WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Hancock County Board's Compliance In Question

May 26, 2015

The Hancock County Board has received notice of potentially illegal activity surrounding recent construction work.  State's Attorney Jason Pohren wrote a letter about the nearly $40,000 worth of electrical and plumbing repairs made to the ambulance barn this year.

The improvements were an effort to make the space more habitable for paramedics. 

Illinois law requires public projects costing more than $30,000 be open to the competitive bidding process. But the project was not put out to bid.

In the letter, Pohren noted some board members contend competitive bidding was unnecessary because the work was completed piecemeal with no individual aspect costing $30,000. But Pohren said that is not the intent of the law.     

County Board Member Tom Scheetz said he suspected favoritism played a role in deciding which contractors were chosen to complete the work.

“The people that voted to pay the bills that were done illegally will be complicit in what they did. That’s the record of their vote that they did it,” Scheetz said.

“That’s all I know about it and my thing is I want it to be open and honest so people know what’s going on with their tax money.”

The county board plans to discuss the issue further at its next meeting on June 16.