A cover of silence selectively cloaks and conceals some of the City of Lake Geneva’s activities and related information. Silence allows what is hidden to remain hidden. Even when one layer of silence is successfully exposed, little changes, because like the Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls, it’s only the outer most layer that has been removed and what remains looks the same, and actually is the same except for being a smaller version. Bid rigging is such an extensively universal part of Lake Geneva’s operations that real bidding by potential vendors or service providers has become about as rare as airlines offering to allow free baggage aboard their aircraft.
Pealing back another layer in bid rigging is the Lake Geneva’s Policy Manual itself, which makes it legal. To bid on advertised city projects a firm must have applied for and received a prequalified approval:
- To Start,
“all firms interested in bidding municipal projects within a given year must complete and return this (a pre-qualified) application packet (and receive approval from whom nobody seems to know…think Dan Winkler here) on an annual basis.”
- And then: “a firm may bid only on advertised city projects,” otherwise they cannot bid because the “vendor does not meet the city’s qualifications, (and) the city will not send the vendor a bid package, and if the firm submits a bid, the bid will not be opened or accepted.”
- Also, to assure the desired venders get the bid: “The city will provide advance notification of pending bids for projects included in each pre-qualified vendor’s classification.” This last item explains how some vendors are able to submit timely bids on complicated projects when the bids are due within two weeks of the public notice. Also since, per the policy manual, all those currently eligible to bid on the city’s project should have received advanced notification, what purpose does the public notice serve? It meets the letter of the state’s law that requires a public notice. What bids? Say what?
Sarah Hill bows her head in defeat and takes in a big helping of crow…served cold. Council person and people’s representative Sarah Hill, the woman who’s credited with coming up with the “no person shall speak before the august leadership of Lake Geneva unless they are landed gentry” proposal is apologizing for ever bringing the subject up. Evidently, someone or something left a copy of the Amendments to the United States Constitution on her doorstep. Sarah Hill continues to bring excitement and personality to a city council kind of lacking in those two elements however.