College of DuPage

COD – School Administration for Dummies –

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

For years we have been speaking at public meetings across this state and one of the most common suggestions I have for elected and appointed officials is to ask two simple questions before they take action on anything.

Says Who, and With What Proof?

We have heard and read the following statement many times from public officials: “We don’t have to bid this out because they are a professional service.”  This seems to be the norm for COD when it comes to contracts with their Foundation Board members.

We know who is saying it but what proof have they offered the board of trustees that their word can be trusted, thus the need for the question, “With What Proof”?

In the case of COD, they continue to cite the Community College Act (CCA) as their justification for not bidding, which does offer some exemptions from bidding but not specifically in the case of an Architect.  In fact, the CCA specifically mandates other laws apply, and they name one in particular that I referenced in this recent no bid contract article.

(50 ILCS 510/) Local Government Professional Services Selection Act.

Note the word “Selection” in the title.  Does it take a PhD to know the meaning of that word?

  • Selectionan aggregate of things displayed for choice, purchase, use, etc.; a group from which a choice may be made:

(50 ILCS 510/1) Sec. 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the political subdivisions of the State of Illinois to negotiate and enter into contracts for architectural, engineering and land surveying services on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications for the type of services required and at fair and reasonable compensation.

To date, we have found no evidence in the records that Herricane Graphics has demonstrated competence and qualifications as outlined in the Local Government Professional Services Selection Act.

(50 ILCS 510/5) (from Ch. 85, par. 6405)  Sec. 5. Evaluation Procedure. A political subdivision shall, unless it has a satisfactory relationship for services with one or more firms, evaluate the firms submitting letters of interest, taking into account qualifications, ability of professional personnel, past record and experience, performance data on file, willingness to meet time requirements, location, workload of the firm, and such other qualifications-based factors as the political subdivision may determine in writing are applicable.

The game that gets played is to use that clause “unless it has a satisfactory relationship for services with one or more firms”, as their justification to hire their hand picked Foundation Board Members.

This is where School Administration for Dummies comes into play!  Can anyone tell me how a satisfactory relationship for services was ever established?

In order to first have a satisfactory relationship for services you must go through the selection process.

(50 ILCS 510/6) (from Ch. 85, par. 6406)
Sec. 6. Selection procedure. On the basis of evaluations, discussions and presentations, the political subdivision shall, unless it has a satisfactory relationship for services with one or more firms, select no less than 3 firms which it determines to be the most qualified to provide services for the project and rank them in order of qualifications to provide services regarding the specific project. The political subdivision shall then contact the firm ranked most preferred and attempt to negotiate a contract at a fair and reasonable compensation, taking into account the estimated value, scope, complexity, and professional nature of the services to be rendered. If fewer than 3 firms submit letters of interest and the political subdivision determines that one or both of those firms are so qualified, the political subdivision may proceed to negotiate a contract pursuant to this Section and Section 7.
(Source: P.A. 85-854.)

I have been assured this process was never followed with COD and their Architect contract with Herricane Graphics. We have submitted numerous Freedom of Information requests pertaining to these obligations and will update as that information is provided to us.  My prediction is going to be they have no records responsive to my request!

Best question ANY elected official can ask before ever taking action?

  • Where in the statute does it give me the power to do what you are asking me to do?

If your administration can not show you the legislative power that permits you to do what ever it is they want you to do, DON’T DO IT!

 

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