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Cook County Mon Feb 02 2009

Low-Bid Contracts, Hope, Change

County Board President Todd Stroger's campaign committee recently sent out a fundraising email that had a bit of a mixed message:

John Stroger strongly believed that "A voteless people is a hopeless people." His son Todd needs your help to fight political opportunism, preserve vital services and continue his father's legacy of service for all residents. Please support Todd by contributing to "A New Generation of Leadership."

While Todd is technically a new generation of leadership in comparison to his father's generation, it is hard to see how Todd Stroger's board presidency is anything but a continuation of his father's political organization and governing philosophy. Now, you may like that or dislike it, but to send a fundraising letter that both dons the aura of John Stroger's political prowess and proclaims a "new generation" of political leadership at the County level shows a serious problem for Todd Stroger: in a period where voters are demanding to flush the political system of old blood and bring in serious, if not radical, change, how do you make a pitch for a guy named Stroger?

Particularly when stories like this are constantly appearing, like a sepsis that can't be controlled:

The Cook County Health and Hospital Board Friday approved an $868,000 security contract, even though it was roughly $30,000 more than the lowest bid.

Whitfield Security Service was chosen over the lowest bidder, Moore Security Service, administrators said, because Moore did not meet prevailing wage requirements. However, administrators have yet to specify exactly how Moore failed, even though the Daily Herald has been asking for details on the disqualification since at least Wednesday. Earlier, administrators had disqualified Moore on the allegation that the company did not meet minority business requirements, even though Moore is owned by a black woman. The county later admitted its error, but still maintains the company doesn't meet prevailing wage requirements, even though it was initially reviewed for that category and found to meet standards.

Ouch, right?


For the second time in two months, Cook County government today is poised to pass up the lowest bid on a security contract.

In both cases, the contract was given or is being given to Whitfield Security System over Moore Security, under allegations that Moore is not meeting bidding requirements.

However, in a separate contract, county administrators recommended that Moore, the exact same bidder it said was unqualified in the other two contracts, receive the award. Administrators abruptly pulled that item before the Dec. 3 county board meeting, but not before some commissioners noticed the inconsistency and began asking questions.

I'm all for prevailing wage and minority- and women-owned business requirements for county bidding, properly supervised (Cf., "Remedial Environmental Manpower") -- but if President Stroger truly wants to represent a "new generation" of leadership for the county, he needs to make a concerted, sincere effort to stop the last generation's practices.

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Joe / February 2, 2009 1:49 PM

Well, Ramsin
Before commenting on things maybe you should research them a little better. Both of those contracts we health and Hospital board which Stroger created an independent board to oversee. Please dont blame him for every contract in the County when he has no say or contral over it. Direct that to the Hospital Board and Mr. Smalls

Ramsin CanonAuthor Profile Page / February 2, 2009 1:52 PM

Not blaming President Stroger, but as the Board President these things all end up beating up his image. If this Board, which operates under the Board's authority, is making these types of decisions, there needs to be a strong reform effort from the top to stop these things from happening.

It may not be his fault, but it is certainly within his realm to address these problems, isn't it?

Good Luck / February 2, 2009 2:37 PM

Myopia: Noun
1.) A visual defect in which distant objects appear blurred because their images are focused in front of the retina rather than on it; nearsightedness. Also called short sight.

2.) Lack of discernment or long-range perspective in thinking or planning

"I'm all for prevailing wage and minority- and women-owned business requirements for county bidding, properly supervised"

Nothing like identity politics choosing winners and losers

Ramsin CanonAuthor Profile Page / February 2, 2009 2:48 PM

cli⋅ché   [klee-shey, kli-]
1. a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse.

ex: "Using the dictionary definition of a word to hurtle and accusation, without backing it up by any evidence, is so cli⋅ché."

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