Letters: Roofing contract a political setup
December 21, 2012 9:44PM
Updated: January 24, 2013 6:41AM
The SouthtownStar’s recent story on the contract for repairing the Oak Lawn public works garage’s roof left out a few significant facts, including that trustees followed the advice of the village attorney in approving the contract. If there is something wrong with a bid, we expect to be so advised by the village attorney.
A week before the village board meeting where the contract was approved, the village staff gave village manager Larry Deetjen its recommendation, following that legal advice. At no time from when the bids were opened to the vote being taken did Deetjen or the attorney say that we should not approve the contract.
Trustees Phelan, Olejniczak and Duhig voted against the recommended bidder. What was unusual was that none said why. Given the amount of back and forth we unfortunately hear on our board, the silence should have been my first clue. Those trustees may not feel an obligation to the other trustees to explain their vote, but they do have an obligation to the residents, especially if they believe something may be illegal.
The next day, the accusations about the bid surfaced. We were then told that neither the village manager nor the village attorney reviewed all of the bid documents before the contract was placed on the board agenda and that the staff made an error. The contract was therefore rescinded.
Another bidder who was threatening a lawsuit over the contract then told me that Trustee Phelan called him the day before the board meeting to say there was something wrong with the roofing bids. That bidder also received a lengthy “anonymous” email, accusing board members of misconduct.
If some trustees felt there was something wrong with the bids at least a day before the vote, why wasn’t anything said to the village attorney, manager or other trustees? I guess if it were stopped before the vote, there would be no political gain.
If someone did something wrong in this bid process, they should be held fully accountable. It would have been nice to know before we voted.
Mayor David Heilmann
To avoid the cliff, look offshore
As our lawmakers in Washington, D.C., figure out how to save roughly $4 trillion over the next 10 years, they seem to have forgotten about a huge source of revenue that both sides should be able to agree on — closing corporate tax loopholes.
A study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that 83 of the top 100 publicly traded companies use offshore tax havens to skip out on paying federal taxes.
By using armies of tax attorneys to make profits legitimately made in America magically appear on the books in shell companies overseas, this tax haven abuse costs the federal government an estimated $150 billion every year in lost revenue. Over a decade, that’s more than one-third of the $4 trillion Congress is looking to cut.
Before Congress decides whose taxes to raise or what services to cut, it should make sure these companies are paying what they already owe.
Richard J. Stuckey