The DuPage County Board has approved four contracts for lobbyists representing the county in Springfield and Washington, D.C.
“It is critical that the county maintain a presence in Springfield and Washington, ” board Chairman Dan Cronin said before the vote.
Cronin, a former Illinois legislator himself, stressed that the speed at which the General Assembly sometimes operates made lobbyists necessary.
“Unless you have a lobbyist in the capital, you’re going to get left behind,” he said.
The largest contract went to All Circo, Inc., which will receive $120,000 a year to represent the county in Springfield.
V.A. Persico Consulting will get $60,000 a year, also to protect DuPage’s interests in Springfield.
McGuire Woods Consulting rounds out the county’s Springfield team at a price of $24,000 a year.
Looking out for the county in Washington will be BGR Government Affairs, receiving $80,000.
All the contracts are for one year.
County Board members Laurie Nowak and Liz Chaplin voted “present” on the All Circo contract, but voted to approve the other three.
Chaplin called for more discussion on the item, in light of the fact that two of the lobbyists failed to list donations required by the county’s Ethics Ordinance.
All Circo neglected to disclose that the company donated $1,455 to Cronin and McGuire Woods failed to list a $500 donation to County Board member Tonia Khouri. Chaplin pointed out that the forms were otherwise filled out and that the companies had simply failed to list the donations.
Jeanne Kaczmarek, a candidate for county clerk also had lobbying issues on her mind when she spoke during public comment.
She criticized the $36,000 spent on lobbyists by the DuPage Election Commission, saying the Election Commission bought no economic value to the county and any lobbying needs it had could be performed by the county’s own lobbyists.
“I urge you in the coming weeks to remove finding for the commission’s lobbyists,” she said.
Kaczmarek also urged the board to consider instituting an online system of reporting similar to Chicago’s Lobbyist Sunshine Initiative, which she said had been successful in increasing the city’s transparency regarding government contracts.
Chaplin suggested that county staff look into the possibility of implementing a similar system.Tags: DuPage County