New details emerged during Tuesday’s village board meeting about a $166,085 contract that was awarded to a roofing company that employs the brother of an Oak Lawn trustee.
Village Manager Larry Deetjen said that procedures were not followed when requests for bids went out to replace the roof on the Oak Lawn public works building at 98th Street and Central Avenue.
Deetjen asked the village board to rescind a contract to Adler Roofing Co., of Joliet, where Trustee Bob Streit’s brother is employed as an estimator. The Oak Lawn Village Board voted 4-3 on Nov. 27 to give the contract to Alder, even though it was not the lowest bid.
The village manager said that public works staff misinterpreted a phrase in the bidding specifications when rejecting the lower bidders because the companies did not provide a starting date. Deetjen called the ambiguity of the bidding package unacceptable.
One roofing contractor has since threatened the village with legal action when its bid was rejected for the higher-bidding company because he did not provide a starting date. The contractor said there was no such specification.
“You voted and did not have the proper information," Deetjen told village board members. The lowest bidder is the bidder that called me the next day. I listened to him and he had clear and objective complaints. I reported those to the village attorney.”
Streit responded to accusations that he had steered the contract to his brother’s employer.
“As many of you now know, Adler employs my brother Michael as an estimator. He does not have ownership interest in the company,” Streit said. “I don’t have an interest in the contract, therefore I don’t need to abstain (from voting).”
Streit called the bid controversey a false issue designed to defame the mayor, himself and the roofing company.
“We now have a roofing contractor comparing us to Cicero,” Streit said. “If anyone is comparing us to Cicero it’s because of the false and malicious accusations and misinformation distributed by one trustee.”
Stating that it was “very much wrong,” Streit said he would the one to motion that the village board reconsider the contract.
As village board members slammed one another and were gaveled down by the mayor, Deetjen outlined some of the mistakes public works managers made in assembling the bid specifications.
Deetjen said that village public works department managers did not engage an engineer to assess the roof or assist them in developing bid specifications. Instead, public works staff asked Adler to look at the roof and make an estimate.
Finding Adler’s estimate to be expensive, Deetjen said public works managers decided to go out to bid.
A mandatory pre-bid meeting to address prospective contractors’ questions about the specifications was not held as required by state law.
Deetjen also said that a specification sheet was handed to public works and included in the bid package was not prepared by staff and had information that Deetjen claimed he had never seen.
“Who gave public works the sheet,” Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) asked Deetjen, who was gaveled down by the mayor before he could answer.
Mayor Dave Heilmann has maintained that he was not aware that Streit’s brother worked for Adler. He also trusted public works staff and the village attorney to vet the bids.
“I asked our staff what happened,” Heilmann said. “They went right through it down the line.”
Oak Lawn trustees voted 6-0 to rescind the contract to Adler, and to reject the rest of the bids the village received for the roof.
Read more government news:
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