Will Council Say “No” To Mayor’s Latest Veto? (Updated 09/21/10)


Tonight is the deadline for the City Council to over-ride Mayor Dave Schmidt’s veto of the Council’s unrestricted giveaway of $190,000 of City funds to 13 select private community organizations – without any limitations on how the money is spent/used, and without requiring any accountability from those recipients for that spending/use. 

That Schmidt’s veto will be over-ridden on at least some of those donations is pretty much a foregone conclusion.  Over-ride takes five votes, and if all five of those Frimark Legacy aldermen – DiPietro, Bach, Allegretti, Ryan and Carey – show up and vote as expected, at least the Center of Concern ($55,000), Meals on Wheels ($7,040), Maine Mental Health Center ($6,600) and the Youth Commission ($4,400) will head home with more cash than they typically raise from any of their private donors. 

But the fun might be in trying to guess how this will shake out politically, especially if DiPietro doesn’t waffle and actually votes to over-ride the veto only as to those three-four appropriations he talked about last month…right before he voted to approve all 13 of those giveaways 

Will Ald. Frank Wsol, the only alderman to have voted against all 13 donations, hang tough on all 13?  Will Allegretti – who was missing the night the giveaways were approved – be some kind of wild card and vote to over-ride some but not all of them?  

Might DiPietro and Ald. Joe Sweeney finally realize how their voting for some of these public fund misappropriations but not others is actually more unprincipled than voting for or against all of them – especially where, as here, the Council did not even try to comply with City Council Policy No. 6 that prescribes a specific procedure for making exceptions to the general prohibition (derived from the “public purpose” clause in Article VIII of the State of Illinois constitution) against giving away public funds to private organizations? 

Whichever way they all vote, we’d love to hear each alderman explain his vote on each of those 13 individual over-ride motions.  In the absence of legitimate public policy reasons for these unrestricted, unaccountable giveaways of public funds, however, we’re expecting little more than a simple “Yes” (or, in Bach’s case, an “Aye”) on every over-ride vote. 

If you want to bear witness to your elected representatives voting yet again to give away more of your tax money to their favorite non-profits, kick-off is 7:30 p.m. at 505 Butler Place. 

It may not be quite as ridiculous a spectacle as watching our General Assembly continue to tax, borrow and spend Illinois closer to bankruptcy; but, then again, you don’t need to go all the way to Springfield to see it. 

Be thankful for small favors.

Update (09/21/10): Alds Joe Sweeney (1st), Rich DiPietro (2nd) and Frank Wsol (7th) voted together 10 times to deprive the City Council of the 5 votes needed to over-ride Mayor Dave Schmidt’s veto on all but 3 of the 13 Council public funds giveaways, saving Park Ridge taxpayers over $120,000.

DiPietro, however, switched sides on 3 occasions to provide the deciding over-ride votes for the donations of $55,000 to the Center of Concern, $6,600 to the Maine Mental Health Center, and $7,040 to Meals on Wheels. 

7 comments so far

PubDog, what was the objection to these community groups signing a contract with the City under which they agree to provide X amount of specific services for the money they are being given?

2:02 pm: 

We are not aware of that “contract” issue having been raised by any public official other than the mayor, and then only in his veto message a couple of weeks ago.

There could be several reasons why nobody even wants to discuss contracts for these organizations, but we think the most likely one is that contracts would require a quid-pro-quo identification of specific services and incidents/quantities being provided for each dollar of public funds being “donated.”  So if these organizations have been lying about exactly what they do, for whom they do it, and what it costs, then their heretofore grandiose claims about performing “essential services” for “Park Ridge residents” in an economical manner, that could be a source of acute embarrassment for these organizations and their operators. 

Otherwise, we see no reason why they wouldn’t be willing to contract for their money.

I emailed my aderman on not overriding the mayor’s veto and we need to money over other things.


what other things would we need to spend on?

would those things include Bifurcated contracts that actually total over 20,000 dollars annually and should come to council but do not?

Would those things include the essential spending on a fireworks show in order for a holder of bifurcated contracts (and largest campaign contributer to the mayor) to get a mayoral commercial and line the pockets of a relative all disingenously disguised as a “chartitable civic donation”.

Would those things include providing services for a polish fest that brings in no sales tax revenue for the city and lines the pockets of friends of a criminally charged campaign supporter of the mayor?

respectfully, I suggest my taxpayer dollars go to charitable causes like the various community groups rather than line the pockets of the friends of the current mayor (who by the way also receives taxpayer dollars and does little for it–now there is something that should be cut!!)

PRU-dence, is that you…obsessively slagging Americaneagle again because you don’t have any legitimate comments on the actual topic of this post?

Why don’t you call your alderman, Richie D, and ask him to dump Americaneagle and its allegedly “bifurcated” contracts as the City’s website vendor, or bring its contracts up for Council approval?  And while you’re at it, why don’t you ask Richie D if he also will support dumping the annual fireworks show so that Americaneagle’s approx. $18,000 donation ($36,000 over the past two years) doesn’t go to buy fireworks from the owner’s in-laws?  

Or how about getting your new BFFs at Taste Inc. to pony up the $18,000 for the fireworks show from those tens of thousands of dollars they’re pulling in from TOPR?  Of course, that depends on whether or not they spend too much of their spare cash on lobbying or political activity between now and next summer – remember, we’ve got aldermanic elections coming up in April – since Taste Inc. can legally engage in those kinds of political activity now that it changed from a 501(c)(3) corporation to a 501(c)(6) one.

I guess it could have been worse. At least those greedy seniors didnt get money for their clubhouse.

Speaking of greedy seniors, rumor has it the few that showed up from the Senior Center were none too happy with Mayor Schmidt, but they were Frimark people anyway so that is to be expected. Not much Greatest Generation to show for there.