By: Diane Benjamin
I previously reported the Town of Normal couldn’t find any communication for Chris Koos’ purchase of a bike from his shop to give to Trustee Fritzen. I also reported I filed a Request of Review with the Attorney General’s Public Access office: https://blnnews.com/2020/03/27/remember-that-bike-fritzen-got/
Fritzen’s party was held on April 23, 2019. Fritzen was still a Trustee until April 30th.
See the Town’s purchasing policy here: https://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12829/2017-Purchasing-Policy-Manual-x?bidId=
I wonder if Koos and Fritzen can explain how the bike doesn’t violate the Gift Ban – PDF page 5?
The AG’s office agreed to investigate. They asked Normal to detail what procedures they used to locate the documents I requested. See the response below sent to the AG from Brian Day, Corporate Counsel.
Town staff searched a variety of terms for both emails and text messages and couldn’t find a thing referencing the bike present.
Therefore, the only explanation is Chris Koos did this all on his own and billed taxpayers for his gift. If you remember, he claims he billed taxpayers at cost – like that makes everything fine.
Go back to the Purchasing Policy – PDF page 6.
Chris Koos may be an elected official, but he is also an employee of the Town since he gets paid and receives a W-2. He isn’t a Department Head since elected officials aren’t a Department. (Go to http://normal.org/ then click on Government)
According to Town Code, Pam Reece should have authorized the purchase. Since no one at the Town can find where she did we have to assume she didn’t.
There is no clause in the Purchasing Policy authorizing the Mayor to spend any money and bill taxpayers. The AG’s office may get around to issuing an opinion eventually. Since they haven’t issued and opinion on any other Request for Reviews filed, I’m not waiting around for them. This office does not prosecute or hold any officials responsible for violations.
Voters have to do that. Remember who is sitting on the Council saying “nothing to see here”. (hint: Stan Nord isn’t one of them)