On April 29, 2010, Willowbrook President Robert Napoli issued a Veto Message to Village Trustees providing them advanced notice of his veto of a Board motion that was declared carried at their regular meeting on April 26th. Under state statute, the motion, along with the President’s written objections, will be returned to the Village Board for reconsideration.
At the previous Village Board meeting held on April 12th, staff presented a recommendation to award the annual Village Roadway Maintenance Program contract to the project low bidder, James D. Fiala Paving Company, Inc., after a sealed bid opening. However, prior to any Board action, both the Village Attorney and Village President advised the Board that they were professionally involved in an unrelated matter pertaining to property believed to be owned by James D. Fiala. Village Attorney William Hennessy stated, “I do not believe the relationship constitutes a conflict of interest, but nonetheless, I want to divulge all information to this Board.” After discussion, the Board decided to defer the vote and requested additional information from staff.
At the next regularly scheduled Board meeting held on April 26th, and after staff had forwarded additional information to the entire Board, a motion carried by a 3-2 vote awarding the project to the second low bidder, Crowley Sheppard Company, at a $17,356 increase in cost. Trustee Michael Mistele made the motion, and stated that he believed the road program was important to the Village.
When the project low bidder was advised of the Board’s decision the following morning, the Village promptly received a letter from the firm’s President threatening legal action if they were not awarded the $200,000 contract as the rightful low bidder, and providing additional information attesting to the fact that there was no conflict of interest as Mr. Fiala had sold the company to new ownership in March 2009. This led Village President Napoli to veto the motion and to suggest its reconsideration by the Board.
President Napoli, who had earlier recused himself from the vote on the motion, stated, “I understand and fully support the Board’s desire for full transparency in government. However, this matter does not constitute a conflict of interest, and I cannot approve of a Board action that needlessly expends over $17,000 of public funds at a time when the Village is struggling financially to provide services to the community. The additional information provided by the low bidder about new ownership further substantiates that there is no conflict. The Board was not aware of this additional information at the time the motion was passed, and I am confident they will now reconsider their action and award the project to the rightful low bidder upon reconsideration of the facts.”
The President’s written objections will be formally received by the Board at their next scheduled meeting on May 10th. By law, the motion can be reconsidered by the Board at that meeting. If such a motion to reconsider is carried on May 10th, the Board could then consider a motion to award the contract to the low bidder.