City Manager Thanks Community
On behalf of the City of Evanston, my thanks to every-one in the community for your understanding and cooperation as we have worked to move snow out of your way.
It has been a major undertaking. Staff has been working 24 hours a day since last Tuesday afternoon to clear and remove snow.
There are many things we think we did right and many things we want to change not only for the next blizzard, but anytime we declare a Snow Emergency. I have asked Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons to develop an “after action” report to document what we did right and what we can do better. The report will be presented to the City Council on March 14, 2011.
I have already heard from many residents on the good and the “needs improvement” from the blizzard. We have kept track of these comments and will include them in our report. I am asking for any additional feedback anyone would like to offer on our communication tools, snow removal operations and/or anything else anyone would care to comment about. Please contact Mr. Lyons at 847-448-8082 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday February 18, 2011. I will make sure the report is shared with the community.
Again, thank you for your patience as we have moved out almost 21 inches of snow. We will learn from this event and do even better next time.
– Wally Bobkiewicz, City Manager, City of Evanston
Grateful to Elected State Officials
I am very grateful to be represented in Springfield by Representative Robyn Gabel and State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg. In recent RoundTable issues, they each explained their votes in favor of repealing Illinois’ death penalty and increasing the state personal income tax. Their political courage in making difficult, sure-to-be-criticized decisions is commendable.
All informed analyses of the state’s fiscal situation indicate that Illinois cannot just cut its budget to resolve the crisis. Senator Schoenberg and Representative Gabel thus made the responsible choice to increase revenue by raising the state income tax rate, which had been lower than that of many other states for years. Not-for- profit human service providers have already seen millions of dollars cut from budgets in the last several years. Human service agencies support and care for our most vulnerable citizens in Illinois.
Pensions and health-care benefits for retired state employees constitute a major part of Illinois’ budget liabilities. Senator Schoenberg has proposed legislation to make those health benefits “means-tested and income-based.” A good move for taxpayers. Illinois now has a defined-benefits plan for state employees, while the private sector and the federal government use a defined-contributions approach. Illinois must move toward the latter.
Rep. Gabel cited the work of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions in exonerating innocent prisoners. I’m aware of some of that fine work and therefore understand that mistakes can be made in the criminal justice system since humans are fallible. I applaud her vote and that of Senator Schoenberg so that Illinois will not make fatal mistakes by executing innocent people.
With appreciation for the principled representation of Robyn Gabel
and Jeff Schoenberg, Bonnie Dohogne