051915 js 0211.resizeVILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged at the latest golden parachute payout at Northern Illinois University.

News released today outlines NIU’s plan to pay President Doug Baker $600,000 plus benefits when he steps down later this month in the wake of the Illinois Inspector General’s investigation into illegal hires made by the university.  

“As students across the state of Illinois are struggling to pay tuition and fees, our public higher education institutions are handing out golden parachutes to disgraced administrators for violating taxpayers’ trust,” Cullerton said. “What message are we sending? This needs to stop now. Illinois needs to get out of the business of paying university administrators off for their mismanagement and failing to comply with state laws.”

Under the deal, Baker will receive a full year’s salary of $450,000 and $137,000 to not serve as a member of the College of Business faculty.  He also will be paid up to $30,000 for his "reasonable, unpaid expenses for legal counsel" related to his time at NIU.

“It is simple. If you mismanage state funds, you should not be rewarded,” Cullerton said.

The Inspector General’s report was publically released on May 31. The report details hires made by Baker and his administration that were paid contracts over $20,000, which are supposed to be subject to competitive bidding in accordance to state law. The jobs were incorrectly classified to get past the requirement according to the report.

The Chicago Tribune went on later to report that two of the nine employees involved in the hiring scandal made more than $400,000 for 15 and 18 months of work.

In the midst of the state’s budget impasse, NIU announced in May they will be eliminating and reducing 150 staff positions, which included 30 active employees. The active employees will have to transition to open positions across the university, exercise their civil service employment rights within their employment classifications or have contracts that will not be renewed.

“We are in the middle of a budget impasse. Every dollar, every penny, needs to be put toward the betterment and education of our children,” Cullerton said. “This deal is a betrayal of taxpayers’ trust. State dollars should not be used to line the pockets of failed administrators.”

Cullerton is calling for tougher regulations to stop state universities and community colleges from paying out administrators while under investigation or found guilty of university mismanagement

Category: Press Releases

IMG 0804ADDISON- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) wrapped up his series of property tax appeal seminars throughout DuPage County.

Cullerton hosted workshops with local Township Assessors in Addison, Bloomingdale and York townships earlier this month.

“This one-hour workshop gives DuPage residents insight into the property tax appeal process,” Cullerton said. “Education is key.  The more we do to educate people on how property tax appeals and calculations work, the easier they will be able to find savings.”

Cullerton and Addison Assessor Chris Kain hosted a well-attended seminar on Monday night at the Addison Public Library to guide area residents through the property tax appeal process.

“Anytime taxpayers are given an opportunity to learn more about the property tax appeal process, it is a productive day,” Kain said. “This was a wonderful opportunity for Senator Cullerton and myself to communicate and engage with local residents in an open dialogue that will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the appeal process.”

Cullerton looks forward to these annual workshops to give DuPage residents an opportunity to find savings in their property tax bills.

“I urge area residents to reach out to our office and local township assessors with any questions,” Cullerton said. “We are here to help you take advantage of all necessary tools to find savings in your property tax bills.”

Cullerton encourages residents to call his Villa Park office at (630) 903-6662 if they need help getting in contact with their local township assessors.

 

Category: Press Releases

TCullertonfloor2017VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) urges Governor Bruce Rauner to sign Senate 3, bipartisan government consolidation, into law today.

Senate Bill 3 is based on Cullerton’s DuPage County government consolidation model that is expected to save taxpayers more than $100 million over the next 20 years.

“The time to act is now,” Cullerton said. “This is a no brainer. I ask Governor Rauner to sign this legislation today to empower local bodies to eliminate and combine services. The best way for local government to lower property taxes is to find efficiencies. This one step will improve government services and lower property taxes without sacrificing the needs of residents.”

Cullerton acknowledges Illinois has more than 7,000 government units that are often duplicative and outdated. His initiative will allow those units to be consolidated and eliminated.

This legislation would enable Illinois to consolidate more units of government than any other state in the nation.

“This is monumental legislation,” Cullerton said. “The sooner we empower local bodies to eliminate and reduce redundant government services the faster we will see savings. Illinois cannot afford to wait.”

Cullerton agrees the best way to prompt action is to pass legislation with bipartisan support. Senate Bill 3 passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 49-3 and in the House 75-34-1.

“There is clear support in the General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 3,” Cullerton said. “Governor, let’s get it done. I look forward to the governor signing this legislation today to empower local control for local government to help our residents lower their property tax bills. Government works best when it evolves with the needs of the people.”

Senate Bill 3 is awaiting the governor’s signature to become law.

Roll calls of the latest House and Senate votes are available here.

Category: Press Releases

TC SchoolGangsVILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton passed a series of reforms to help lower Villa Park property taxes and ensure DuPage schools are fairly funded.
Cullerton worked to pass a series of reforms that will lead to property tax savings through government consolidation measures, property tax relief and working to guarantee Illinois schools are funded the right way.

Senate Bill 3, which will spread Cullerton’s bipartisan government consolidation model statewide, passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. This measure will allow counties to dissolve certain units of local government through a voter referendum.

“My goal is to save money, reduce taxes and make sure government is working for the people,” Cullerton said. “The best way to lower property taxes is to put government consolidation decisions in the hands of the people who receive the services. This one small step will lower property tax bills and streamline government services.”

Cullerton supported Senate Bill 1, which will help schools such as Villa Park School District 45, Queen Bee School District 16 and U-46, which have been shortchanged for decades under the existing education funding formula.

These districts could soon see a significant increase of funding to level the playing field with neighboring school districts but not at the expense of other schools. No school district in Illinois will lose funding under the new proposed formula.

The increase in funding to schools passed by the Senate this legislative session will work toward giving schools in need of extra support based on an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities and low-income students.

Superintendent Anthony Palmisano, Villa Park School District 45, joined superintendents, school administrators and educators across DuPage County and Illinois to support Senate Bill 1.

“Senate Bill 1 supports School District 45’s vision to prepare students to successfully navigate a changing and dynamic world. Past reform initiatives created winners and losers during a time when it is most critical to ensure all students have the tools necessary to succeed,” Palmisano said. “The funding initiatives attached to Senate Bill 1 consider the best teaching practices associated with ensuring those tools are available to all - the students, families, and educators not only in our community but in all communities across the state. We express our gratitude for the work done by our legislators on Senate Bill 1 and especially for the work completed by Senator Tom Cullerton.”  

The state’s school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation because it relies so heavily on local property taxes. Cullerton believes this funding plan will help DuPage residents in Villa Park, Lombard and Glendale Heights see lower property tax bills.

“Illinois needs to move toward a school funding system that is fair and gives all children, regardless of their ZIP code, a chance to succeed,” Cullerton said. “We are evening the playing field for children in districts such Villa Park District 45, Queen Bee and U-46 but not at the expense of the children attending other DuPage County schools. This funding method will move Illinois from a formula with winners and losers to a system that gives all of the children across our communities an opportunity to succeed.”

Here is the list of schools in the 23rd Senate District.

 

SB 1 100th GA MAY

Cullerton urges area residents to call his Villa Park Office at (630) 903-6662 if residents have any questions.

Category: Press Releases

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CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463