Illinois (ECWd) -
While researching contract issues with numerous public bodies there appears to be a pattern established. A pattern that points to total disregard for procurement laws as well as spending taxpayer funds on things that are not part of their statutory duties.
The first concern is the number of agencies that issue no bid contracts and claim "professional services". We saw a lot of those no bid contracts with the College of DuPage, when in fact the business getting the contract had no professional license at all.
One of the names that kept popping up in our research was Scott Marquardt. Currently his firm, Roger C. Marquardt & Company, has contracts with a large number of public bodies and some of those were obtained on a no bid bases. (Click here for snap shot of his client list from their web site)
Two that were of interest missing from his list on their web site is a contract with the Illinois State Police Merit Board (ISPMB) and a claimed representation in his Resume provided to COD reporting he is a lobbyist for the Illinois Development Finance Authority. Both the ISPMB and IFA are state agencies. (See page 10 of his resume supplied to COD)
According to the IFA, Howard Kenner Government Consulting has been their lobbyist for the last ten years. In fact, dating back to 2005, there have been no contracts or payments by the IFA to Roger Marquardt at all. That being the case, why did he list them on the past and present client list for the COD lobbying contract? (Click here for IFA FOIA response)
What does state law say about state agencies and lobbyists?
(25 ILCS 170/11.3)
Sec. 11.3. Compensation from a State agency. It is a violation of this Act for a person registered or required to be registered under this Act to accept or agree to accept compensation from a State agency for the purpose of lobbying legislative action.
With that in mind, the IFA has a problem because they are spending money on a lobbyist in direct violation of the law. More on that in another article.
I sumbitted a FOIA to the ISPMB for "Copy of all contracts between the ISP Merit Board and Roger C. Marquardt & Co., Inc. (Lobbyist) in the last 10 years and "Copy of all payments made to Roger C. Marquardt & Co., Inc. in the last 10 years. "
The response was quite telling. They sent me 4 years worth of contracts. One would assume that since they sent the contracts they are lobbying contracts, however that is not the case. The contracts provided were not lobbying contracts. but instead they were "Consulting" contracts. Amazing how one word allows them to circumvent one law.
Since they are consulting contracts then state funds "could" be used on them, provided that particular public body is authorized to spend money for a consultant.
The contract specifically spells out "to perform "Consulting" services for tracking legislation". The contract turns out to be a NO BID, NO RFP awarded contract for $30,000.00 a year.
What is the statutory obligations of the ISP Merit Board?
(20 ILCS 2610/8) (from Ch. 121, par. 307.8)
Sec. 8. The Board shall exercise jurisdiction over the certification for appointment and promotion, and over the discipline, removal, demotion and suspension of Department of State Police officers. Pursuant to recognized merit principles of public employment, the Board shall formulate, adopt, and put into effect rules, regulations and procedures for its operation and the transaction of its business. The Board shall establish a classification of ranks of persons subject to its jurisdiction and shall set standards and qualifications for each rank. Each Department of State Police officer appointed by the Director shall be classified as a State Police officer as follows: trooper, sergeant, master sergeant, lieutenant, captain, or major, or as a Special Agent, Special Agent Sergeant, Special Agent Master Sergeant, Special Agent Lieutenant, Special Agent Captain or Special Agent Major.
(Source: P.A. 84-25.)
Does ANYONE see anything in the statute that outlines the obligations of the ISP Merit Board to engage in tracking legislation?
More disturbing is the fact that during recent appropriation hearings in Springfield, representatives for the ISPMB acknowledged the contract with Marquardt and said that they do legal work for them.
That is problematic for the ISPMB because the contract they have is NOT for legal work. More disturbing is the responsive records for all the work product did not contain ANY legal work. It produced nothing but a bunch of emails from Marquardt to the ISPMB with information on bills in Springfield.
The ISPMB acknowledged legal work yet it is the Attorney General who is to represent all state agencies as their attorney. Those agencies do not have the power to hire an attorney without express authority by the AG. In an effort to keep this simple though, let's go back to Dillon's Rule on this and see if ISPMB has violated their specific statute.
What can ISPMB money be spent on?
20 ILCS 2610/7.2) The moneys deposited in the State Police Merit Board Public Safety Fund shall be appropriated to the State Police Merit Board for expenses of the Board for the administration and conduct of all its programs for State Police personnel.
Is tracking legislation a program for State Police personnel?
Not only is spending money to track legislation for the ISPMB not authorized, let's now look at how these $30,000 no bid contracts violate state procurement laws!
(30 ILCS 500/20-5)
Sec. 20-5. Method of source selection. Unless otherwise authorized by law, all State contracts shall be awarded by competitive sealed bidding, in accordance with Section 20-10, except as provided in Sections 20-15, 20-20, 20-25, 20-30, 20-35, 30-15, and 40-20. The chief procurement officers appointed pursuant to Section 10-20 may determine the method of solicitation and contract for all procurements pursuant to this Code. (Source: P.A. 98-1076, eff. 1-1-15.)
The four contracts the ISPMB has with Marquardt were all done under a no bid process! (Click here for the most recent contract awarded)
We also obtained confirmation from the Chief Procurement Office that no waiver has ever been issued for these contracts that would allow them to not be bid!
Tax Payer Concerns:
- $30,000.00 a year to track legislation........that can be done for FREE with a phone app!
- ISPMB funds being used outside of statutory authority as tracking legislation is not their job.
- ISPMB issuing a no bid contract for $30,000.00 in violation of state procurement law.
- ISPMB telling legislatures the work performed is legal work yet no legal work product has been produced.
When the very law enforcement agency responsible for all the State Police personnel matters can't follow the law, how do we ever build the badly needed trust in these state agencies?