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County’s Contract Compliance Office

Monday, May 23, 2005
Special to

Statement of Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin

The great opportunity you get as an elected member of the Cook County Board is to speak-up when you see an injustice. The way legitimate women and minority businesses are being mistreated by the County Contract Compliance Office is one of those opportunities.

At the May 3, 2005 Board meeting, I made a motion to defer paying Faustech Industries Inc over $140,000. for computer equipment supplied to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Payment was to be delayed until the Contract Compliance Office completed an investigation of Faustech’s status as a MBE under the County Ordinance. This investigation was requested at the April 13, 2005 Contract Compliance Committee Meeting chaired by Commissioner Bobbie Steele. The investigation was requested after it was learned that Faustech is the subject of a Federal investigation and that the City of Chicago had decertified it as an MBE.

At the May 17, 2005 Board meeting Betty Hancock Perry, Administrator of the Office of Contract Compliance, submitted a letter to the Board and testified that Faustech was in compliance with the County MBE Ordinance and that there was no reason not to pay. In addition, Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown submitted a letter indicating that her office had received the computer equipment. Because of the various assurances that Faustech was in compliance I moved to pay and the Board agreed.

The purpose of the deferral was to determine if the County might have any claims for money damage against Faustech for violations of the County MBE Ordinance. It would only be prudent not to pay Faustech money when it may owe the County money for violating our ordinance.

On May 18, 2005 I was told that the Contract Compliance Office had been notified by Faustech on April 27, 2005 that they did not want to be recertified as an MBE by the County. This is a significant material fact that was keep from the Commissioners. I will not be played for a fool nor will I allow the legitimate women and minority businesses to be taken advantage of by an incomplete investigation.

I immediately filed a motion to reconsider the vote by which Faustech was paid and asked that all payments be stopped until the next meeting of the Board on June 7, 2005. President Stroger ignored all this and ordered Faustech paid immediately.

As late as May 3, 2005 Faustech was being recommended for contracts by our Contract Compliance Office,even thought it had requested not to be recertified. In addition, we are told they are involved in 5 active contracts. When the County is suing Faustech for contract defaults remember the money President Stroger gave away.

The Faustech investigation has caused me to lose all confidence in the Contract Compliance Office, therefore Commissioner Claypool and I demand that President Stroger revamp the Office immediately. If he fails to act we will propose a legislative solution.

Finally, the exception that Faustech took advantage of under the County Ordinance was the “Broker” provision. Today Commissioner Claypool and I move to close this exception. This action will give women and minority business a better chance to participate in future contracts.

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