Imagine such a contract:
- The only thing you need to do is send an email to the Oak Lawn Board of Trustees every week or two.
- Not much heavy lifting would be involved.
- All you’d need to do is rehash a list of grants that is freely available online.
Sounds like a sweet gig, right?
The Village of Oak Lawn pays Alcalde & Fay, Ltd, for exactly that. Over the past 7 years, Oak Lawn has paid $473,000 for a little over 100 emails listing grant opportunities. Alcalde and Fay does not represent any other Illinois municipalities but it does represent over 30 municipalities in Florida, including Deerfield Beach, where Oak Lawn’s Village Manager Larry Deetjen served as City Manager.
A former insider at the Village of Oak Lawn said, “This is Larry’s (Deetjen) guy”.
That’s not exactly what the contract states, of course. But the emails are the only verifiable sign of any work done on the Village’s behalf over that 7 year span. The contract states 6 main services to be provided:
- Developing strategies to obtain and maximize funding for public works, transportation infrastructure, water resources and housing programs.
- Coordinating funding, legislation and policy related activities with the United States Congress and Federal agencies.
- Securing authorizations and funding from the United States Congress and Federal agencies to implement the VILLAGE’S projects.
- Maintaining direct and frequent contact with key United States Senators and Representatives.
- Advocating VILLAGE interests during the United States legislative and regulatory process.
- Providing the VILLAGE with a written report of activities.
The Leaf recently attempted to obtain documents related to the services provided by Alcalde & Fay. The Leaf asked for any communications where the effectiveness of the services rendered are considered, either by the Village Manager or the Board of Trustees. The Village turned over zero documents. The Leaf asked for any metrics by which the services of Alcalde & Fay are judged. The Village turned over zero documents.
The reply that the Leaf received stated that the Village “does not have a list of notifications of grants that were sent from Alcalde & Fay to the Village of Oak Lawn. Also, [the Village] does not have a list of secured grants that the Village received notifications of these particular grants from Alcalde & Fay.”
Taxpayers of Oak Lawn are paying for a service that has no verifiable results, no oversight, and apparently no expectation of work to be done.
Where can we sign up for this job?