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DuPage Election Commission Questions Need for PR Firm

The commission's director will provide a memo regarding the commission's need to employ a public relations firm Aug. 2.

New members of the DuPage Board of Election Commissioners last week questioned the need to employ Reverse Spin, a public relations firm their predecessors hired, the Daily Herald reported Sunday.

Reverse Spin Principal Dan Curry said the firm is working on a "month-to-month" basis under the terms of its former contract. The company receives $3,000 a month from the commission, according to the Herald.

"The commission let a lot of contracts expire because they knew certain board members were going to be replaced," Curry said.

Commission staff is now proposing a $36,000 professional services contract for Reverse Spin.

Following reports earlier this year of poor ethics and procurement practices at the agency, Cronin appointed Cathy Ficker Terrill of Elmhurst and Art Ludwig of West Chicago to the Election Commission in April. Over the last several weeks, the commission has instituted new ethics, personnel and procurement policies as well as eliminated the use of credit cards and cell phone use by commission staff.

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin selected Christopher Hage on July 10 to complete the remaining term of former Chairman Rick Carney, who

The Election Commission review raised questions about how the commission awards contracts, administers ethics policies and uses taxpayer-funded credit cards, according to a statement released by DuPage County in April.

Cronin ordered the "stress tests" last year following the financial crises at the Water Commission and the DuPage Housing Authority. The County Board hired Crowe Horwath to review the financial and operational structure of 24 DuPage agencies, which account for nearly $300 million in public funds.

“The report shows that the Election Commission is another prime example of why we initiated these ‘stress tests’ in an effort to identify problems that need to be resolved,” Cronin said in a statement. The results of the Election Commission stress test show it “needs to make significant improvements to its internal control procedures and practices” regarding credit cards, ethics and procurement.
 
The commission also “failed to follow its own procurement policy in 12 of 13 contracts” reviewed by Crowe Horwath. The 12 contracts lacked competitive bidding, failed to disclose subcontractors and did not include information about the nature of the goods and services provided.

Terrill asked Bob Saar, executive director of the commission, to provide a memo at the Aug. 2 meeting explaining why Reverse Spin should have a contract, and why other firms shouldn't be allowed to bid on the work, according to the Herald. The full story, "DuPage election panel scrutinizes PR firm contract" is available on the Daily Herald website.

Marcus July 19, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Most certainly, Kevin. Bottom-feeding political operatives who receive easy, steady government business from cronies make the work of real, professional PR firms look bad. If the agency believes they need a PR firm, they should send out RFBs and require strict guidelines and ethics.
bill trudeau July 20, 2012 at 12:20 AM
If accurate information is the objective, why the name "Reverse Spin"?
Marcus July 20, 2012 at 01:19 AM
While under contract with the DuPage's Election Board, Reverse Spin was working with Rick Reed -- the guy who boasts of being behind the swift boat attacks against John Kerry. Go to Rick Reed Media's website and watch the video which pops up. There's an endorsement from Reverse Spin. Our tax dollars were paying Reverse Spin to represent all DuPage Citizens while the firm was being paid by Reed's Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America. How crazy is that? Only in DuPage County, folks. Make a choice. Be a spokesman for the county's non-partisan election board OR be a Republican political operative. Sorry, can't do both.
Ken LaTroy July 21, 2012 at 11:13 PM
The Republicans hold the power in DuPage County. If we want to pay Republican strategists and vendors, FINE. Comes with the territory. The left-wing community organizers in Chicago and Cook County hire only DemocRATS for government work. The DemocRATS here aren't in control and all they do is whine. High time they all moved back east where they belong.
Marcus July 22, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Wow.

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