois, and issues associated with privatization.