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But then there is this

Thursday, Sep 5, 2013

Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)

* We’re not number one…

* But then there is this…

In the fiscal year that just ended, the state let $135 million worth of no-bid, “emergency” contracts. That’s $34 million more than the year before, and 300 times the amount spent the last year of former governor Rod Blagojevich…A member of the state’s Procurement Policy Board suggests all the no-bid contracts could be the result of worker indifference or personnel shortages or “general incompetence.” Those are the most positive possibilities. This could also be corruption — a sly way to give contracts to friends, family and political cronies.

Whatever the explanation, it means that the taxpayers likely are overpaying for goods and services.

* And this…

More than 700 pages of emails the Tribune obtained through an open records request provide new insight into Scott’s recommendation and business dealings with Ahmad.

Before he arrived at City Hall, Ahmad served as Ohio deputy treasurer and awarded Scott’s firm $165,000 in bond business. After Scott joined the Emanuel administration, she selected a firm that employed Ahmad’s onetime boss, former Ohio treasurer Kevin Boyce, for hundreds of thousands of dollars in city bond work.

Boyce, too, recommended that Emanuel hire Ahmad. That backing came more than five months after he learned that federal authorities in Ohio were investigating his office, records show. A subpoena sought, among other things, the cellphone records of Boyce and Ahmad.

They got that from government emails?

* But then there is this...

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reversed course and will reappoint Inspector General Joseph Ferguson as City Hall’s top watchdog oversees a lengthy audit of work done by the mayor’s former comptroller, who abruptly resigned amid a federal bribery probe related to a previous government job in Ohio.

The mayor’s office confirmed Tuesday that Emanuel plans to reappoint Ferguson to a second four-year term. The decision comes after Emanuel earlier had suggested that Ferguson, who often criticizes the administration, would have to reapply for his job with his current term set to expire in November.

Emanuel aides maintain that Ferguson plans to serve only one more year, and in a statement, Ferguson suggested that’s about right. But once the inspector general’s appointment is approved by the City Council, the mayor would be at a loss to enforce a one-year limit if Ferguson decides there’s reason to stick around.

In its endorsement of the move, the Tribune editorial board said the episode was a distraction from “raising the bar on public schools, repairing the city’s disastrous finances, stemming the bloodshed in its streets.”

* But then there is this…

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has fired a top county ethics official who was trying to punish Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios for putting relatives on his payroll.

MaryNic Foster was quietly dumped from her $110,355-a-year post in May after five years as executive director of the county’s Board of Ethics…Foster said top aides to Preckwinkle didn’t give her a reason for removing her from the post she’s held since 2008 — a job that’s exempt from rules that ban political considerations from influencing county hiring or firing decisions….Maribeth Vander Weele, one of five ethics board commissioners, said she agreed with Preckwinkle’s decision because “the office needed to be professionalized. It has no investigative procedures. Case notes are hand-written. There are no standards for professional conduct. As aggressive as this office is, we need to make sure every investigation is thorough and objective.”

* But then there is this…

People who are appointed to any one of the more than 70 units of government by the chairman of the Lake County Board will now have to sign a “Standards of Conduct” saying they agree to follow ethical standards.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor announced the plan last week for the 300 appointees that sit on various boards and commissions and it will be voted on Sept. 10 by the full County Board.

* But then there is this…

A longtime Springfield power broker went to prison in Kansas after being convicted in a shakedown scheme at the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, but that very pension fund still cuts him a tiny check because he briefly taught at a public school decades ago.

The taxpayer-supported retirement checks keep flowing to ex-Rep. Roger Stanley and insider William Cellini because their crimes were not tied to the public jobs in which they earned the pension credit.

* And this…

An anonymous website is hosting numerous documents related to the St. Clair County Board, including minutes from a closed session discussing drug testing of county employees….The unknown publisher hopes the website enhances “government transparency and inform the residents of St. Clair County about what their representatives are doing.”

* And all of this, too…

* Aldermen, BGA applaud mayor for reappointing Ferguson

* City Council’s inspector could be in trouble, aldermen warned

* Yorkville awarded for online transparency

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        


19 Comments
  1. - MrJM - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    “Right in that meaty part of the curve — not showing off, not falling behind.” — George Costanza, The Van Buren Boys (1997)


  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 12:42 pm:

    Why does Emanuel have to import hinky financial types from Ohio? There are plenty on LaSalle Street already.


  3. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    Solid roundup. Shadiness with the Scott-Boyce-Ahmad-Emanuel connection.


  4. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    For the most part, no-bid contracts are not as sinister as people make them out to be. Most of our contracts are no-bid now, but were originally bid out. The same vendor maintains the contract because they developed the software (in this instance)and continue to maintain it.

    == member of the state’s Procurement Policy Board suggests all the no-bid contracts could be the result of worker indifference or personnel shortages or “general incompetence.”==

    This statement really disturbs me because as a member of the PPB this person can question these contracts. If they have such a concern maybe they should do their job if they think it’s an issue instead of dropping flippant remarks like this one, especially when they are, for the most part, wrong in their analysis.


  5. - Jimbo - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 1:27 pm:

    I’m sure the fact that standard procurements take six months longer now due to the new procurement rules has an effect on declared emergencies. An awful lot of stuff cannot wait long enough to go through the “new and improved” process.


  6. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    @Jimbo:

    That’s an excellent point. I would also add that all of these contracts are posted and objections can be filed. This doesn’t occur under the cover of darkness. I’m sure that there are a few exceptions but this insinuation that all of these no-bid contracts are some big conspiracy is simply not true.


  7. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    While I agree that no bid contracts don’t necessarily equate to scandal (some of the more sophisticated politically connected vendors probably simply win sham bid contracts), here’s an idea for the comptroller office - wherever possible, pay old bills to vendors who “won” no bid contracts after paying old bills to vendors who won bidded contracts. Make ‘em sweat a bit, shine a light.


  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 1:56 pm:

    Re: Most Corrupt State. I deMAND a recount!


  9. - RonOglesby - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    we’re not number one (state wise). I think that ranking is probably pretty close as far as states go.

    now if we compared to Chicago to 20 or 30 other major cities I am sure it would be closer to the top of the chart than Illinois is as a state.


  10. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    North Dakota? South Dakota? Who’d a thunk that?


  11. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 3:32 pm:

    Clouted money folks with ties to Rahm Emanuel using their insider connections to get state bond business? You don’t say.


  12. - Downstater - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 3:50 pm:

    Well, isn’t that just peachy. Sounds like a good public relations message. “We aren’t as bad as North or South Dakota or Louisiana and we are definitely warmer than the first two and cooler than the Louisiana!”


  13. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    The State procurement system is a mess - lots of worthless paperwork, it drags on and on, etc. Every time there’s a scandal a la Blago the GA passes ne


  14. - Mason born - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 4:39 pm:

    I don’t know the chart lists the states with the most CONVICTIONS for public corruption per 100K. I wonder is it that IL isn’t as corrupt or that one of the following;
    a. Our politicians are better at hiding it.
    b. We as a state accept a lot more corruption as common.
    c. Our population is large enough that we have more arrests than the others but their smaller pops make them stand out. FYI IL pop is larger than the first 6 combined. Case in point according to the raw data LA had from 2002 407 Cases handled by feds, ND 55, SD 57, and for us middle of the pack IL 493.

    So ya we need a recount big time.


  15. - Mason born - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 4:41 pm:

    sorry that should have said 2002 to 2012.


  16. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 5:33 pm:

    Oops. … the GA passes more requirements. Just once I wish they’d really go after the corrupt and leave the majority of State government employees alone so they could do their jobs without all the red tape.


  17. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 7:04 pm:

    Gee, at #16, we’re actually on the cusp of only being in the “Middle THIRD” of corrupt States…!!! Could that be a sign of hope for better things to come??


  18. - Holdingontomywallet - Thursday, Sep 5, 13 @ 9:33 pm:

    Dang it, those darn Illinois republicans!


  19. - Smitty Irving - Friday, Sep 6, 13 @ 1:14 am:

    The “emergency procurements” result from three main things: (1) ever changing and more complex statutes and administrative rules; (2) less staff; and (3) staff having to meet new educational training requirements, which takes time away from actual procurement work.

    IF the PBB thinks this is really important (Ed Bedore - this means you), they’ll go sit in the waiting room of Jerry Stermer until they get time with the GOMB Director, and impress upon him the important of beefing up procurement staff. Not holding my breath on that one.


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