Will County executive nixes contract for landfill consultant

Bertino-Tarrant says county already has two consultants and staff for landfill advice

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant speaks at the Will County board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 in Joliet.

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant has vetoed a County Board contract for a landfill consultant.

The County Board on June 4 in a 12-6 vote approved a contract to hire Robert Schillerstrom, a private attorney who once was the Republican chairman of the DuPage County Board, as a consultant for its Landfill Committee.

Bertino-Tarrant on Tuesday vetoed the contract, saying in her veto message that hiring another consultant would duplicate work already being done by two landfill consultants and county staff.

“Will County has two consultants and full-time staff working on solid waste planning and landfill expansion options to meet the needs of the residents and to provide guidance to the Landfill Committee,” Bertino-Tarrant said in her message. “The hiring of a third consultant at this time would be duplicative.”

The issue marks one more partisan division on county matters.

County Board Chairwoman Judy Ogalla, R-Monee, and other Republicans said the Landfill Committee is not getting information from staff and needs its own consultant.

A few Democrats joined Republicans in voting to hire Schillerstrom but questioned what expertise he had on landfill matters.

A truck turns into the Prairie View Recycling and Disposal Facility on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in Wilmington.

Schillerstrom, who at one time ran unsuccessfully for governor in the Republican primary and was appointed by former Republic Gov. Bruce Rauner to lead the Illinois Toll Highway Authority board, was to be hired at a rate of $15,000 for three months of work with an option to renew the contract for another three months.

The county is studying the prospect of expanding its Prairie View Landfill in Wilmington, which is expected to reach capacity in 10 years.

Michael Theodore, spokesman for the county executive’s office, said the county’s two landfill consultants – Geo-Logic and Associates and attorney Charles Helsten – have been advising the county on landfill matters for more than 30 years.