April 18, 2010

Two city agencies may lose money hung up by disputes

Two city agencies may lose tens of thousands of dollars after reaching an impasse over how to spend the money.

Alderman Greg Helding put in two communications for Monday's City Council meeting to take $30,000 from the Racine Public Library's budget and $40,000 from the city's cable-access TV budget. Both the library and CAR25 have failed to spend the money despite support from the City Council and mayor to do so.

Mayor John Dickert wanted to spend $40,000 to hire an internationally renown TV journalist to revamp the station. Dickert's plans were thwarted by the station's board and eventually by the City Council. Despite the consultant's credentials, the mayor was criticized because he didn't take bids for the job and was friends with person he recommended for the contract.

The council voted last fall to give the library an additional $33,000 to open on Sundays during the school year, but five months later the library has yet to add the hours. The issue now appears dead. The library just reached a contract with a union that did not include Sunday hours, and it appears the Library Board is reluctant to reconsider the issue.

Helding's communication requests transferring the $40,000 from CAR25's professional services account to the city's "Judgement and Claims" account, which took a hit earlier this year when the city agreed to pay Sandra Tingle $50,000 to settle her case sexual harassment claim.

As for the library money, Helding wants to move $30,000 of the funding to the city's "Contingency" account, which is typically used for unexpected expenses. The money could also be carried over into the 2011 budget, which is already looking tight.


  1. ... or, they could just give it back to the taxpayers.


  2. The Dickert Era:

    The Elusive Ten Year Plan.
    Payback Jobs for Friends & Family.
    No Bid Contracts.
    More Lies.
    Side Deals.
    Payoffs for Friends (TINGLE).


  3. Like I said before, send the $30K for the library back -OR- open up the library ALL DAY on Saturday (like a normal library) and forget the goofy 1-4 p.m. Sunday hours.

    Again, what other library do you know is NOT open on Saturday morning when people run errands and want to use the library, but *is* open for 3 measly hours in the middle of the day on Sunday instead? Answer: Racine

    The library employees don't want the hours on Sunday anyway. They weren't getting paid for them before people - they were getting comp time. Would YOU work those hours and not get paid?

  4. And why is this news exactly? All they are doing is shuffling money from one account to another. It's still the city's pot of money to do with what they like.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it happens all the time at the end of the budget year and funds are left over. So why has it suddenly become so newsworthy right now?

  5. The attack on CAR 25 is nothing more then payback because The Cable Commission said no to a Dickert crony getting a sweet no bid deal.

  6. They should take back all the CAR25 money. The city has no business spending taxpayer money running a TV station. We are taxed enough already.

  7. Recently the finance director annnounced a big budget shortfall coming. The alderman is right to take back unspent money to try to fill the hole. The amount in this story isn't much but it is a start.

    The concept of just raiding the city reserves isn't the right answer. There needs to be a serious move to stop spending now, not in December.

    Clearly a serious warning was sounded. If the mayor isn't going to take action to slow spending then the council needs to step in and do his job. If the mayor doesn't want to make the hard decisions then the city better elect a new mayor next year that does know how to stop spending and balance a budget.

    I think every city resident should be watching the actions their alderman takes during the budget shortfall. If they act responsibly then return them. If they fight spending cuts and don't hold the mayor/staff accountable elect a new alderman the next election.

  8. At the last Finance & Personal meeting it was voted that the CAR25 money go to Commitee Of The Whole for discussion....It has not. It seems to me because Dickert and Helding did not get their crony and their scam did not work, this is payback...what a ridiculous city we live in. How could CAR25 spend the money without it going through Committee Of the Whole?

  9. A drunk pedo ran the city for 6 years. Nobody cared. Voters don't give a damn, just us online whiners.

    Party on!

  10. Why has this not gone to Committee Of The Whole for discussion as voted on?

  11. How about putting the $70K towards fixing the Dr. Laurel Clark Fountain so that children may enjoy it again? Are they supposed to play in the metal flames of the Becker Memorial $50K Tax Dollar Giveaway on 13th and Washington? Or maybe the recent recipient of settlement money extorted from the taxpayers for the crimes of an idfividual might be willing to help out?

    Millions for a choo-choo but just pedos for the kids.

  12. Sandra Tingle should be ashamed of herself.

  13. The City Council should be ashamed of itself. They failed to rein in Becker when he was mayor. Instead, they settled a claim with $50,000 to punish the taxpayers for the council’s failure. This was after already spending $70,000 on the claim. That’s $120,000 of our money peed away by a City Council that refused to do its job. Afterwards, I’m sure there was much back slapping and congratulating each other. Politics in Racine, Wisconsin – it doesn’t get any dirtier than this. The taxpayers get screwed and the connected get richer. Party on!

  14. Car 25 and the Library all fall under city operations, so it isn't exactly "taking money back" - it's still the city's money either way.

    And as for people who should be ashamed of themselves, Ben Hughes and Gary Becker should be ashamed of themselves in my opinion. And add to that the city council - I agree with Orbscorbs.

  15. The city needs to take lessons from the recent Mt Pleasant elections. The Mt Pleasant voters have successfully voted out half the big spenders who failed to listen to the voters. The elected officials in Racine seem to be equally tone deaf to the voters.

    People across the country are angry with government and their lack of attention to the voters. They get in with their failed agendas and make things worse.

    Clean house America.

  16. Dickert wants to the money transferred so he can give the $70,000 to another friend or family members.

  17. Tim the Shrubber4/19/2010 1:34 PM

    "People across the country are angry with government and their lack of attention to the voters. They get in with their failed agendas and make things worse."

    A talking point, but no real substance. I mean, seriously, let's disect this bit of rhetoric.

    1. "People across the country are angry with government..."

    Well, it is beyond doubt that there is a group of people very angry, but I think you can make a mistake by treating this as universal.

    2. "...and their lack of attention to the voters."

    Really...seems to me that too many politicians are paying too much attention to voters...they pander to them and give them what they want.

    Now, I know you are going to say that those are 'special interests'...but the simple fact of the matter is that 'special interests' tend to be groups of people that vote. Politicians do a great job pleasing groups that vote...they tend to disregard non-voters. There is a lesson in that.

    3. "They get in with their failed agendas and make things worse."

    Hmmm...'they get in'...that implies that the elected officials did something underhanded and such, but I think the phrase we are looking for in reality is 'they get elected by the few voters that give a damn and show up to vote'.

    'with their failed agendas'...the same agendas that they usually tell everyone about before the election, yet which do not generate enough opposition to keep them from being elected.

  18. Tim the Shrubber4/19/2010 1:39 PM

    "How about putting the $70K towards fixing the Dr. Laurel Clark Fountain so that children may enjoy it again?"

    Hmmmm...seems to me that a fountain should be pretty low on a list of priorities if we want to be fiscally responsible in dire economic times.

  19. Tim the Shrubber4/19/2010 1:55 PM

    "Payoffs for Friends (TINGLE)."

    Now that is one of the more absurd things that has been written here. I am not happy about the settlement (despite the failings of Becker and Hughes there seems to be ample evidence that Tingle was a problem employee...I mean, at my company I would get fired in a moment if I used sick leave for vacation), but there is no justification for saying that this is a payoff to Tingle from Dickert.

  20. Tim pull your head out of your ass please!

  21. Tim the Shrubber4/19/2010 3:38 PM

    Wow...I am hurt...head up my ass...ouch.

    Will you be my friend if I start talikng like this?

    "All the elected officials that I disagree with are evil, greedy, corrupt, self-serving, spineless, ignorant, tyrannical, devious, pompous, bottom-feeding, pandering bastards whom I have every right to insult, yell at, slander, exaggerate about, and such because I am a taxpaying voter damn it!

    "Why can’t we get any 100% perfect people to run to office?"

    I mean that pretty much sums up most of what I read on the Racine Post comments. Heck, I think I summarized 95% of what some posters write in two sentences.

  22. Tim, it is ALL about the failings of Becker and company. I agree with anon 2:21 who says, get your head out of your a**!

    There is no "ample evidence" that Sandi was a "problem employee". The only real (and proven) "problems" were Becker and Hughes.

  23. CAR25 serves the community. The community pays for CAR25. City Council voted unanimously to give CAR25 a $35,000 budget increase for additional equipment and staffing. The mayor then secretly reallocated this entire amount plus $5000 to give a cushy contract for 40k to an acquaintance of his, and since that was not approved, Helding & the mayor now want to take this $40,000 to payoff Sandy Tingle, instead of doing what city council voted on, which is to fund the channel's real needs including outdated equipment. If the community pays for the channel, they should have a say in where this money goes, and I don't think they would choose to take this away from CAR25 to payout Sandy Tingle.

    Racine Post - This line is complete BS. "Both the library and CAR25 have failed to spend the money despite support from the City Council and mayor to do so." Try again.

  24. Tim the Shrubber4/20/2010 8:56 AM

    "The only real (and proven) "problems" were Becker and Hughes."

    Hmmm...seems to me there was pleanty of documentation about Tingle taking sick time inappropriately on 05MAY2009 and 06MAY2008. I particularly like the 02MAY2008 e-mail from Frank Tingle telling a city employee that his wife was planning on being sick for those two days. Yep, all the City complaints about Tingle wholly lacked merit. {sarcasm}

    You might want to check out the stuff previously posted. The 126 page file tingleexhibits.pdf has some interesting stuff.

    I don't really havd a dog in this fight...I never knew Becker, Hughes or Tingle personally...but it is painfully obvious from what has been reported that they all had their problems.

  25. Becker should be ashamed of himself. He is being punished. Ben Hughes, he had to deal with someone who thought they were above the law because they had special connections to the mayor. Sandra Tingle is benefiting from all of this. Either her or her lawyer get on here and defend her actions like someone in town would be an ally of hers. Puhleeze. The whole thing stinks. Dickert is her Realtor. Then she is suing the city he is mayor of. Then the council settles even though she would have never won. Losers. I said it before and will say it again. She and her husband are losers. Did they ever pay for the trolley?

  26. Tim the Shrubber4/20/2010 9:22 AM

    "Dickert is her Realtor."

    Oh my gawd! Not her realtor! I had no idea they were so close. I mean, there are few human connections more intimate than the person you pay a commission to help sell your house. {sarcasm}

    "Then the council settles even though she would have never won."

    I think you are right that Tingle would not have won the suit in the long run, but the City had to make a hard calculation...would it have been worth it to win? Ultimately, they decided that it would be cheaper to settle...sure, they probably would have won, but would it have cost them more than $120k to do so? Given the cost so far that seems quite possible, and the City appears to have just cut its losses. Rational and makes sense to me.

  27. Jim the Irish Pubber4/20/2010 5:04 PM

    Tim the Shrubber, you are an ignorant fool.

    Ok, I've finally come out and said it publicly. I have been noticing the complete ignorance of Tim the Shrubber's posts for months now, and couldn't contain myself any longer.

  28. Tim the Shrubber4/20/2010 6:28 PM

    Yea...I have a troll! Now I know I have made it big time.

  29. maybe the city should just close the library. there is not enough money to keep it open so mr "chicken man" wants to siphon off more money from the only public site in town all the people can use. the money has not been spent? maybe they were saving it for next year. just because money is allocated does that mean it HAS to be spent? cannot the library choose how to spends its funds?

    if the money could not be used to increase hours then it needs to stay where it is. if the 2011 budget is already tight then we may have to decide which city servuces we can do without. lets start with free clinics