DuPage Co. (ECWd) -
Yes, the pattern is very clear!
As reported in this article, a pattern of behavior has been established as it relates to business practices at COD. No bid contracts are routinely awarded to Foundation Board Members and contracts are not being disclosed to the very trustees approving them! (Click here for Board Packet - See page 185-187 / note no contract provided in Board Packet)
One matter that clearly stood out from most other Board Approval Documents we have read from COD, is that this particular one makes NO reference regarding compliance with applicable laws for such a contract, like this one below that can be viewed on page 178 of the above linked board packet.
This purchase complies with State Statute, Board Policy and Administrative Procedures. Contracts for the services of individuals possessing a high degree of professional skill where the ability or fitness of the individual plays an important part are exempt from bidding under Illinois Public Community College Act, 110 ILCS 805/3-27.1.
Why was this not stated on the US Bank Board Approval Document?
Before diving into the details let's answer the question that many have asked. Can COD legally provide space on campus for the operation of a bank?
This question stems from the application of Dillon's Rule that basically outlines you only have the power granted and when reading the Community College Act you wont find anything about banking as part of their powers.
Although banking is not spelled out "specifically" as a power granted, there is a provision that permits the school to provide auxiliary services related to the adequate operation of the college.
(110 ILCS 805/3-31.1) (from Ch. 122, par. 103-31.1)
Sec. 3-31.1. To provide, for students and employees, auxiliary services related to the adequate operation of the college. In exercising this power the board may provide, purchase, lease or contract for such services. (Source: Laws 1967, p. 1229.)
Yes, we could argue the meaning of "adequate operation of the college", but I suspect most could make a stronger argument that banking could be considered an auxiliary service at the college. Considering the number of personnel on site, student needs for cash from ATM's, food purchases, etc. I also suspect most would agree that such a service should be put out for competitive bidding to ensure the college was getting the best possible deal.
That never happen! Why?
"To award all contracts for purchase of supplies, materials or work involving an expenditure in excess of $25,000 or a lower amount as required by board policy to the lowest responsible bidder considering conformity with specifications, terms of delivery, quality and serviceability. (Sec. 3-27.1 - Contracts - Illinois Law)
We can only assume that COD took the position that the bidding laws did not apply considering there is no expenditure of money by the College specifically spelled out in the agreement. However, looking at the contract we do see items that do in fact point to expenditures of money.
The questions become, how much is COD paying for these contractual obligations and are those obligations considered an expenditure applicable to the bidding requirements?
Item 6.2 - Bank’s employees while working at the Building shall be entitled to use the restroom and break room facilities provided by College; (paid for by College thru taxpayer dollars).
Item 6.2 - College shall allow Bank’s employees to use parking areas…without charge. (paid for by College thru taxpayer dollars).
Item 8.2.1 - College shall keep and maintain the Building in good order and repair, including without limitation, plumbing and electrical equipment,…heating, air conditioning, etc. (paid for by College thru taxpayer dollars).
Item 9 - College shall furnish at its sole cost and expense, all lighting, electricity, air-conditioning, and heating to the On Site Branch…..(paid for by College thru taxpayer dollars).
Item 10.1 - College shall promote the good will and business of the Bank at the Building….(paid for by College thru taxpayer dollars).
Item 11.2 - In the event any legal proceeding is brought against Bank due to any activities or operations of College, College agrees to defend the interests of Bank at no cost to Bank. (to be pay for by College via taxpayer dollars)
Item 22 - Remodeling of a building. In the event of remodeling or enlargements affects the location or operation of the On-Site Branch,…..College shall pay for the relocation of the fixtures of Bank, including electrical lines, telephone lines, air conditioning vents, equipment and improvements…(to be paid for by College thru taxpayer dollars).
So I think a good argument could be made that these commitments of dollars from taxpayers, if they exceed the $25,000 mark, warrant the pursuit of bids. I also believe everyone with any pittance of Fiduciary responsibility would put such a contract out for bid to ensure the taxpayers get the best deal.
There were no Requests for Proposals, Bids, etc.!
So once again the College of DuPage has provided another no bid contract to a business managed by a COD Foundation member, Marsha Cruzan.
Why didn't COD seek RFP's or bids on this project?
Do other laws come into play with this contract?
Does Exclusivity point to any anti-trust issues?
Stay tuned for updates on this matter as numerous FOIA requests have been submitted and we are confident more concerns will come to light.