Will Co. (ECWd) -
We urge Joliet Township Supervisor Danial Vera to immediately resign.
For those new to the series on Joliet Township, we encourage you to start reading from the beginning to grasp the magnitude of malfeasance taking place in the Joliet Township government. CBS coverage, Carefully chosen words, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI.
It's bad enough when public officials ignore the most basic language in the law as it relates to purchasing, however in the case of Supervisor Vera, his actions appear to point to contract steering, a potentially criminal act.
In Part IV, we covered the bogus no-bid process used by the Township regarding mowing and did so with the available public records we had.
We have now obtained the actual recording of the applicable portion of the meeting where the board voted to waive bidding and reveals several major concerns.
The first major concern is one Vera should immediately seek legal counsel on from a criminal defense attorney in our opinion. Vera admits in the meeting that he met with the business owner, discussed the mowing costs, negotiated a price that was going to be used for 15 mowings, and shook hands on the deal, all in advance of any board approval. Vera states he told the business owner it was his job to figure out how to make that work through the season, implying there may be weeks no grass gets cut. In short, this is what we're going to pay, make it work.
In that discussion, Vera confirms the meeting with the business owner was a week before the board meeting. In fact, Vera referenced an interesting timeline that proves, in our opinion, there was no emergency that would justify no bidding as alleged by the attorney during our first meeting. Vera, explaining the discussion with the business owner, provides a timeline and how there is less time needed for mowing now because "last week, and all of this week" has passed. Such an admission confirms it could have been placed out for bid well in advance of the board meeting. In fact, the attorney implied there was no time to wait 30 days for bidding yet there is no provision requiring a 30 day period for such services to go to bid. In fact, bidding for this only requires the bid to be published once in the paper.
Vera's admission is very problematic. If "last week and all of this week" has passed, then why would they approve 15 mowings vs reducing that number by the approximate two weeks that have passed? Is it because Vera had already entered into a verbal contract with the vendor? Vera admits they agreed and shook hands, even though Vera has no authority to make such an agreement without board approval. In fact, any such agreement is void ab Initio (from the beginning) as the action was taken without legal authority in the first place.
All the information points to Vera steering business to a vendor, well in advance of any board meeting and negotiating a fixed price in a private meeting with the business owner. How that is not in direct violation of law will be one that he may have to figure out when the authorities start asking questions, which we understand a criminal investigation is underway.
The next glaring problem is the minutes vs. what was actually stated in the meeting. Key points missing from the minutes point to a failure on the Clerk's part to properly document what happened in the meeting.
For example, the minutes reflect the attorney stating:
"Attorney Burkey said it is necessary for us to waive the bidding requirement.."
That is not what Attorney Burkey said. What attorney Burkey said was:
"Need a motion to waive bidding and it has to be carried by a supermajority"
Why would the Clerk say he said it was "necessary" to waive bidding? Their own record proves it was not necessary to waive bidding as we pointed out in the prior article. Why didn't the Clerk record what was actually said, especially considering she had an actual recording of the meeting?
Putting the misinformation in the minutes aside, the attorney is clearly confused with Municipal law vs. Township law and gave improper legal advice.
There is no supermajority provision in the Township code as a means of waiving bidding on this type of transaction. Such advice from the lawyer is unfounded in law.
There is such language in the Municipal Code, but as we all know, Township's are not under the Municipal Code.
(65 ILCS 5/4-5-11) (from Ch. 24, par. 4-5-11)
Sec. 4-5-11. Except as otherwise provided, all contracts, of whatever character, pertaining to public improvement, or to the maintenance of the public property of a municipality involving an outlay of $10,000 or more, shall be based upon specifications to be approved by the council. Any work or other public improvement which is not to be paid for in whole or in part by special assessment or special taxation, when the expense thereof will exceed $25,000, shall be constructed as follows:
(1) By a contract let to the lowest responsible bidder after advertising for bids, in the manner prescribed by ordinance, except that any such contract may be entered into by the proper officers without advertising for bids, if authorized by a vote of 4 of the 5 council members elected; or
Stay tuned for exposure to more negotiated business without bidding.