Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project Shield and Cook County - Here's The Grant; Where's the Money

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." Self-audit by Irish soccer genius the late George Best

“When you waste Homeland Security money you are less safe,” Congressman Mike Quigley (D) IL. and Former Cook County Commissioner

Ahhhh! The indefinite pronoun You. An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that refers to one or more unspecified beings, objects, or places. You can mean anyone -even me.

Thus, let's talk about my part in this sordid affair - When I waste Homeland Security money, I am less safe.

I never get my hands on Homeland Security money; I am safe. I am safe because I never waste Homeland Security money. I believe that Senator Marque Kirgue ( R) IL and Congressman Mike "Too Tall" Quigley are on to something ( indefinite pronoun).

Here is the thing, Mike Quigley was a Cook Commissioner through the tenure of Stroger Pere and most of the tenure of Stroger Fil and he made life a bed of nails for both. Nothing got cleaned up, whatever that means, in Cook County government and nothing changed, but the gender and the shoes of the Cook County Board President. During those years of Quigley capers and cavorts, the diminutive plunger tweaked Sheriffs and County Employees and TIFS and managed to get appointed to Congress. Also, during those years, Wee Mike was custodian for the millions of dollars granted to Project Shield - a high tech communications relay for Cook County municipalities and Emergency First Providers - cops, firefighters and EMTs.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle pulled the plug on Project Shield* a few weeks ago.

Wee Mike was with Cook County Board and Kirque was in Congress.

They now are shaking jowls and thundering to the media, "What Happened? Where's the Money

These two lads just dandy little public piglets -Marque and Mike, but that's just me.

Me, I am a simple, quiet, pious man who loves his country and so I read and think about what I have read in order to raise a question or an eyebrow or two about people like Mike and Marque who fervently believe that we citizens are huge dopes. I know that I can be a dope; after all I voted for former Governor Pat Quinn. Early this beautiful January morning I decided to read the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) response to Marque and Mike.

On Page three of the DHS document is a Table -Table 1. of grants to Cook County FY 2003-2009

Table 1. UASI Grant Awards to Cook County, FYs 2003–2009
Project Shield
Total UASI Award UASI Funding UASI Funds Expended

2003 $12,848,927 $12, 399,292 $12,496,924
2004 $16,110,715 $11,303,495 $ 9,730,379
2005 $22,465,000 $15,836,810 $13,867,261
2006 $13,065,000 $5,210,254 $ 3,609,212
2007 $16,548,000 $3,000,000 $ 2,367,876
2008 $15,904,525 $5,331,425 $ 3,567,144
2009 $15,225,309 $5,622,756 $ 0

Total $112,167,476 $58,704, 032 $ 45,638,796
Source: Office of Inspector General (OIG) Analysis of FE

Okay - between 2003-2009 Cook County got between grants and funding a total in the amount of $ 179,871,508, or there abouts and expended $ 45, 638,796 which might leave a husky $125, 232,712. So, if EXPENDED means spent, out of the wallet, somewhere other than here, that must mean that there is a whole pile of DHS grant money somewhere. Don't it?

I gotta believe that the two sinister columns are the funds readily avaiable for use, or looting and that the dexter EXPENDED column represents what actually was used or looted.

Holy David Corzine!!!!

I read this passage again , after I read the conclusion drawn by the audit -

In a letter to the DHS Inspector General, Representative
Mike Quigley and Senator Mark Steven Kirk expressed concerns
about the vehicle used by the President of the Cook County Board
of Commissioners being equipped with Project Shield equipment.
They were concerned that these funds should be used for
emergency responders, not for executive transport.
According to Cook County personnel, Homeland Security funds
were used to retrofit the vehicle with communication equipment.
The rationale for installing this equipment was that the President of
the Cook County Board of Commissioners needed access to
current information to make real-time decisions during emergency
events in the county.
We found no specific grant guidance that
would disallow this cost.

Also this tidbit -

Of the 128 municipalities in Cook County, we found that:
• 32 never had equipment,
• 9 left the program after participating in the project, and
• 87 have Project Shield equipment, of which 71 have
vehicle video systems.

We visited 15 municipalities, which included 14 police departments
and 4 fire departments, and found numerous problems, including
equipment malfunctions, unused equipment, and uncertainty on
how to operate the equipment. We could not determine the exact
cause of the equipment problems but noted that many users of the
Project Shield vehicles did not have the necessary training on the

The results of our 15 visits identified the following:
• 4 of 15 municipalities returned all of their Project Shield
vehicle equipment,
• 10 of 15 municipalities complained about either a lack of
training or the quality of training provided,
• 7 of 11 municipalities with equipment complained about
current service, and Homeland Security Grant Program Funds Awarded for Project Shield
• 4 of 11 municipalities with equipment were unable to or
unsure how to transmit video from the vehicle to the
command center.
Discussions with police personnel revealed that their primary
interest was to record and obtain video for criminal evidence.
They were uncertain whether they could transmit live video to a
monitoring station, allowing an emergency event to be managed
from a remote location.
We also analyzed trouble tickets (a reporting tool used to track
equipment issues) for the last 3 months of calendar year 2010, and
found that 62 municipalities submitted 122 trouble tickets for
equipment malfunctions, such as the inability to access database
records in the vehicle.

Now the auditors' Conclusion -

FEMA, the State of Illinois, the Urban Area Working Group, and
Cook County did not ensure the effective implementation of
Project Shield
. The lack of planning was evidenced by faulty
equipment, questionable locations for the equipment, and inability
to integrate with existing communication equipment. The mobile
video systems were not adequately tested to ensure that they could
be operated effectively during an emergency. Project Shield
expenditures were not adequately authorized, supported, and
verified. The weaknesses can be attributed to Cook County’s
inadequate management of the project, as well as the ineffective
monitoring by FEMA and the State of Illinois.
( emphasis my own)

The Auditors did not use any indefinite pronoun and they used the past tense COOK COUNTY DID NOT ENSURE EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECT SHIELD. Mike Quigley was, if I recall, Cook County Commissioner watching every penny from 1998 -2009.
Senator Marque Kirque was . . .well, Rep. Marque Kirque. That was then; this is now?

The lads will employ them indfinte pronouns and this head-scratcher will go largely ignore . . .saving the House of Pain soon to visit Stroger Fil.

Someone will say " You mean Me, too?"

Project Shield was previously conceived by Cook County officials and begun in 2004. The objective of the project was to provide situational awareness through audio, video and data communications from police squad cars back to their department headquarters, as well as to the County and to deploy fixed site-cameras at various locations.
Toni Preckwinkle' office June 30, 2011

Quigley was first elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1998. During his tenure he has gained a reputation as a reformer as he opposed tax hikes supported by Cook County Board President John Stroger, and later his son and successor Todd Stroger. He contended the county could operate more efficiently and he presented reports to support the position. Quigley also challenged the practice of finding jobs for Democratic officials with the Cook County Forest Preserve District

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