Observer: Kelly Kleiman
Meeting Date: 1/7/16 Length: 2 hour
Significant Decisions Made:
The whole meeting proceeded by consent calendar, which in turn was dominated by procurement/contract approval requests, and all but half a dozen of the 41 items were approved. Only a few were discussed individually.
Significant Topics Discussed and/or Referred to Committee
Lobbying Contract (Item 24): A contract for lobbying services, attracted significant discussion: its $417,000 cost was 42% higher than the next competing bid. St. Pierre explained that this was the same price paid the same contractor previously; that it was within the RFP (in fact, it was the exact amount specified in the RFP); and that the contractor “gets results,” having secured $48 million from the Federal Government on a $32 million District request. But he agreed to consult with District lawyers about whether, now that the contract had been awarded, he could ask the contractor for a price break (though it would be illegal to do so as a condition for the contract’s award).
Other Comments or Observations:
Given the frequency with which anti-union opinions are expressed at meetings of the County’s Health and Hospitals System Board, the pro-union tenor of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District meeting was quite striking. Commissioners and staff spoke repeatedly and with pride about the middle-class jobs the District provides and supports. Even more remarkable was the collaboration displayed by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Sierra Club in producing the “Flowing Economy” report, when environmental and labor concerns are so often considered to be at odds. The District has apparently decided that “green infrastructure” is where the twain can meet.
Individual authors are credited at the end of each report.