The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:
Thumbs up: To the School District 155 teachers union for continuing to work while it negotiates a new contract with the school board. The previous contract expired June 30, and the two sides have yet to reach an agreement on a new deal. District 155 teachers are among the highest paid in the state, and as unemployment remains high and the state’s financial picture bleak, any new contract must be palatable to already struggling taxpayers.
Thumbs down: To construction crews not being more careful as they work. There were three gas leaks in the county this week because of construction crews hitting gas lines as they worked. The leaks shut down roads and caused business and residential evacuations, including the Thursday evacuation of Heritage Woods of Huntley. Residents of the assisted living center were taken to the nearby Huntley Fire Station 3, and then shuttled by ambulances and buses to Huntley Village Hall as a precaution. Crews from 19 area departments, as well as a District 158 school bus and a Grafton Township bus, were used in the process. While it’s understandable that leaks happen during construction, they cause headaches for motorists, and, in the case of Thursday’s incident, caused unnecessary stress for those residents and burden on those local services.
Thumbs up: On construction of Crystal Lake South’s football bleachers being completed in time for Friday’s home-opener football game against Marian Central while the case is decided in court.
Thumbs down: To state officials who authorized more than $135 million in emergency no-bid contracts during the most recent fiscal year. That’s about 33 percent more than the year before and 300 percent higher than what was recorded during the last year of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration. No bid contracts cost taxpayers a lot in wasted money. They are used in emergencies when agencies scramble to buy goods and services because of human error, one member of Illinois’ Procurement Policy Board said. Such disregard for taxpayer money and fiscal responsibility is maddening and far too common in state government.