DANVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
During a special Vermilion County Board meeting on November 20, 2013, the board voted and approved another no-bid contract. This one dealing with FIDLAR, a document scanning service for property records. It was for around $160,000.00. Once again, the board is claiming "professional services" as the reason they can award this no-bid contract.
Here is my opinion on the several reasons they approved this no-bid contract. First, is the fact that more than 20 years ago the board approved using this company and effectively got themselves into a situation involving proprietary software. "Proprietary software" means that once you stop paying, the software is gone - and possibly the data or at least the data in the format in which people are used to using it. This keeps a steady stream of funds rolling from your pocketbook into Fidlar's bank accounts. Second is the fact that the county is used to using this company, have had good experiences with them, and are satisfied with the level of service provided in the past.
While the reasons might be correct in their eyes, trying to state this is a "professional service" in order to avoid competitive bidding is stretching it a bit. Simply slapping the "Professional Service" label on something does not make it one.
Any purchases of services, materials, supplies, or equipment in excess of $30,000 must be let out for bid. Unless it is for "professional services" or unless it is in the case of an emergency - kind of makes a person wonder why the county board initially had this on the October meeting agenda to approve this contract as an emergency.
Where will it stop?
Video from the November 20, 2013 special meeting below...