News Updates

Index of News Items

Center for Tax and Budget Accountability Illinois

posted Oct 20, 2014, 8:36 AM by Pattsi Petrie

Posted 20 October 2014

On 9 October 2014,  I attended a talk given by Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. The talk was so informative as to the fiscal state of Illinois I am posting the PDF of the slides used in his presentation.

A new model for older women

posted Nov 24, 2013, 7:40 PM by Pattsi Petrie   [ updated Nov 24, 2013, 7:41 PM ]

This is great fun to watch.  

Implementation restaurant placards

posted Nov 20, 2013, 8:15 AM by Pattsi Petrie   [ updated Nov 20, 2013, 8:55 AM ]

Comments written about the forthcoming implementation of the CUPHD implementation of green, yellow, red placard in restaurants. The comments are stimulated by the following articles in the N-G.

Several points of clarification about this system that caused me to vote "no" even though I am a thousand percent in favor of transparency and informing the public as to the health inspection aspects of any restaurant within the county. My reasons were expressed publicly and on the record when Jim Roberts came before the CB to explain the proposed system, based on what is done in Sacramento, CA. (I am all for looking at other models.) After that meeting, I met with Mr. Roberts one-on-one to further express my concerns and make concrete suggestions about the system. Further, I shared these concerns with Julie Pryde, CUPHD director. Unfortunately, none of the expressed concerned were given any credence. One last informational point before elaborating on the concerns has to do with the approval process for implementation. The placard system was approved by the County Board of Health, an appointed body by the CB, and the CUPHD board made up of the elected township supervisors for Urbana and Champaign and the CB chair, directed by statute. Then the issue comes to the CB, all elected officials.

The green, yellow, and red placard system simply put does not indicate to a customer that a restaurant is a clean and safe environment. The reason for this has to do with the scoring system used by CUPHD. The system can allow a restaurant to receive a green placard and still have an egregious health violation. Another aspect, a restaurant can receive 5 violations that do not add up to a score that would award a yellow or red placard; yet, those violations are health violations. Further, the inspection schedule is on an annual visit with a sprinkling of some random visits. Therefore the green placard awarded even though violations exist remains in place for approximately one year. The scoring system needs adjustments so none of the above described circumstances can happen.

Overlaying the above is how to change behavior so restaurant owners do not receive repeat violations. This ought to be  major goal. Yet the system being implemented is being done so in a manner that we will never actually know whether effective or not because only one type of system is being implemented, no control group of restaurants, no random assignment of the implementation. Even though it is being espoused that the system will be observed for 6 months, this will tell us nothing useful based on the manner of implementation. In addition, there are only 9 inspectors available to do all of this work. This is not sufficient staffing to cover all of the restaurants let alone monitor the implementation.

Last but not least there was absolutely no use made of university expertise as to how to design a system that would help create healthful eating environments and convey with clarity the health conditions of each and every restaurant in the county. Indeed, the discussion on a system has been ongoing for about 2 years, this is no reason to implement a system that does not convey to the consumer accurate and clear information. And potentially conveys a false sense of assurance.

Siting New Champaign High School

posted Nov 17, 2013, 11:04 AM by Pattsi Petrie

The following is posted as a response to the these two articles in the News-Gazette

The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is appropo for this situation--all of the HS sites under consideration are vacant land--even Country Fair where many want those buildings demolished, on the periphery, and little regard as to what this will do to the community for the next 5 decades. Plus it is the antithesis of what is espoused by the Champaign city council and planning department--in fill and enough land presently zoned and with infrastructure for the next 20-25 years of development. It does not take an urban planner to envision the effect on this community if a HS is sited near or beyond any of the freeways. This not only burdens the taxpayer with increased property taxes to buy and build, increased costs for transportation and infrastructure building and maintenance, inequity related to the community demographics and population density, and just plain poor urban planning.

This is an opportunty and a half for Unit 4 to make a significant mark on the redevelopment of the central core of Champaign, enhance connectivity between downtown and Market Place, encourage central core economic development, and combine the plans for the redevelopment of the Bristol Park area with siting the HS in proximity to this area--Spaulding/Judah/Franklin, intersection of Bradley and NeilStratton/Columbia--as examples. Country Fair is not central core and this space is right next to the other HS--does not make much sense if we really want to maintain a two HS community. In addition, clutching to old paradigms as to what a HS campus must look like and contain appears to be lagging problem solving in that how people are schooled is changing as I type; yet we are discussing to build as is if this is still the 1950's. Collectively, there are enough brilliant problem solvers in this community to come up with creative plans, design plans, space use, enhancing connectivity and walkability that are not being engaged. Actually, this is a very important question--why isn't the community more engaged, in particular the non White and lower income sub populations that will be highly effected by any shown site.

The really depressing aspect of the whole situation has to do with the purposefully determinations of many past boards in that the vision was an 80 acre campus at the edge of town so there was no reason to have a Plan B, meaning why buy properties around Central just in case. Even if the final decision turned out to be build at the edge of town, Unit 4 would have had land investment that today would turn a nice profit for the district.

2014 Champaign CountyBudget

posted Oct 1, 2013, 9:01 AM by Pattsi Petrie

On 1 Oct. at 6 P, the county committee of the whole will be discussing the 2014 county budget. As always, a budget discuss is important. This time there is added significance due to recent ILPP jail report. Below you can read my thoughts that I have shared with my fellow Democrats as a means to start a conversation.

This post is rather long--be forewarned. The first section contains my comments. The second section is additional information just, literally, received from the ILPP consultant.

My initials thoughts about the 2014 proposed county budget.

Since we are now scheduled to have a caucus tomorrow as usual I want to share some discussion thoughts because we only have 45 minutes to solve a myriad of issues/logistics. These are spun out of the ILPP report, listening to CB colleagues comments, and taking into account the many thoughts shared by the public.

Caveat--in my many years as an urban planner and teaching social planning, I have seen over 90% of the reports that I have read/been involved with to fail, basically for one and/or two reasons: 1) not sufficiently funded up front to get a proper "leg up" and 2) because of the lack of funding and incomplete implementation, the report failed. This gives the "naysayers" ammunition to point fingers at the amount spent on the report/consultant and to say "we told you so." With some short-term planning, 3-5 years, on the part of the present board, there is a high percentage chance of side stepping this being the case. With this foundation in mind, I put forward the following to be part of the conversation tomorrow.

We still are not looking at the whole budget, but moving amounts of money around like chess pieces. It is important to try to figure out how to run the county more efficiently, thus save money, and generate the "basket of funds" to give the report a good start. Here are some easy suggestions:

1. Aggregation of gasoline purchase--sheriff, EMA, RPC, CCNH, County Clerk, Highway dept, etc. I have laid out previously how this can be easily done. I would also think it might be useful to expand the aggregation to the cities, at a minimum.

2. As Laurel Prussing mentioned during the RPC meeting last Friday, why are not the county, cities, and RPC aggregating to leverage for better health insurance rates? Something to think about. The county aggregated for rural utilities and the county takes advantage of aggregated utility rates via the Chamber of Commerce. Why not broaden the concept? What else can be aggregated?

3. I put out as part of our total discussion the pros and cons of generating more funds by increasing the 1/4 PSST. This has generated negative response without any exploration about the possibilities and whether the county levy could be adjusted. The 1/4 center increase could sunset in 3 years, which generate sufficient funds to make certain programs have that window of time to find additional funding sources. Or the additional PSST could be used to pay off the bonds sooner and thus relive pressure on the county budget. Just a reminder, in 2014 and 2015 there will be no opportunity to do this. As part of how to generate more funds, I have never heard an argument as to why there is a willingness to bond for bricks and mortar, but not for social programs. Again the bonding could be for 3 years and paid off with PSST. Maybe this ought to be part of the total conversation.

4. As part of the ILPP and CJTF reports are mention of many social programs that need to be funded or need more funding. Yet there is absolutely no mention of leveraging as part of any such funding that proposals must contain a fully detailed a means of evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of said program. The MHB and DDB just distributed over 7 M without one shred of evaluation requirement. So no one can know if, indeed, this is well spent money. The same can be said about any programs under consideration right now to be funded, such as pre-trial. The indicators offered in the budget, as I stated during the 3 budget study sessions, tell us absolutely nothing about effectiveness or efficiency. The indicators simply are just numbers without a story.

5. There is a tremendous amount of money being placed into a budget line for building maintenance. Again there is not one shred of leverage connected with the distribution of these monies. The penchant of the facility chair presently has not been to look for grant monies. The same can be generally stated about the county as a whole. So the best way to change this is to put say $100,000 in this budget line as sufficient funding to match any DCEO grant. Further the priority list of facility maintenance is not driven by what is available in grant money. This does not seem to be in the spirit of the best use of taxpayer money. Caveat--of course, not every aspect of maintenance will have grant funding available. If that be the case, then the maintenance needs to have a different consideration.

6. Create a budget line for social programs funded by moving $300,000 of the $891,000 utility costs presently covered by the PSST. This would be a 3 years plan to complete the utility costs movement from PSST to the general fund. If this is not done, none of the social programs will get "off the ground" straightaway. Further if this budget line not established now, to do so late or move money to social programs will take a 2/3 vote, not a majority.

7. The ILPP report made suggestions and looked at the use of other county spaces. This is very important to continue. Back in 2007 there was a beginning of developing a comprehensive plan for the county campus. It appears timely to revisit this, bring forth what was completed, explore possibilities, and move toward completion before there is any more significant building and repurposing space usage on the campus. Many too many errors have already been made as to the siting of buildings, construction decisions that wasted money, etc. Lessons learned. So why following in the same pattern. It appears that there is movement to enlarge the satellite jail. Before this is done, why not create a plan for the campus. There is also a suggestion in the report to make some temporary changes to the interior of the satellite jail to allow the women to move there. This opens up the need to discuss options for the downtown jail. All part of a comprehensive plan for the county. The downtown jail can be repurposed for many of the proposed programs to aggregate them in one venue to minimize people having to travel all over the two communities to work with various social services--re-entry could be there, some of pre-trial, resocializing programs, etc.

8. Here is a 3 step proposal to stimulate conversation as how the board might think of a longer look at setting the environment for the implementation of the report.

Part I

Temporary reconstructing internal space at the satellite jail so the women can be moved. Evaluate how this works.  Cost--maybe $35000-50000.
Evaluate use of empty space at the CCNH and JD center for holding of certain categories of inmates for VERY short duration. This gives a window of time to evaluate whether changing approaches about citations, electric bracelets, etc., indeed, continue to reduce the jail population or not.
As for proposals as pilots to establish pre-trial and re-entry programs.
Continue to work with CB liaisons to the DDB and MHB as to evaluations about these programs related to redirecting people who need these services from being housed in jail
Begin a series design evaluation and space usage for the county campus and buildings.
Concerted effort to obtain significant grant funding.

Part II

Before any of the 7M plus monies are distributed to DDb and MHB for proposals that there is a period of evaluation of the past year programs to judge about effectiveness and efficiency, maybe even a discovery that some programs are duplications and can be blended.
Evaluate the reconfiguration to house women
Evaluate the pattern of jail numbers--is there a reduction that has remained flat
A comprehensive plan ought to be completed
Continue to work more efficiencies in running the county--this includes energy efficiencies to free up more money that can be redirected to social programs.
Move another $300,000 from PSST to general fund.
Continuing efforts for more grant funding.
How to use the downtown jail space.

Part III

Evaluation in conjunction with data mentioned in Part II plus a comprehensive plan as to jail needs, new construction, maintenance--does this mean some bonding--can some of such money help the social programs.
Revisit the ILPP study--matrices, as a check about the progress of implementation. There may be a need for adjustments depending on successes and failures that need to be acknowledged.
Move the last $300,000 from PSST to general fund.
Has the county maximized aggregation, space use, energy efficiency possibilities,  and implementation of a comprehensive plan?
Decision about downtown jail, integration of the social programs in a venue convenient for the served population and those doing he serving.

The above, again, is to stimulate thinking--I am certain there are many more possibilities. In any case we ought to be thinking in a 3-5 year time framework.

I look forward to the conversation, P2

Additional information literally just received from the ILPP consultant pertaining to the report and implementation.

Dear Board Members:

Below is the fast list of recommendations and costs you asked for, although many of them are very rough estimates.  Most of them are "no net new funds" (NNNF).   I'd have made it shorter and easier to read, but there just wasn't time after I recovered this weekend from a very tiring trip there; I saw a lot of folks and can promise you that there is tremendous support for our study in your County - I was shocked at how little anyone objects to anything we wrote or recommended.  The editorial today suggested the same, and was no surprise.

You have great public officials, and a strong comprehensive plan and recommendations; now, it will take guts to really fund it, but the pay off will be worth it.

A few savings are listed, but the gist of our analysis is that, overall, there will be few major costs to our report's recommendations, except facility costs.  That is because there will be such huge savings in the system over the first year and next 5-10, and facility savings as well, that the costs are mostly just shifting money around between years, and making a great investment that will pay early.  Just think, if you implement the bulk of the recommendations you'll hardly spend on construction.

The facility costs are too complex to cost beyond the detail in our lengthy facilities section, and they now depend on the Sheriff's decisions, and what is done, and when.

Our final thought is that, you need to fund these recommendations, all of them, and now, and if you can't find the money you need to cut it from other sources.  This is  because there is a huge cost-effectiveness return on these recommendations and expenditures, and it cannot be obtained as it should be, if business is as usual.

We did our best.

This note and attachment will be followed later by an errata sheet and re-vised CJEC chart.




Executive Summary                                                              Costs


Develop and refine decision-making tools that assess risks and needs at each justice system

decision point; the goal is to better protect public safety and prioritize allocation of scarce


Most recommendations of this type are without new budgeting, but rather, a new management and organizational work that should be priorities; they require “no net new funds” (NNNF).

Develop new organizational mechanisms, such as the enhanced Criminal Justice Executive

Council (CJEC) to lead major policy and practice initiatives


Articulate the purpose of the jail and its place in a continuum of graduated sanctions,

performance and services


Address the neglect of facilities and overall management of the system

$500,000 over time, apx.

Manage tension between justice conservatism and fiscal conservatism



1.1  Recommendations:


Develop and refine risk and needs decision-making tools at each justice system decision

point to prioritize and allocate valuable resources


Improve data, data analysis, and evaluation capabilities


Formalize the Criminal Justice Executive Council


Articulate the purpose of the jail and its place in a continuum of graduated sanctions


Address the facilities neglect and overall system management

See above.

Manage tension between justice conservatism and fiscal conservatism



1.3  Recommendations:


The Sheriff’s Office has been working hard to develop appropriate and humane housing options,

and continues to make excellent decisions with the support of jail operations and facilities



Keep the Main Jail for minimum security inmates as simply a stop gap approach prior to

implementing policies and programs that will reduce population levels, along with the new

classification system. Seek federal grant funds that will enable the County to remodel the old jail

into a federal holding facility and keep local jobs


Once reclassification of the jail population is complete, a new housing plan will be developed

based on the classification profile. It is expected that the post orders and building use will be

adjusted based on the populations’ needs.


In spite of its shortcomings, the Satellite Jail is suitable for expansion to accommodate staffing

and housing needs and is more modern and better designed than the Downtown Jail


The Facilities Task Force should work with an outside facilitator to implement changes to and

eventual closures of existing facilities, in light of policy changes in classification, supervision

philosophy, etc. over the short and long term.

$12,000 expended already.

In order to transition inmates to the Satellite Jail, the facility must add segregation capacity,

special needs housing, and the capability to handle mental health and dangerous offenders. The

County cannot neglect the care and maintenance of the building. The Sheriff’s Office command

staff are well equipped now to do this overall analysis and planning

See above.

Transition to the direct supervision model will improve safety, supervision capabilities, and

reduce staffing needs

See above.

Repurpose existing nearby buildings, such as the Nursing Home, to house community

corrections and office space, per the draft report’s program planning.

$500,000 if and when needed.

Schedule and follow through with regular inspections and maintenance every 3-5 years to avoid

structural and mechanical failures in the jail facility


Although costs and space needs projections have been provided for reference, how Champaign

County chooses to proceed with justice system policies and practices have a big impact on the

eventual scope and magnitude of the changes.



1.3  Police Departments Recommendations:


Construct a system-wide written citation policy as an ordinance or resolution through the

Criminal Justice Executive Council. The policy is recently in, as low-level offenders should

always be cited in lieu of incarceration unless certain specified public safety concerns are at



Monitor compliance with the citation policy by reporting citations as a percentage of all arrests,

as well as booking fee amounts. Require authorization for exceptions to this policy, and

eventually, higher booking fees for non-compliance.


Consider successful crime prevention tactics, such as implementing an Ignition Interlock Device

Program for DUI offenders, and police focus programs.


Identify special populations for diversion from the justice system, such as the mentally ill, drug

addicted, and homeless persons who often represent the costly chronic offender population


Develop a sobering center to handle the large number of disorderly conduct cases.


Prevent crime by delivering ultimatums to the most serious offenders. Services and severe

sanctions should be allocated according to their subsequent behavior.


Develop and adopt a risk assessment instrument that can be used to better categorize low-security

populations, to take advantage of non-custodial sanctions.



1.3  Pretrial Justice Recommendations:


Seek additional technical assistance from the Pretrial Justice Institute to implement a real best

practice pretrial justice program.


A standalone pretrial services program in the courts should be developed, for the purpose of

gathering and verifying information about defendants prior to first appearance.


Develop and validate an objective risk assessment instrument to guide a judicial officer’s release

decision as well as delegated jail decisions even earlier. Heed research that shows that financial

conditions of release do not ensure appearance or safety as well as risk assessments do.


Champaign County should take advantage of evidence-based pretrial practices that will support

objective bail decisions that more accurately predict public safety and flight risk.


Take advantage of pretrial services to remedy unintentional inequities and disparate treatment.


Use technology to set up phone call or postcard reminders for pretrial defendants, call lines for

re-scheduling in family emergencies, etc. In addition, provide a GPS tracking-solution that can be correlated with crime data in case a crime is committed.



1.3  Sheriff’s Office Recommendations:

Develop a continuum of sanctions that include non-custodial options, and expand the use of

these options for low-risk individuals.


Expand the criteria of those who are eligible for electronic home monitoring to give justice

system personnel wider discretion in applying appropriate sanctions to an offender.


Find alternatives to criminalizing poverty. These tactics will save significant resources for the

County and reduce crowding at the jail.


Define problems, obstacles, and goals based on community values and with the help of a highly

experienced corrections training and facilities experts.


Prioritize development of a policy and procedures manual by assigning it as a project to a staff

member, to serve as a first line of defense against litigation.


As is true with the rest of the justice system, the jail command staff should manage system data.

This requires first being able to extract critical data from the system, then analyzing and

tracking information to understand justice system dynamics.


The Sheriff’s Office should be granted official authority by CJEC and the Courts to oversee

development and police compliance with citation in lieu of arrest rules, and thus exercise some

control of jail population management.


Expand the capacity of booking officers to release offenders on their own recognizance for some

Class A offenses.


Expand the use of work release to allow low-risk offenders to repay their debt to society and

teach them valuable skills. Allowing them to remain out-of-custody does not present significant

additional risk, and reduces both jail bed demand and staff workload.


Implement a Day Reporting Center (DRC) to offer supervision and services, and serve as a

community resource. The DRC should be administered by Probation, and used by the Sheriff’s Office and Courts as an alternative to incarceration.


Implement direct supervision at the Satellite and Downtown Jails, and pursue constructive

training to get staff on board with the philosophy.


Carefully consider what the jail requires to provide adequate medical and mental health care,

including space to isolate inmates, appropriate staffing, and a sanitary environment to provide



1.3  Classification Recommendations:


Administrators should continue efforts to use objective, scientifically valid tools to understand

risk, classify offenders, and minimize the potential for negative outcomes. Modern tools use both

static information and dynamic factors that impact risk over time.


In recognizing the importance of classification to jail operations and planning, Champaign

County should dedicate two full-time positions to this function.


Champaign County is in the process of reclassifying its inmates. Previously, the categorical

breakdown deviated significantly from national norms.


Releasing the lowest-risk offenders into non-custodial sanctions and programs will give

Champaign the capability to house the remaining population more appropriately, particularly

those with special needs or requiring segregation; and it will save enormous construction costs.

<$200,000 savings over time>


1.3  Courts, Prosecution, and Defense Recommendations:


The adult diversion program should be reinstated, to effectively punish offenders and save

significant resources by alleviating the burden of court proceedings for the most minor cases.


The public defense bar should report directly to the County rather than the ineffectual Court

Administrator, to improve administrative management and enforce neutrality among the

different elements of the legal system. The ineffectual Court Administrator position should be



In order to have a judiciary that reflects the diversity of the public, the Presiding Judge should

issue an administrative order to establish a community-based advisory committee to assist in

the process of selecting judges.


Apparent over-staffing of courtrooms and entrance security should be subject to an external

staffing study.

<$1M savings possible>


1.3  Reentry Recommendations:


Leaders in the criminal justice system, social services, and community-based organizations must

work together to make effective use of housing, employment, family reunification, treatment,

and other services.


Champaign County should establish a Reentry Council comprised of a Board-appointed group

that represent a cross-section of justice system leaders and prominent community stakeholders.

This group should first meet monthly, then quarterly, to address obstacles to reentry.


Reentry staff should focus on conceptualizing, researching, designing, and writing grants for

reentry. Once the Reentry Council is formed, grants should be a standing subcommittee that

reports to the Council.


ILPP fully supports the intensive case management and reentry planning model in the Strategic

Reentry Plan proposed by the Champaign County Justice Task Force.


The County Board should not supplant the state’s duty to deal with state prison release with its

re-entry program. The Board should invest in hiring a single person with a salary of $50,000 to

champion this cause and raise money by writing grants with a county match. No money would

have more direct impact on public safety.


Champaign must establish a First Step Reentry Program with intensive case management and

discharge planning, to increase the likelihood of successful reintegration. The Regional planning

Commission’s proposal to do the coordination appears to be an excellent development, although

their concept paper is not based on proven program planning principles, and needs re-doing.


The County Board should create explicit policies to target funding dedicated sources for reentry

programs. The public safety sales taxes includes clear language that targets all manner of facility

maintenance and re-use, and related prevention programming covering the families and

children of inmates. The Board should also seek to obtain new tax revenue for future program




1.3  Mental and Behavioral Health Recommendations:


Create a Mental Health Collaborative Planning Group, consisting of the Mental Health Board, the

Board of Health, Chair of the County Board, County Administrator, and Sheriff’s Office, to plan a

fully integrated mental health and public health system encompassing the jail and community.


Follow the Task Force’s recommendation to allocate funding to reestablish the detoxification

unit, which will work closely with justice system and community service providers.


Collaborate between local government, service providers, and justice system elements to create

a mental health crisis center staffed with crisis intervention case managers. Continue efforts

toward a fully operational Community Resource Center for offenders diverted from jail.





Conduct a quarterly or semi-annual medical care contractor independent audit to ensure that

contract terms are being met and services provided meet standards of care.


Integrate data both in and outside of jail in order to track cases and outcomes, and establish an

evidence-based method of determining effective programs that should be funded and supported

with resources.


Police departments must create a plan to adjust detainee handling and arrest procedures to

include consistent collection and recording of arrestee mental health status.


Take full advantage of all Medicaid funding made available to local corrections through recent

legislation. Medicaid funding should also be used to create “health homes” for enrollees with

mental illness and substance abuse disorders.


Allocate the best possible array of jail housing for mentally ill inmates who cannot be safely

housed with others. Factors include individual and group living spaces, proper lighting,

confidential counseling rooms, and areas dedicated to socialization activities. The priority must

always be to place each inmate in the safest unit the jail has available.


As in other parts of the justice system, implement a screening tool to better allocate resources to

those who need and would benefit from intervention. Focus treatment resources on higher risk offenders to most greatly affect recidivism rates.



1.3  Women in the Criminal Justice System Recommendations:


Remove women from the Downtown Jail facility as soon as feasible. The Sheriff’s Office has

obtained technical assistance to work toward this goal.


Collect separate data for women that tracks key metrics and outcomes.


Develop gender responsive environment treatment and services, to be delivered in minimum security or community-based settings.


Ensure that visitation spaces are child-friendly to encourage family visitation, which will lead to

more successful integration when a female offender is released, lower recidivism, and crime,

and increase public safety.


Revisit requirements for female offenders to retain custody of their children, to advocate for

their ability to enroll in the required treatment programs to regain custody after release



1.3  Racial Disparity Recommendations:


Invest in a study with the assistance of respected African-American community leaders, the

University of Illinois, and several invested county leaders. This can help move decision-making

away from subjective to objective criteria.


Assess prosecutorial practices to observe whether disparities in charging defendants of different

race occur inadvertently, and shape policies and procedures around addressing this issue.



1.3 Criminal Justice Executive Council (CJEC) Recommendations:


The CJEC should transition from an informal group to a formal body with bylaws, regular

agendas, an organizational structure with subcommittees, an outside facilitator, some staffing,

and scheduled non-public meetings.



1.3  Information Technology Recommendations:



[Message clipped]  View entire message
Pattsi Petrie <>
10:33 AM (24 minutes ago)

to James
FYI.  Just arrived.  P2

Champaign needs an overall IT Master Plan and to establish an institutional authority for

integrating data in the County’s criminal justice system. Although the METCAD Policy Committee

exists, it is staffed by individuals invested in their own systems rather than the whole, and it

lacks the means to set priorities, authority, and tools to focus overall resources.


Electronic filing and discovery should become the norm; judges, attorneys, and courtroom

personnel should use computers to access case information and to record notes.



Alan Kalmanoff
Executive Director

Participatory Budgeting meeting 4 Sept 2013

posted Sep 1, 2013, 7:06 AM by Pattsi Petrie   [ updated Sep 5, 2013, 12:12 PM ]

On 4 Sept., the Democratic caucus of the Champaign County Board has arranged to hold an opportunity to engage the county citizens in an open dialogue as to the best means to spend your tax dollar. I brought this idea back from the national American Planning Association conference last mid April. The meeting on the 4th is just a beginning to what I hope becomes standard procedure not only for the county, but also the cities and villages and other elected entities that use tax dollars.

Below is the message that I sent to my fellow CB members last April when I introduced the idea. No one ran with the idea, but the Democratic caucus. But this is an open meeting. So please come to share your ideas.

"Hi everyone, I just returned from attending the national American Planning Association conference. One of the session that I choose to attend had to do with participatory budgeting. This is a budget method being used in NYC, a number of the wards in Chicago, and Lincoln, NE--at least those are the people who did the presentations. The purpose of this method is to engage the public in deciding how their tax dollars are spent. According to the presentations, there are a number of interesting results of this approach:
1. Many times the public is more willing to spend on "X" than the professionals thought would be the case.
2. Increased public participation in the process.
3. By engaging the public in the process, even if the public did not get a project funded or not to the extent desired there was much great understanding why this was the case and much more acceptance.

As I listened to all of this information, I am thinking that this might be a useful way to engage the public in deciding how the amount of monies for mental health and public safety get distributed.

If you have an interest in this idea, I have the information how NYC does the process and an example of the ballot used in Chicago ward 49, Joe Monroe is the alderman. If you made the request, I would be glad to lone it to the county to scan so it can be distributed to each of you electronically.


Doing some searching on the internet has provided a number of resources for the participatory budgeting concept:

New York City
(This is the report that I have in hand.)

Chicago  Ward 49  Joe Monroe    Rachel Weber, UIC, Great Cities Institute, is working with him to research the process

Unlike NYC, I can not find a copy of the ballot on the internet. I do have a paper copy of the 2011 ballot.

Lincoln, NE   Mayor Chris Beutler    and Alan Tomkins Director U. of Nebraska Public Policy Center,%20et%20al.pdf


If you are interested in more information about this concept that was started in Brazil, here are some academic papers.



The following contains comments sent to me by a constituent this morning. With permission from the constituent, I am sharing with everyone while last night is till fresh in our memories. An additional purpose has to do with the fact that there are comments/suggestions that we still have time to implement and others that go into the tickler file for next year.

If any of you have thoughts/comments that you would like to share and saved for next time, please do so.


"First of all, Pattsi, I want to thank you for moving to put this idea into action. I am surprised that budget doesn't get the same (or more) public involvement as other decisions since it obviously one of the most important vision documents possible. I hadn't realized it was such an opaque process (I guess I could tell that in unit 4 but didn't realise it was that way everywhere. )

So, in that vein, I would love to have a budget training session the hour before the time for public comment. It could be done by staff or elected officials but walk through last years's budget without time keepers and Roberts rules and all that. I totally get that this year's budget isn't ready but it is also true that if we are somewhere on the learning curve, that reality doesn't help us make progress in understanding the issues or the process. (So last years's is close enough to see how it works).I appreciated the chance to look through your budget books and recall seeing a prior year's at Houlihans one time. That said, they presume a certain familiarity with what they are showing. 

It would likely be good to have the county administrator there to answer the many questions that arise that no one could answer. Those questions are lost. As much as someone promised to check and get back to us with and answer - who is "us"? Not likely to happen. 

There was some party specific input which made me wonder if the lack of recording was unintentionally intentional, strategy wise but perhaps it isn't that cloak and dagger-like. 

Obviously the time keeper was ineffective. I had notes should there be time to address the assembly but too many people took too much time, including board members. 

The scheduling snafu wasn't insignificant and I can foresee that coming back to bite someone. I don't understand the need for a venue when you all have chambers yourself. I think that reason for not using brookens should have been public even if it is perhaps uninteresting. 

More copies of the documents would be good. Even if it is just electronic, I could have called up a document on the spot if needed. It would be cool to have a drop box account (or similar) where people could deposit documents they bring and then anyone (with a device) could view it and presumably it could be displayed on the room's projector for anyone without their own access. 

I thought a lot of the public comment wasn't budget-related. I don't know if we (you all) should even try to keep people on topic but it constantly sounded like County Board Members wanted specific proposals and perhaps even offsets proposed and most speakers spoke in generalities about priorities. I don't know if there might be a shaping process where there are two rounds of speakers and those with specific, written out numbers can be given preference and extemporaneous comments, or arguing for general priorities is something that comes in the second round. 

Which goes to the purpose of the meeting. Are we trying to convince you of vision or (since you don't have staff) do staff work for you? Public comment on the budget is a pretty large door to drive through. I don't like constraints and will ignore them as often as I can but articulating the purpose of the meeting more narrowly might help. Keeping time would accomplish the same goal I guess. 

I totally agree with the idea of not giving up leadership to staff, if they have to rework it, so be it. They are administrators there to effectively implement the vision handed to them, not policy makers. 

Anyway, some thoughts..."

P.S. from the same constituent

"I forgot about the nights of budget meetings though I did know about them. Good point. Perhaps they need to have different marketing since knowing there was to be no opportunities for public participation I just wrote them off. Now that I know more and know how much I need to understand, I wouldn't easily blow them off. 

Sure, you can share my comments any way you like with or without my name. I don't recall writing anything ad hominem. Your best judgement is fine. 

I don't know how hard this is but an idea that I had for unit 4 that will never happen (so I swallowed it) was to set up either twitter/ email or even a phone bank so that people can interact if they are indeed watching it live. Especially if it were an education/ understanding the budget meeting why not treat it like Illinois Gardener or Penny for Your Thoughts and allow people to call in with questions. I don't know how hard (or expensive) that would be but I can't imagine it has to cost a ton of money. 

Maybe, if the budget is similar enough year to year we get a single presentation and video it and put it in libraries or make it publicly available. (There is even a thing called the Internet we could use.)  When you (or others) do a constituent meeting it could be something you pull out and hand out the DVD or give them the call-number at the library. 

I can hardly believe that anyone would realistically ask us to wait 20 years for the county to pay off bonds-and from what I hear they were refinanced already and should be almost gone already. We absolutely need to budget our priorities and I stand with Danielle saying that I too have tried the gradualist approach and it does not work. 

Thanks so much for all your many efforts!!"

Salt Fork River--water use

posted May 10, 2013, 12:51 PM by Pattsi Petrie

The topic of taking water from the Salt Fork River is drawing a lot of attention and comments about the Bulldog Mine near Homer and in Vermilion County and Cronus fertilizer plant in Douglas County. Both entities want a great deal of water and if both come to fruition then the problem is compounded. Part of the discussion has to do with whether Champaign County ought to be stepping forward with comments since much of what is happening is outside of the county. Right now I would argue that this is a regional issue and this county does have an interest related to water use and sale thereof and the impact that this will have on the economics of the county, aka farm land, irrigation, and recreation. As I am learning more and more about the issue, especially the extensiveness of the watershed, I ran across this report.

This document does support the regional concern argument.

As I learn more and the decisions move along, I will post more information.

Changing profile Green Street campus town

posted May 5, 2013, 10:42 AM by Pattsi Petrie

In today's N-G is another article about the planned development at 4th and Green, campus town.

The following article includes the other planned towers for the campus town area at 2nd and Green along with the one for 6th and Green

Previously, I have written about the current penchant toward turning campus town Green Street area into a "Wall Street" type canyon of uninspiring buildings with zero set back and pushing parking distinctively out of sight making it harder and harder for anyone not young and totally mobile to perambulate throughout the area. The Perpsective column written by Paul Farmer, FAICP, and CEO of the American Planning Association appearing in the April 2013 issue of Planning crystallized my thoughts. Unfortunately only APA members can access the publication electronically so I am including a short quote from the column. The focus of the comments is what is happening in Chicago, but there are parallels to our own community.

"We are the city of Adler, Sullivan, Burnham, Wright, Mies, Jahn, and Netsch — a city of great architecture, the place where the skyscraper was born. Unfortunately, amid some truly great architecture of the last 25 years by architects such as Valerio and Gang, we have built far too much that's truly banal. Just walk around River North, the Gold Coast, and Streeterville and see how recent buildings meet the street and reach the sky. You might ask, "Where did we lose our way?" "

Planning Commission chair Paul Cole's quote in the first article not withstanding ought we plan for the wealthy foreign students or ought we plan for what the community will look like for the next 20-25 years. I would hope the latter so we do not have Chicago's buyers remorse of having to live with a canyon of banality for a quarter of a century. This time frame work along with zero set back negates any elasticity to accommodate changing views about urban design that will naturally occur and actual line-of-sight issues, such as those at the corner of Church and State in downtown Champaign and ingress/egress issues that are multiplying like rabbits along campus town Green Street.

To accomplish these developments, there will be various forms of economic incentives. To remind folks what these incentives cost all of us, there was an interesting factoid in the January 2013 issue of Planning about the 167 Tax Increment Finance districts in Chicago. These districts cover 30% of the Chicago land mass and remove annually 5.2 M dollars from all the taxing bodies, including schools. The translated implication about the loss of these monies to schools is that the rest of the state is paying for the Chicago school due to the PTELL formula for state school funding.

Appointments made by CB--advice and consent

posted Mar 21, 2013, 9:09 AM by Pattsi Petrie

For some time, I have been thinking through my responsibility of advice and consent for the many, too many appointments, that I, as a CB member, must approve. By statute the county board chair chooses who is put forward for approval. As I review the generic application provided on the county web site, I realize more and more that this application does not provide sufficient useful information to make a good judgment. Further the appointments, for me, fall into three categories, as discussed below, so logically one-size application does not fit all committees.

The above along with just finishing the online training on the OMA has propelled me to prepare the following white paper. I welcome any and all input on what I have written.

If you are curious or want to take the OMA training, go to


20 March 2013

To: Democratic Caucus

From: Pattsi Petrie

Re: DISCUSSION  Intersection OMA and county appointments

Abstract: Integrating the Open Meetings Act with the Champaign County process of applications, appointments, and advice and consent

There are many applicable lessons as a result of going through the 63 pages of the online training for the OMA. Some of these lessons triangulate with two issues that I have previously raised: the use of a universal application for all county appointments and the CB responsibility when it comes to advice and consent, doing so in a knowledgeable manner.

Universal Application:

Basically, the CB makes appointments that fall into three rough categories:

·         Appointment to an entity over which the county has absolutely no oversight, such drainage districts, fire districts, cemeteries, etc.

·         Appointment to an entity over which the county has absolutely no oversight, but has significance within the county, such as MTD, UCSD, etc.

·         Appointment to an entity over which the county has budgetary approval.

The information gathered via the universal application is not targeted to given specifics for the above suggested categories. The application is generic. And since it is generic does not enable an evaluation of an individual’s credentials and appropriateness.

Suggestions to enhance usefulness of the application process: 

Previously, I provided a reference to the city of Greeley, CO, which I happened upon as I was doing a google search. Here is the url to look at this as a potential model. I am certain there are many others that can be used during the discussion.

Note: On this web page, the city has provided very important information about each appointment entity, such as an approximate amount of time per month to do the job, any per diem, length of appointment, limitations on reappointment, when the entity meets, associated staff member, qualifications to serve, etc. In addition, there are samples of the three different applications that this city uses depending on the potential appointment.

Champaign County does not provide any of these types of information to help a citizen make an informed decision about the willingness to serve and what is entailed to do so. This information would help guide the wording on any application along with the order of the questions.

Suggested additions to applications, depending on the targeted committee, etc.

(Some of these suggestions are based on limited input from county citizens. Should a redesign be done, it might be useful to pilot test to make certain we obtain the information that is useful and desired.)

·         Generic application—reorder the questions to read #2, 3, 1, 4, and 5.   Here is the url to view the generic application

·         Generic application—present order—question #1 as worded does not yield any information that would help decide if an applicant is appropriate. Specifics need to be added, such as educational background, work experience, experience serving on other committees, holding of any licenses appropriate to the situation, etc.

·         Generic application—present order—question #2 as worded does not indicate whether the applicant has any idea what is entailed to serve. As stated above, this information ought to be provided on the county web site. The question ought to include a reference to previous meeting information on the web site so the applicant will take an opportunity to look at some of it, at a minimum.

·         Generic application—present order—question #3 as worded is not useful since the county does not provide much information about the committees. How can the county obtain appropriate information about a candidate’s knowledge if the county does not provide sufficient information?

·         Generic application—present order—question #5 as worded is no help because the county, as mentioned previously, places no indication of time involved on the county web site.

·         Add a question as to why individual is submitting the application and what the individual would like to accomplish during appointment.

·         Diversity question—purpose is to enhance diversity on all commissions, not just race, but also low-income.

·         Conflict of interest—this is question #4, but is directed to the accepted definition of conflict being economic gain. This might be broadened to include other committees upon which individual serves that might be in conflict. (There are excellent wording examples on the 3 applications posted on the city of Greeley web site.)

·         OMA training—add to the application a question whether the individual has done this training and includes the certificate as part of the application or if not, indicate that the individual is obligated to do so within “X” amount of time after appointment. Here is the information pertaining to this from the online training. 


Training Requirement


Effective January 1, 2012, Public  Act 97-504 generally requires that each elected or appointed member of a public body subject to OMA must complete the electronic training curriculum developed and administered by the PAC, and file a copy of the certificate of completion with the public body.  5 ILCS 120/1.05.  


Under the amendment, any person who was serving as an elected or appointed member of a public body prior to January 1, 2012, had a twelve month period within which to complete the electronic training - between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. Taking the OMA online training is a requirement imposed by law. Therefore, any member of a public body who should have taken the training between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012, but failed to do so for any reason should complete the online OMA training as soon as possible.


Any person who becomes an elected or appointed member of a public body subject to OMA on or after January 1, 2012, must complete the electronic training no later than the 90th day after the member takes the oath of office, if required, or otherwise assumes the responsibilities as a member of the public body, if no oath is required.  


If you are a member of a committee or subcommittee of a public body, or a member of more than one public body, taking the training once fulfills the requirement for each position you hold. In addition, a member is only required to complete this training one time during his or her term of office, not annually, unless that member is also an OMA designee, in which case annual training is required.


School board members may alternatively satisfy the training requirements of OMA by participating in a qualifying course of training sponsored by or conducted by an organization created under Article 23 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/23-1 et seq.).



TOWN HALL IV District 6 24 March 2013

posted Feb 28, 2013, 8:48 AM by Pattsi Petrie   [ updated Feb 28, 2013, 8:50 AM ]

The fourth town hall for Champaign County District 6 residents is scheduled for 24 March 2013, 1-2P at the Champaign Public Library. This is purposely scheduled before the public meeting to be held also at the Champaign Public Library on 28 March to discuss further the county jail issue. Two groups, C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice and the Champaign County Community Justice Task Force, are collaborating to put this meeting together. Dr. Kalmanoff, the Berkeley consulting firm, ILPP--hired by the county to study jail needs, will be here to listen to the citizens concerns and comments on the 28th

On the 24th, citizens will have the opportunity to discuss this issue and the many other county issues that the board has been discussing with both District 6 representative, Pattsi Petrie and Josh Hartke.

After delving into how the county is using your tax dollar, the monthly CPL music program is scheduled for 2-3:30 P in rooms A & B, right across the hall.

1-10 of 53