By: Diane Benjamin
The only big controversy at the 7:00 meeting was this item:
See PDF page 46 for details: https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3974
Stan Nord pulled this item from the Consent Agenda because this spending was not bid as required by code. In other words, Normal has been a member of the MICA pool for decades, therefore why change. The “professional staff” actually stated this item does not need to be bid because MICA bids it.
MICA has 20 participants in their pool. Stan mentioned the Illinois Municipal League also has an insurance pool with over 600 participants. The spin machine geared up to make sure no explanation was ever given as to why Normal didn’t check the IML price.
Link to IML insurance page: https://www.iml.org/page.cfm?key=15771
Note: The Town uses IML when they support Town policies, but ignore them when they don’t.
Horror of horrors! Stan Nord had talked to the local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber supposedly supports local businesses but never stand up for them when municipalities don’t “buy local”. Kathleen Lorenz was appalled Stan would inform them Normal was once again ignoring local providers. The Chamber had informed Stan they aren’t aware until after a Council vote for “not local”, Stan just gave them a heads up. Kathleen thought Stan was out of line.
The icing on this massive bill was when it was disclosed the Finance Manager, Andrew Huhn, is also the MICA Treasurer. The majority of the Council saw no conflict of interest!
The cost was up over 13% this year. Nobody mentioned the damage to Town vehicles caused by the Target rioters. Is that why citizens are paying more Normal?
Point of this story: Local bidders were not allowed to participate. The IML pool of over 600 municipalities was not asked for a quote. The Town just continued doing what they always do without looking for better.
Per Wikipedia, the intent of a purchasing policy “To prevent fraud, waste, corruption, or local protectionism” of government types and protect taxpayers.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_procurement
Normal has a purchasing policy originally enacted with the same intent. However, Normal ignores the policy so they can engage in “fraud, waste, corruption, [and] local protectionism.” http://normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12829/2017-Purchasing-Policy-Manual-x?bidId=
Count 1 – The finance director is the lead person involved. He holds a “critical” position with his chosen vendor.
Count 2 – Code says they “Must purchase without favor or prejudice.” – Being a board member for the vendor would give one favor or prejudice.
They have an underpass to construct, staff doesn’t have time to look at saving money elsewhere.
Just hit play to hear the MICA discussion. Next jump to 2:19:15 to hear 2 Public Comments. The first is John Weaver, the second is County Board member Jim Soeldner. Weaver talked about how the unions bought the election for Koos, how the Council treats Stan Nord, and the Town’s debt and ever rising taxes. Soeldner claimed the Town threatened to end the recycling program if the County didn’t participate. He also claimed the Town threatened to revisit shared sales and intergovernmental agreements if the County didn’t cough up money. After he hung up he was then given the “Stan” treatment, Jim found out the Town is always right, even if they aren’t.