Joliet council OKs no-bid $614,000 contract for air conditioning

Two council members change position in 5-3 vote

The Joliet City Council on Tuesday voted 5-3 to approve a $614,000 contract without going out for bids on a new air conditioning system for the police station.

Two council members changed positions stated at a Monday meeting that the city should put the project out to bids.

“My questions were answered,” Clement said concerning more information sent by city staff since the Monday meeting. “It is an emergency situation. I don’t want to run into things not getting done in time.”

Joliet city administration wanted to buy the new air conditioning system on an emergency basis without going out for bids.

City Manager James Capparelli told the council at a workshop meeting on Monday that staff wanted the air conditioning installed by April and hoped to avoid inflationary increases by locking in a price now.

Council member Larry Hug, however, said the city could have gone out to bid and got the job done by April.

“It’s important that we continue to count our pennies, and we continue to do things transparently,” Hug said.

Voting for the contract with Anchor Mechanical for $613,961 were Clement, Sherri Reardon, Bettye Gavin, Cesar Guerrero and Pat Mudron.

Voting against the contract were Hug, Jan Quillman and Terry Morris.

Anchor Mechanical already maintains air conditioning at a number of city buildings, and the company had been working with manufacturer Carrier to solve air conditioning problems at the police station, according to a staff report on the proposed contract.

Capparelli said Anchor only would charge the city for time, materials and 10% above costs.

“We don’t know that 10% above costs is correct,” Hug said. “That’s what the bidding process is for.”

Reardon, however, was persuaded by staff, saying she had changed her mind from her position on Monday that there was no need to award the contract without bids since the air conditioning was going to be installed after summer.

Quillman said going out for bids “makes sense because there is time.”