The [Friday] Papers
"Moderate-to-severe drought conditions now exist in all of Illinois, according to a weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor," the State Journal-Register reports.
That would be the U.S. Drought Monitor
Apparently, because of the dry weather, corn didn't get pollinated.
And some crops have literally been cooked in the field.
A great crop when it went in is now withering away before our eyes.
We Are Illinois
Well maybe that's just a coincidence and the firm is the best choice for the job.
"The school initially did so without asking for the blessing of a state oversight board that is supposed to review public contracts with potential conflicts of interest."
"The project in question involves renovations to the Urbana-Champaign campus's Natural History Building, where geology, biology and other classes are taught. The 120-year-old building is in such disrepair that half of it is closed, and the university considers it one of the campus's 'most critical priorities.'
"The university gave the architectural design contract to BLDD Architects, a central Illinois firm where Bruce Maxey is a principal who owns 8.9 percent of the company, records show. His wife, Jill Maxey, previously worked at BLDD and is now U. of I.'s associate director of planning. In that position, she works on the initial stages of construction projects. That includes helping draft the scope of the work, coordinating the vendor selection process and helping determine budgets."
Well maybe nobody else could handle the job.
"Bruce Maxey's firm won the initial contract over 33 others in 2010."
Well maybe their bid was obviously superior to the rest.
"BLDD scored just barely above the next two closest competitors."
Well I'm sure the Maxeys have a perfectly good explanation.
"Jill Maxey did not return a call for comment."
Well I'm sure university leaders can explain.
"[U]niversity officials responded to questions in writing."
"University officials said they thought they had procedures in place to avoid a conflict of interest and did not realize they needed to send the contract to the procurement board under the state's new rules."
So . . . they didn't do their homework?
"In addition, the university said it devised an internal 'firewall' to keep Jill Maxey out of decisions involving the contract or her husband's company."
Well there you have it.
"But during a May public hearing triggered by the procurement board's recommendation to void the contract, Jill Maxey's supervisor acknowledged that it was an informal wall, and there were 'a few slips,' according to a transcript. For example, Jill Maxey was copied on emails discussing the project's scope of work as BLDD's proposal was pending, the transcript said."
Oh for godsakes!
"While Jill Maxey said she did not participate in the selection process, she appointed her subordinate, Tony Battaglia, to the committee. Battaglia had his own potential conflicts: He plays in a band with BLDD employees and his brother-in-law works at the firm."
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Posted on July 13, 2012
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