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Tollway chairman forms new committee after Senate hearings

Thursday, Jul 26, 2018

* It’s the morning, so I’m hesitant to declare this the best tweet of the day, but it’s clearly the frontrunner…



* Why is it so good? I didn’t get to this topic yesterday, but we talked a bit about the Senate Transportation Committee’s hearing about the Tollway before it happened. The hearing was called after Marni Pyke wrote a series of stories for the Daily Herald. From her committee coverage

Amid a call for resignations, Illinois tollway executives fielded questions from state senators about potential nepotism and politically connected PR subcontracts Wednesday at a special hearing.

“You need to fight against conflicts of interest,” former tollway director and former Democratic Sen. Bill Morris of Grayslake testified. “You need to not have these conflicts of interest.”

And to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who appoints the tollway board, Morris said: “This tollway board needs to be asked to resign.”

But tollway officials said they’d “set the record straight.

“What was demonstrated is that the safeguards and mechanisms enacted to ensure transparency and protection against potential conflicts of interest work,” Executive Director Liz Gorman said.

* Tribune

In response to questions about why the Tollway would need a multimillion-dollar public relations contract when it already has an 11-member internal communications team that costs about $1.6 million a year, Tollway officials said additional communications work is needed to reach out to hundreds of homeowners who will be affected by the planned expansion of I-294.

The most critical and colorful statements at the hearing came not from current state senators but from former Democratic state Sen. Bill Morris, a former Tollway board member. Morris has frequently expressed criticism of the current board, appointed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Morris said Tuesday that board members were not doing their jobs in properly reviewing contracts and should resign.

“There’s never a ‘no’ vote on the Tollway board anymore,” Morris said.

Morris also recommended that the state end the $30,000 annual salaries for Tollway board members and replace them with a limited $150 per diem for attendance at each meeting, and require all board members, administrators and senior executives to regularly disclose to the public any contacts with firms seeking contracts with the Tollway.

* AP

Former Democratic state Sen. Bill Morris is also a former Tollway board member. He told the committee that board members weren’t properly reviewing contracts and should resign. Morris is a frequent critic of the current board, appointed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. […]

Morris said the state should require all board members, administrators and senior executives to regularly disclose to the public any contacts with firms seeking contracts with the Tollway.

So, yeah, I’m thinking Yvette is right.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Deadbeat Conservative - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:00 am:

    ===board members weren’t properly reviewing contracts and should resign. Morris is a frequent critic of the current board, appointed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. […===

    This is were JB needs to hit Rauner. Rauner’s original selling point was that he was a successful business man and would bring those skills to improve IL gub’mint. Take this, questionable leases, wasteful consultant contracts, value-detracting budget games, and costly mistakes and mismanagement within agencies and you illustrate how costly a Bruce Rauner gub’nership can be.


  2. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    “Did the Dems get a replacement for the girl running against Mike McAuliffe who dropped out.”

    “Girl.”

    Really.

    If there’s a female candidate, she would be a woman, and would you refer to a male candidate or official as a “boy”?


  3. - unspun - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    The Tollway does IDOT patronage and graft better than IDOT.


  4. - Fax Machine - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    I would say boy or kid if it was a young male candidate.


  5. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    =Tollway officials said additional communications work is needed to reach out to hundreds of homeowners who will be affected by the planned expansion of I-294.=

    So the current 11-member team cannot write a letter? I suppose they will blame that on public schools.


  6. - Anon2099 - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    ==I would say boy or kid if it was a young male candidate==

    You forgot to add “black” Fax Machine.


  7. - Duopoly - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    =would you refer to a male candidate or official as a “boy”?=

    Yes. We have plenty GOP good ole boys in office.


  8. - Fax Machine - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:18 am:

    Until you’re elected you’re a girl or a kid if you’re a young candidate.

    Aaron Ortiz was the kid running against Dan Burke.

    Will Guzzardi was the kid running against Toni Berrios


  9. - Thomas Paine$6 - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    $6.5 million for outreach to a couple hundred homeowners?

    Pretty sure they could have hired A Guy to knock on doors for a whole lot less.

    Maybe even do some polling, he seems to be a bit of a Renaissance Precinct Captain.

    Dear Someone: file a FOIA for a copy of all billing, logs, phone records, work product for the firm. Let’s see what $6.5 M gets us.


  10. - A guy - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    ==$6.5 million for outreach to a couple hundred homeowners?

    Pretty sure they could have hired A Guy to knock on doors for a whole lot less.===

    Hmm. I don’t know. The houses are kinda far apart in those areas, and determining which door is the front door can be tough. But for $6.5 Mil, I’m pretty sure I could get 2 or 3 others to help.

    Sweet of you to think of me Paine. Your name fits you.


  11. - theCardinal - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:32 am:

    Wonder how many times the former board member Morris called to director and asked for professional favors for someone while he was on the Board ? Careful what you bring up


  12. - Just Me - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    I find it interesting that these Democratic legislators want scrutiny into the Tollway’s hiring of relatives of Republican politicians, but those same Democratic legislators were unconcerned about the same activity at the RTA when it was relatives of Democratic politicians.

    At least with the latter there was real inappropriate behavior to look at: https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141017/news/141018334/


  13. - Board Watcher - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:39 am:

    Did Morris take the salary at tollway and ILCC when he was aboard member? Didnt he have a daughter who worked at the tollway? I guess that dosent count


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    Fax Machine, don’t try to defend it. You’re gonna lose. Bad form. Plus, I deleted it anyway.

    Let’s all move along.


  15. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 10:43 am:

    Very few clean hands here and the whining of a former Dem. tollway operative are suspect. Did he refuse his salary? But I do agree that if you want to end the graft, end the salaries for the tollway “commissars”, in fact no elected official in Illinois should be getting a salary unless it’s a full time job. Any bets on that ever happening.


  16. - Deadbeat Conservative - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 11:07 am:

    =Did Morris take the salary at tollway and ILCC when he was aboard member? Didnt he have a daughter who worked at the tollway? I guess that dosent count=

    Blame the whistleblower - you must work for the gub’mint.
    Also how does lack of perfection on the accusers’ part obsolve the current memembers of self dealing and corruption?
    You re really shakin’ up it there.


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    –$6.5 million for outreach to a couple hundred homeowners?–

    To a firm owned by a GA member’s wife.

    That’s the best they could come up with? Millions in no-bid outside flackery needed to contact “hundreds?”

    Who’s the U.S. attorney these days, again?


  18. - Cocoa Dave - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 12:26 pm:

    Years ago with much fanfare Quinn created the office of Tollway Inspector General. This seems like the perfect case for them to investigate.


  19. - Tinley Pk - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 12:34 pm:

    Liz Gorman having to field questions about nepotism and inside deals, no way! Maybe someone should ask her how her husband, Gerald Gorman, ended up a few months ago as a Commissioner on the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.


  20. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 1:39 pm:

    Word, we just blew it when we didn’t run with the Consulting Firm.

    $32,500 per household? Are they gonna give each family a man cave to hide the road noise?


  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===we just blew it when we didn’t run with the Consulting Firm.===

    Every day I blame myself.

    Every single day.


  22. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 1:51 pm:

    –Word, we just blew it when we didn’t run with the Consulting Firm.–

    This one might be over the line. There’s that old saying about who gets fat and who gets slaughtered…


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    The explanation for public relations firm doesn’t pass smell test. The selection process Toll Highway used for here is supposed to be limited to land surveying, engineering and architecture services. Contracts for public relations are bid different. Should have been its own contract.

    Something else that stinks is Rauner’s “independent” CPO who decided just about this time to pull out of review process. Who pressured her on this? Coincidence?


  24. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 3:01 pm:

    And in other Tollway news: Last night the Tollway held a “Open House” regarding the potential extension of Rt. 53 in Lake County, IL. They not only held it no where near where the extension would go (Lakemoor vs Long Grove), but it was held at Countryside Banquet Hall, owned by, and occupying the same building by, Operating Engineers Local 150….the road builders. And the president of Local 150 just happens to be James M. Sweeney, who until a few months back served as a director on the Tollway board. Nothing to see here….move along….


  25. - M - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 6:28 pm:

    “Morris said the state should require all board members, administrators and senior executives to regularly disclose to the public any contacts with firms seeking contracts with the Tollway. ”

    Funny how he is just now concerned about this board. What have they been doing the past 4 years?


  26. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 9:05 pm:

    This is going great.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-biz-tollway-board-threats-20180726-story.html


  27. - Let's Do What's Right - Thursday, Jul 26, 18 @ 9:41 pm:

    Should Bob Schillerstrom really be heading this committee? He is one of the people who has a conflict of interest. Doesn’t sound right to me.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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