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Evanston City Clerk Rodney Greene has billed taxpayers $5,305 over the past two years to have himself listed in a publication called Continental Who’s Who.

Evanston Now was alerted to the expenditures by Devon Reid, Greene’s opponent the upcoming April 4 election for clerk.

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Who’s Who publications are widely considered to be vanity publishing scams.

And Continental Who’s Who, based in Valley Stream, New York, has been the subject of mostly negative reviews on the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York website.

Greene’s listing on the Continental Who’s Who website.

Greene says he signed up to be listed by Continental in 2015 based on a phone solicitation from a caller who said he’d been recommended for inclusion by one of his college classmates.

In addition to an initial payment of $838, Greene says he’s made three subsequent payments to the company, of $989, $1,489 and $1,989. He says he now has a paid-up lifetime membership.

Greene says he was unaware of claims that such publications may be scams and that he had made several useful networking connections as a result of having his biographical sketch published, including help in setting up a new group called Clerks for Christ.

In addition to the website posting, Continental Who’s Who provided Greene with a list of scores of publications to which his biographical sketch had been distributed via PR Newswire. But little evidence could be found online today that a significant number of publications published the news release.

“It is an expense I felt was worthwhile. The connections I have made have been beneficial to me in being the best Clerk this City has seen,” Greene said.

But Reid says Greene should repay the taxpayers for the money spent on Who’s Who.

“The more than $5,000 in wasted funds could have been used to increase awareness of our upcoming elections,” Reid said. “Evanston’s clerks should promote open government and elections, not themselves.”

There are other, less expensive options for professional networking, including free online services like LinkedIn — which claims 467 million members worldwide. And Clerk Greene does have a LinkedIn profile.

The clerk’s office, which has just three employees including Greene, has a modest budget for services and supplies, and the payments to the Who’s Who publisher amounted to essentially all the funds allocated to the “membership dues” line item the past two years.

Greene or his deputies also made six city-paid out-of-town trips to conferences during 2016, including to events in Nashville, Tennessee and Reno, Nevada.

And he’s already made reservations for an International Institute of Municipal Clerks conference to be held in Montreal in late May, after the April election.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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10 Comments

  1. Excellent work, Devon Reid.

    Excellent work, Devon Reid. Taxpayers should NOT pay for scams like this that most people do not use or respect. Greene’s free Linkedin profile should suffice, as Linkedin profiles do for everyone else. I agree that Greene should do the right thing and return the money on behalf of all taxpayers.

     

    Bill Smith, thank you for publishing this story (and for all your coverage of this local election season).

  2. Aren’t aldermen & mayoral

    Aren’t aldermen & mayoral candidates Tendam & Miller suppose to be on the lookout for frivolous expenses like these?  Time for new leadership.

  3. Who’s who is a complete waste

    Who’s who is a complete waste of money. Disappointed to hear about this.  Did these expenses get put on the bills list, Bill?

  4. A fresh invoice

    This is not a big deal guys … of course I’m assuming Mayor Tisdahl will be handing Rodney an invoice to repay the funds the city approved for this silly listing … right?

  5. Greene and his deputies

    First, he should pay the money back without question.  What a waste of taxpayer money!  If it was his own money, would he have paid over $5000?  Also, who is checking the value of the conferences and the expenses from the trips to Nashville and Reno?

  6. Are you kidding

    Greene should not only pay the money back to he city, he should be removed from his job. This amounts to theft of taxpayer money and a possible charge of grand larceny. Iam surprised that others are saying he should pay back the money.

    Greene should be thourghly investigated for other possible thefts of taxpayer money.  

    1. Expenses

      So…WHO exactly approved these invoices?   the council?  the mayor? the people in the purchasing/bills department?  Whoever it was…shame on all of you!   Give the money back, Mr. Greene!

  7. Six Conferences!?
    Conferences are a perk and less often a learning opportunity worth the cost. I would bet each one of those conferences cost taxpayers thousands of dollars for attendance fees, travel, transportation, food and entertainment. I am a bit outraged that my public representatives can justify the extreme spending involved with conferences.

    1. city clerk

      Who’s Who? Repay the money and vote this guy out of office. Hope Mayor Tisdahl is on this because we taxpayers will be.

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