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Union rep complains about Kendall curb work

Updated: October 24, 2012 6:25AM

YORKVILLE – A union official is questioning a Kendall County road project that he claims was done without the approval of the County Board.

Corey Johnson, field representative for the Laborer’s Union Local 149 in Aurora, told County Board members this week a $16,530 project for curbs along Orchard Road never got board approval.

The job was part of a bigger paving repair project on Orchard Road. The county hired Pessina Construction Services LLC to do the accompanying curb work.

The job gained some notoriety in August when Johnson filed a complaint because Pessina failed to pay prevailing wage to the workers on the project. Pessina admitted the mistake and paid the required back wages and a fine leveled by the Illinois Department of Labor.

But Johnson’s claims this week had nothing to do with that situation. He said he checked the minutes of every County Board meeting from the time the project was signed by the county engineer, and could not find any account of the board approving the work.

“If this one project was not put out for bid and doesn’t readily appear to have approvals concerning the expenditure of public funds, how many other times might this very same thing have happened?” Johnson said.

He went on to call it “a massive breach of the public trust.”

But county highway director Fran Klaas said the project, at $16,530, was well below the $30,000 limit needed to competitively bid. He said the highway department was in a hurry to get the project done before it was too late in the season, and going through the County Board might have delayed it further.

Klaas said he asked Pessina to do the work, and the final bill for the project did go through the board’s normal bill auditing procedures.

He added that he intends to talk to the state’s attorney’s office about clarifying guidelines for similar future projects.

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