Tuesday the village council will workshop hiring a lobbying firm based in Springfield to help convince IDOT, the legislature, and other needed entities that DG should get the $8.5 million out of state so we can start the Belmont underpass.
And to maybe end run DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, who made his position clear: he wasn’t about to help with any of “his” millions.
Nicolay and Dart LLC from the green sheets:
- The proposed contract between the Village and Nicolay and Dart LLC was prepared with the purpose of securing the $8.5 million from the State via IDOT. Nicolay and Dart is a State registered lobbying entity and will lobby both the General Assembly as well as all appropriate state agencies. Staff feels that contracting with this firm for lobbying efforts provides the following benefits:
- Access to State Legislators – Nicolay and Dart work in Springfield during General Assembly legislative sessions and has direct access to these legislators. The firm has relationships with legislators throughout the State and from both political parties.
- Expertise – Nicolay and Dart are registered lobbyists and specialize in lobbying at the State level and have a proven record of success.
- Time – Staff and the Village Council do not have the significant amount time required for effective lobbying efforts. Further, staff does not have lobbying experience. The contracting of a lobbyist will allow staff to continue to work on the day-to-day issues of operating the Village.
This comes at a cost-$36,000-that is not being bid out, no RFP’s. Staff has indicated that Section 2.42 of the Municipal Code gives the Village Manager “the authority under the definition of “professional service” to negotiate a contract not subject to competition given that the service sought requires a high degree of skill or expertise which is in its nature unique.”
Section2.42 of the muni code has nothing to do with that. They might want to check that.
There is a provision that any services contract over $15,000 be bid out:
2.47.4. Purchase, Service and Public Works Contracts of Fifteen Thousand Dollars or More.
Except as otherwise provided herein, the Council shall approve all purchases, public works and service contracts with a cost estimated to be in excess of fifteen thousand dollars; either following competitive bidding with the contract being awarded to the lowest responsible bidder; or acceptance of proposals either as originally submitted or as negotiated, following a request for proposals issued by the Village. Where a public works project is anticipated to exceed ten thousand dollars, contracts therefor shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder except as otherwise authorized by a two-thirds vote of all the Council members then holding office. (Ord. No. 3408 § 2.)
2.47.7. Sole Source Contracts.
Notwithstanding any other provision in this Division 4, when it is determined that a particular product, service or work is not subject to competitive bidding due to limitations arising out of the nature of the product, service or work or its availability, the Village may negotiate and enter into contracts for materials, services or public works with a sole source supplier on such terms as the Council may approve. (Ord. No. 3408, § 2.)
2.8. Contract for professional services.The Council may from time to time on the recommendation of the Manager, contract for professional services to the Village, including, but not limited to engineering, architectural, legal and accounting services. (Ord. No. 2261, § 10; Ord. No. 3266, § 2.)
The Village Manager does have a discretionary fund that can be spent as she sees fit. It would seem $15,000 would at least give everyone pause as to which path is proper to go down.
Nicolay and Dart LLC the lobbyists in question, are Chicago lawyers formerly of Strawn & Winston, and members of The Advocacy Group, Inc. Lobbying as a business has a bad reputation, but the underpass project needs $8.5 million, and Schillerstrom took a pass on helping out, and these guys seem to be saying they can get it done.
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Maybe this is to supplement chamber of commerce, EDC, and other village efforts downstate, or maybe this is more akin to bringing in the pros to get it done. At any rate, DG is not waiting on king Bob to help out with any of “his” $20 million transportation money ($40 million next year) that he is getting from political bed mate Gov. Blag.
This is starting to get interesting.