Updated: January 5, 2013 6:08AM
Even though two other companies submitted lower bids, a Joliet company with political, familial and business connections to an Oak Lawn trustee got a six-figure contract last month to replace the roof on Oak Lawn’s public works building.
As criticism and questions swirl around the contract, the village manager now says there was an error in the process and wants to get new bids on the work.
The village board voted 4-3 during its Nov. 3 meeting to pay Adler Roofing and Sheet Metal $166,085 to replace the roof on the building, 98th Street and Central Avenue. Public works director Steve Barrett recommended the board hire Adler Roofing because it was one of only two bidders to specify a scheduled starting time for the project.
Trustees Thomas Duhig (4th), Thomas Phelan (6th) and Alex Olejniczak (2nd) voted against hiring Adler. Mayor Dave Heilmann and his allies on the board — trustees Cynthia Trautsch (1st), Robert Streit (3rd) and Carol Quinlan (5th) — voted for the contract.
Olejniczak and Phelan said two other companies offered to do the work for less. DCG Roofing Solutions submitted a bid for $161,176 and CSR Roofing estimated a cost of $162,995.
“Any time we do something that doesn’t bring value to the residents of Oak Lawn, we’re not holding up to our end of the commitment as elected officials,” Olejniczak said. “It’s a dangerous thing to go on when people aren’t acting responsibly.”
Phelan said he was troubled by Streit’s relationship with Adler Roofing. Streit’s brother, Mike, works there as an estimator; Streit’s political committee has received more than $2,900 from Adler Roofing going back to 2009; and the company previously bought $20,000 in material and equipment from Streit’s company, Seal-Tite Roofing and Construction.
On Monday, Streit said he doesn’t see a conflict of interest in his voting to give Adler the village contract.
“I said it pretty clearly, there was a process, and I didn’t do anything to influence the process,” he said. “It’s pure and simple. Anybody can say what they want, it doesn’t make it true.”
Streit said Phelan was manufacturing the issue to smear his name and create a diversion from the real task at hand.
“The roof isn’t being fixed,” he said. “The staff had said this was an emergency, and the roof was so dangerous that it couldn’t go through the winter and that somebody could fall through it.”
Village manager Larry Deetjen now wants to get new bids on the project after finding fault in the bidding process. He said the day after the board approved the contract, he received a call from one of the lower bidders and determined that their “questions were all legitimate and deserved answers.”
After that conversation, Deetjen said he discovered that the public works department did not submit the bid documents to the village attorney to review.
“For a project of this size and magnitude, it should have been done,” he said.
Deetjen said he will recommend to the village board that it rescind the Adler contract at its Dec. 11 meeting and get new bids on the project. He has told the seven bidders involved in the earlier process the work may be rebid.
Dominick Dunlap, the owner of DCG Roofing Solutions, the previous low bidder, said he was baffled by the board’s prior decision. His company met all of the required specifications and could have been ready to begin the work this week if selected.
“I’m upset about it,” Dunlap said. “I just think there’s something fishy with all of this.”