Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 3: Bob McQuillan

Editor's note: This is the eighth of a 10-part countdown of articles looking back at the Geneva newsmakers of 2012. The No. 1 newsmaker will be Geneva Patch's 2012 "Person of the Year."

  • Editor's note: This is the eighth of a 10-part countdown of articles looking back at the Geneva newsmakers of 2012. The No. 1 newsmaker will be Geneva Patch's 2012 "Person of the Year."


Bob McQuillan arguably could have been the No. 1 newsmaker of 2012. Certainly his name showed up in many of the top stories of the year.

Whether you think Bob McQuillan is champion of the people or meanspirited obstructionist, the one thing just about everyone can agree on regarding the TaxFACTS co-founder is that he shows up and speaks his mind.

The TaxFACTS citizens group grew in prominance in 2012 for at least three reasons:

  • More of its members came to the podium at board meetings, particularly during the high-profile, highly attended School Board meetings where teacher contract negotiations were discussed.
  • The organization deserves credit—or blame, depending on your point of view—for bringing to light the skewed enrollment numbers presented to the public prior to the 2007 building bond referendum, an issue that came to be known as "Enrollmentgate."
  • The group built and added School Board videos to its website and conducted public forums aimed at helping citizens better understand the intricacies of school budgets and school spending.

Among the top stories of 2012, McQuillan's name pops up frequently.

  • He spoke out in February against the anonymous donation that led to the construction of a new artificial turf surface at Burgess Field.
  • He was among the first to criticize Mayor Kevin Burns for the use of a city cell phone for campaign discussions and called for an independent investigation of the mayor.
  • He spoke up and posted his opinions online during the School District 304 and the city of Geneva tax levy process, calling for local government to hold the line on spending.
  • He and the TaxFACTS group's relentless pressure were cited—not publicly, but frequently off the record—as reasons that led to Tim Moran's decision to resign as School Board president in January.
  • TaxFACTS members called for School Board resignations in light of the "Enrollmentgate" revelations.
  • He and the TaxFACTS group were the voices opposing a sea of green shirts at School Board meetings prior to the 11th-hour contract negotiations that averted a teachers strike.
  • He and TaxFACTS took stands on virtually every School Board vote, including the enrollment bubble at Mill Creek Elementary, grade-school redistricting and the proposed sale of the Coultrap building.

McQuillan also jumps into the "Newsmakers of 2012" list because of his curious announcement that he will run for mayor—an announcement that earns the adjective because McQuillan has focused the vast majority of his time and attention to School Board rather than City Council issues.

Whether McQuillan is making a serious run at the office or is simply using the campaign as a "bully pulpit" for the TaxFACTS group likely will be revealed in the amount of spending of his campaign between now and the April 9 election.

Without a doubt, McQuillan was a Geneva newsmaker in 2012 and will be again in 2013.


Related Articles

  • QuickStory: Task Force Calls for Coultrap Demolition
  • Reports: Geneva TaxFACTS Leader McQuillan Will Run for Mayor
  • Search Ended For Missing Local Man
  • QuickStory 2: School Funding Is One Fine Mess
  • TaxFACTS Member Asks for Resignations Over 'Enrollmentgate'
  • QuickStory: Grosso on 'Enrollmentgate'—'We Can't Go Back in History'
  • 8 Essays: Why Enrollmentgate Shouldn't 'Just Go Away'
  • QuickStory: School District Responds to Claims of Impropriety
  • Moran Resigns as Geneva School Board President


The Series

  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 10: Jenny McCarthy
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 9: Pam Broviak
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 8: Todd Searcy
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 7: Steve LeMaire
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 6: Kevin Burns
  • Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 5: Nicole Wiesner
  • Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 4: Joe Stanton
  • Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 3: Bob McQuillan
  • Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 2: Carol Young
  • Geneva Patch Person of the Year 2012: Mark Grosso

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JsP January 01, 2013 at 01:18 AM
My guess is that spots #2 and #1 will go to a couple of very worthy 5th ward aldermen (present and past). But as far as bringing some important fiscal issues to light and inspiring a large portion of the community (myself included) from move from apathy to action - I think Bob was the "person of the year"
Geneva Resident January 01, 2013 at 01:51 AM
This past year I have gained a lot of respect for Bob McQuillan watching him speak at the public meetings. He has the courage to speak his mind when the truth is hard to state, and his opinion often reflects the majority. I am excited that he is running for Mayor, he will do well representing the best interests of the folks of Geneva.
Janis Creason January 02, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Our loss was Geneva's gain. Our town benefited greatly from Bob's ability to breakdown and articulate complex topics of importance to the taxpayers. Although we'd rather have him as our mayor, hope he becomes yours!


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