Local Opinion

Dem. Committeeman Eugene Schulter Responds To Allegations From CSJ Report

By Eugene Schulter | Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jordan Graham’s article, Politically Connected Group Gets City Contracts, $500K A Year For Little Work, disfavors the hard work and dedication of the many fine community groups and chambers of commerce in the 47th Ward.  It is difficult not to read this as a biased politically motivated article rather than an informative investigative report particularly since the two former Ravenswood Community Council board members quoted in the article are involved with the current Alderman’s organization.

Ravenswood Investigation Series
Ravenswood Council: $500k for Little Work

Frm. Ald. Schulter’s Response

Current Ald. Pawar’s Response

Ravenswood Chamber Financial Problems

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As the former Alderman of the 47th Ward, I respected all community organizations and chambers of commerce and worked to support their efforts to encourage economic development and needed social services. I would also like to point out that chambers of commerce and community groups control the hiring of their employees and community organizations are made up of voluntary board members. These dedicated residents take their time to make this a community where families want to raise their children and longtime senior residents want to stay. The 47th Ward would not be what it is today without the dedication of the many volunteers that take part in community organizations like the Ravenswood Community Council.

Eugene Schulter is the former Alderman of the 47th Ward.

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  • http://twitter.com/barnux Michael Barnicle

    I haven’t heard anybody contest the figures put forth in the article.  Mr. Schulter – our city is currently facing a $200 million dollar shortfall – we simply cannot afford to keep supporting inefficient organizations like the RCC.  Calling this article politically motivated or biased doesn’t change the reality that this organization is not serving our community in a fiscally responsible manner.  I for one welcome this new era of political transparency – taxpayers will no longer tolerate misappropriation of funds such as this.

    As a committeeman, I would have hoped you would share this view.

  • Anonymous

    Alderman Schulter has fed of the teat of the City of Chicago long enough. In addition to his various city saleries he has collected numerous real estate commisions concidered “referral fees” throughout his career. Yes his did have and may still have a Realtor@ liscence.  Time to get off the cash wagon. He’s has enough!!

  • Anonymous

    Hi, Gene,
    There’s nothing politically-motivated about wanting to stop the waste and excess of an organization that doesn’t benefit the community in which we live.  At a time when library funding is being cut, for the “Community” Council with no community constituency, (and appointed presidents who have no term limit, and who missed 19 month of meetings) to be garnering city funds is a travesty.   As for squelching the freedom of the press, I certainly hope you are not advocating that.

    For those on the “outside”, they are not aware that city funds are being channeled to an organization that politicians like yourself and the other members of the 47th ward political organization control.  Ms. Cameron and I are not politicians.  We are simply active, concerned community members.  You may note that I worked on several of your projects as well.  As far as being involved in electing the current alderman, I, for one, was not pleased that the head of the RCC board was the man who you nominated for alderman.   Had I felt that the RCC was a well-run, viable organization acting on behalf of the community, I, no doubt would have acted differently. 

    I should  note that the press, after securing damning documents, contacted me.  I did not contact them. 

    I feel I should also note that no mention was made, by yourself nor the RCC head, of the City of Chicago study in 2009 showing that the RCC shouldn’t be funded.  This is an objective measure, not my opinion nor yours.  There are now four staff members for the RCC (instead of the  one and a half existing in 2008), though 1/3 of the funds simply require the calling of a contractor. 

    No disrepect to the Chambers nor legitimate community organizations is intended.  You may not know, but I served on the board of a Chamber organization as well (comprised of independent community members).

    We have some stellar community organizations in our ward.  The Boys and Girls Club comes to mind, various food pantries and many others.  These all show very direct benefits for the community constituency they serve.  The board members have term limits and are not all affiliated with a political organization.  The administration cost is not the lion’s share of their budget.  

    What you don’t realize, Mr. Schulter, is that I also have great respect for the things you’ve done that make  Lincoln Square and the rest of the ward the wonderful place it is.  There are some fine aspects to your legacy.  The RCC is not one of them.  

    Want to convince the community members that the RCC should continue to exist?   Term limits for presidency starting now.  The presidency requires meeting attendance.  An elected, diverse board.  Administrative costs that comprise only 30% of the budget.  (The Better Business Bureau recommends that 5013C’s spend at least 65% on program activities . . . not  administrative salaries.)  A requirement of an active community constituency.  A transparent, publicized record of community activities.  Clearly defined job titles, timelines and budgets.  Common sense?  Sure.  Sounds like good governance, doesn’t it?

    Sincerely and constructively put forth by former RCC board member, Nancy Benjamin

  • Anonymous

    Is 47th Ward Democratic Committeeman Gene Schulter running for reelection for committeeman in the March 20, 2012 primary election? 

    It’s a question I asked Mr. Schulter’s staff Monday morning by telephone. The response, “I’ll pass the question along.” I’m still waiting.

    Joe Lake, Chicago

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