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Our View: Pension fund misuse is unacceptable

Published: Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:

Thumbs down: To officials past and present from the village of Island Lake for mismanaging more than $200,000 collected in police pension fund dollars by spending them to pay the village’s bills for unrelated matters. The village is supposed to simply collect the tax and hand it over to the pension board. The fact that they grabbed it for themselves is frankly appalling. Island Lake residents, and particularly members of the police department, should be outraged over the way this was handled, and an outside agency should conduct a thorough investigation.

Thumbs up: To the residents of Alden and Hebron for raising the money to light up the Alden-Hebron football field for the first time. The Giants, despite their name, are usually a small team that plays home games on Saturday afternoons out of necessity. But renting lights for the team’s final home game of the season Friday night will leave them with a memory they won’t soon forget.

Thumbs down: To President Barack Obama and the latest revelations about the U.S. spy program. Not only has the National Security Agency been tracking the phone records of its citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, it’s done the same thing with our closest allies in Europe. The NSA may even have tapped the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, severely damaging the trust U.S. allies have in our government. When Obama first ran for office, he said the U.S. had lost considerable standing in the world because of his predecessor’s foreign policy, and he intended to right the ship. Sorry, Mr. President. If anything, you’ve made things worse.

Thumbs up: To the Illinois Senate for approving legislation that allows $8.4 million from a defunct hospital to be returned to taxpayers. The measure now goes to the House. The Belleville News-Democrat reported that after Wood River Township Hospital in southern Illinois, which closed in 2000, paid out pension benefits and retired debt that the hospital fund still had $8.4 million. Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, said there were several suggestions for what to do with the money, but the fairest and most popular solution was to give it back to taxpayers who live in the hospital’s taxing district.

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