A Cook County contract for work on Lake-Cook Road
has gone on for 12 years and more than doubled its original cost, but
the politically connected contractor was again awarded the job Tuesday
After contentious debate, the county board narrowly
approved an engineering contract for $500,000 to McDonough Associates
Inc., of Chicago, for two miles of Lake-Cook Road between the Tri-State
Tollway and Waukegan Road in Deerfield.
In 1998, the company was originally given a county contract for $944,000 for work on the road.
Since then, the firm has received four previous "change orders," bringing their total pay up to $2 million.
That's because the scope of the work keeps expanding and
changing, according to Rupert Graham, superintendent of the county
A day care center came in and required curb cuts for an
entrance and exit, and plans had to be changed to account for
right-of-way for a mall in the area.
Gregg Goslin, whose district covers the area where the
work is being done, supported the contract, saying such change orders
are common and it would only make matters worse to change contractors in
But Timothy Schneider, a Bartlett Republican, said one
or two change orders are understandable, but when it becomes five change
orders for double the original cost, that's too much.
"At some point," he said, "you have to say, let's go back to a bid."
Under competitive bidding, different firms would be invited to do the job for the lowest asking price.
The board approved the McDonough contract by a 6-5 vote.
Goslin, of Glenview, Larry Suffredin of Evanston and Jerry Butler,
Forrest Claypool, Deborah Sims and Joseph Moreno, all of Chicago, voted
for it. Schneider, Liz Doody Gorman of Orland Park and Bridget Gainer
and Earlean Collins of Chicago voted against it, with three
commissioners voting "present" and three absent.