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Village attorney, engineer contracts to be reviewed

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A periodic review of all professional contracts is in the best interest of the Village, according to Village Administrator Heather Kimmons.

“We have no written contract with legal, and while we do have a 1978 letter from engineering outlining very basic terms, it does not rise to the level of a complete and well-negotiated contract,” Kimmons said. Village Attorney Darrell Woolums and Village Engineer Chuck Hunsinger have each worked for the Village more than 15 years. Kimmons told trustees it is advisable to have structured agreements with both.

Kimmons noted that through the years there were plans to periodically review both consultants in addition to Village auditors, and an Administrative Committee was instituted in 2000 for this purpose. Mayor Hap Gilbert and trustees Marilyn Johnson and Larry Reed served on the inactive committee.

However, according to Kimmons, no consistent reviews resulted. She said it is understandable that there’s been a comfort level with both the engineer and the attorney throughout this time. Yet, she feels compelled to “...make sure the Village gets the best deal for [its] money … [since] the consultants’ services come at a significant cost to the Village.”

The current Board of trustees began discussions earlier this year about the need for a structured review of the consultants. Yet discussions were tabled for a variety of reasons at least four times since late February. Kimmons said it is time to move forward. To that end she has prepared RFQs (requests for qualifications) to send to a handful of high quality candidates for both positions.

“There’s a very good likelihood that one or both will be retained,” she said in reference to Woolums and Hunsinger.

She said it is not an unusual move for a municipality to periodically examine its professional agreements. “It just brings us into modern times and ensures that taxpayer money is being used in the best possible way in terms of both quality and cost,” she said.

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