GOP House Leader Blasts Lyons Township Treasurers Office – Patch.com

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LA GRANGE, IL — House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says he has tried for years to pass legislation to allow Lyons Township High School to separate from the Lyons Township Treasurer’s office.

But the Western Springs representative says he has failed largely because of one person’s efforts — Sen. Steven Landek, D-Bridgeview. He said Landek controls everything that goes on in the treasurer’s office, which provides financial services for a dozen school districts.

“This is old Democrat politics providing jobs and contracts to friends and family,” Durkin said in an interview Thursday. “There is some value that Landek and his cronies get from it.”

Landek and Treasurer Ken Getty did not return calls for comment.

Durkin said his first step the last few years has been trying to pass a bill that would let Lyons Township High School leave the treasurer’s office, as it has wanted to do for years. After that, he said he would like to let all the member districts have the right to separate from the office. For instance, Western Springs School District 101 would like to have that power.

Durkin said many residents in the Lyons Township High School area understand “the scheme” with the office.

“I know people have said, ‘Why can’t we get this done?’ Every time, my bill is blocked by Landek. I don’t have a way to get around it,” Durkin said. “Landek has been the problem.

At one time, treasurer’s offices across the state managed finances for school districts. In the early 1960s, though, the state passed a law abolishing the offices everywhere but Cook County.

In 1999, the high school and the treasurer’s office agreed the school would no longer have to pay for services it did not access from the office.

But in 2013, in the wake of the embezzlement by then-Treasurer Robert Healy, the treasurer’s office told the high school it would no longer recognize the 1999 agreement. That’s when litigation began.

After an eight-year legal battle, a state judge ruled last month that the high school could separate from the treasurer’s office. Now, the high school has led a campaign to pressure the office not to appeal. The office’s board met this week, but Getty has not returned calls about what decision, if any, the board made about an appeal.

The litigation has cost the treasurer’s office $4.1 million, while the high school says it has covered its costs through insurance.

In a recent interview, Treasurer Getty said the treasurer’s office has benefitted taxpayers by centralizing local districts’ finance functions into one office.

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June 18, 2021 at 08:37AM

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