With a new mayor and a couple of new Alderpersons, perhaps the bid-rigging of the past will be brought to an end.
Request for quote procedures, laws, and rules in the City of Lake Geneva appears to assure fair bidding, while there could be a case that this process has actually been used to assure that the bids are rigged to go to particular companies. The specifications of the request for quotes itself, have been used to determine who will get the bid by specifying particular brands, materials, and products or the combining of tasks that require expertise in several different fields.
Order a fire truck and specify it with an aluminum ladder or steel ladder; specify a concrete project with washed gravel or with unwashed gravel. Leave parts of the project off in the initial bidding process (so the company in the know can low bid), then during the project, change orders, like $11,675 last-minute change this past week for the added repair and painting of columns at the Riviera building. But of all the bid-rigging in the City of Lake Geneva, the most diabolical was in the bidding procedure itself that few bidders knew. To have one’s bid even looked at, bidders had to be preapproved/prequalified every year for every type of project that they would bid on or their bids would be discarded without notification.
This fact wasn’t made known to the general bidding public until the City of Lake Geneva hired an honest city administrator, Blaine Oborn, who added it as a note on each bid notice that went out while he was city administrator. Most recently the technique is to hire a firm to manage the project and let it select the vendors. Hopefully, all this semi-crocked stuff will be tossed out by the new “fresh air” administration.
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The rules for booze change.
The city council on April 14th had the second reading, and approved Ordinance 20-02, amending Section 6-37 which changed the city’s issuing of an “operating License” for (people who manage, distribute) alcoholic beverages. The changed Section 6-37 (g) now reads: “Upon favorable review by the chief of police, the city clerk or clerk’s office designee shall issue all operator licenses.”
There are two problems with this approval process:
It eliminates any notification, review or approval of or by any elected official. There is no oversight of the chief of police’s approval. The lack of oversight opens the door to misuse and sets up the police chief for a personal lawsuit. Oversight, accountability and limiting the power and authority of governments, businesses and individuals are essential to keeping us all free.
The second issue is technical.
The Ordinance 202-02, as written, published and in the packet, had the wrong published second reading date of April 13th, (there was no city council meeting on that day), but that fact was not mentioned, discussed or changed in the meeting. The ordinance was unanimously approved with the wrong 2nd reading published date. This may seem trivial to some, but it should invalidate the ordinance. No notice was given that the scheduled meeting date of the vote on the ordinance had been rescheduled either.
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