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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Aurora Way, Contracts and Pay-to-Play

The Aurora Finance Committee unanimously approved their Resolution F13.082 awarding a contract for services to Globetrotters Engineering of Chicago.

The value of the contract was reported to be a little above $32,000 – not really a large sum of money for a budget the size of Aurora's. The resolution was scheduled to be approved by the Committee of the Whole on April 16, and then on to the City Council for final approval the following week. At the last minute the proposal was sent back to committee to be reviewed.

Who solicited the PAC
contribution from Globetrotters?

It seems that there were some issues that needed clearing up that were possibly unclear when the committee voted unanimously to approve it in the first place.

The issue behind the return of the proposal might have something to do with the allegation that two days after receiving the committee approval Globetrotters donated one thousand dollars to a Political Action Committee, formed in February for the purpose of promoting positive things and candidates in Aurora. With support from this PAC Bob O'Connor  seven times incumbent, defeated Rick Lawrence for the Alderman-at-Large position. Mr. O'Connor chairs the Finance Committee – the committee that was awarding the contract to Globetrotters, a company that donated one thousand dollars to the PAC two days after successfully presenting their bid to Mr. O'Connors Finance Committee.

Today (April 23, 2013), the Finance Committee met again and went over Resolution F13.082 and tried hard to demonstrate how they went about the process of awarding the contract. It was a pleasant show, but it didn't resolve the questions raised by the contract and the contribution to a PAC.

What should have been asked is who solicited and accepted money from Globetrotters? Who authorized the solicitation and what should be done about it? Instead of clear questions and answers about possible impropriety, we are treated to some sleight of hand – diverting our attention from the real question to the process used to elicit a bid and select a winner.

Resolution F13.082 passed – again – approved - again - by all three committee members. It will begin its journey to approval by the full city council. Globetrotters will probably be awarded a $32,000+ contract (which ends up being only $31,000 + because they gave one thousand to the PAC). If they could afford to basically chop their bid by approximately 3% could they have dropped another 3% if they didn't think they had to direct some of their fee back to the political process in Aurora? How many contracts does Aurora grant where the amounts are higher than necessary so the winning bidder can cover whatever additional amounts may need to be refunded?

If this one small contract hinged on a contribution (overcharge) of 3% would others?

Elected public officials are not supposed to shake down businesses who want to provide services to the city. Rumor has it that this is common in Aurora and this small incident suggests the rumors may be partly true. If true, those who engage in those activities should be vetted and held accountable. Mr. O'Connor should have asked who solicited and accepted the thousand dollars from Globetrotters – and insisted on getting an answer. While it is possible Globetrotters was so happy about receiving that $32,000+ contract that they sought out a candidate to support.

In the end, does that seem likely to you?

-Crossposted from Larry Frieders


Anonymous said...


Or copied in full, and pasted in?

This is a slimy, slimy practice, openline. Stop it. Or write your own thoughts and just link to it. This is akin to theft, unless you have permission.

Anonymous said...

9:13 Why would we expect anything else?

Anonymous said...

Who said it is not nearly as important as what was said.

Anonymous said...

We know who said it. What we don't know is whether Openline stole Larry's words, or Larry gave them permission. Stealing is Openline's way, and the fact that they haven't linked to Larry's blog says to me that they stole this from him.

Anonymous said...

A contribution is made to a PAC known to have ties to the mayor and supportive of the chairman of the finance committee and suddenly the contributor is awarded a city contract.
does this stink or what?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it stinks, but it is legal & common in every city over 5000 people city. Since no one had the guts to run against the Mayor, why complain?

Anonymous said...

You may embrace bribery and extortion in city government as legal and common, but i for one am appalled by this behavior.

Anonymous said...

Me too! I'm so appalled that I will bitch about it on a blog! That'll show them!

Anonymous said...

It is both a honor and a privilege to do business with the City of Aurora (Second to None). It's only natural that a vendor would have pay a tribute to the honorable City of Aurora.

Anonymous said...

12:39 So you think it is illegal.
Are you stating that a crimes were committed. Than go to the police with your proof of a crime. You throw words around like bribery & extortion, with out the proof. SHOW US THE PROOF.

Anonymous said...

In Mexico you can legally have sex with a 12 year old in much of the country - does that make it right?

Anonymous said...

12:39 there are none so blind as those who will not see. If you are not currently employed by this corrupt administration you should send in a resume.
They have plenty of jobs for those willing to kiss the bearded leaders a**

Is Rick insane? said...

8:10 AM Do you mean the Mayor? Why didn't you or Slick Rick run against him. It's just so much easier to throw stones from the peanut gallery, than having the guts to make a difference. Corruption is a Crime, prove it. Working for someone is not kissing someones ass. There is nothing wrong about getting along with your boss. You seem to be a bit of an ass, always looking for the faults in others, instead of working on your own character issues. Try it, it wil set you free from your demons.

Anonymous said...

Corrupt adj : morally degenerate; also characterized by improper conduct (as in officials)
Those defending this mayoral administration would have us believe everything is hunky dory till someone is led away in handcuffs.
backroom deals that benefit any individual at the expense of the tax payer are repugnent and yes corrupt.
It is time to root out self centered politicians who hide behind their own unique definitions of the english language