“Houston, we have a problem,” began McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan’s presentation of the Finance Committee of the County Board Wednesday.
She explained that she could not conduct the February 28th township primary elections without the voting software from Dominion Voting Systems.
The problem is that, unlike last year, she was advised that she had to go out of bid because the Purchasing Ordinance requires that of items costing more than $20,000
Since the payment was almost $26,087.40, the Auditor’s Office and the Purchasing Office held up the payment.
McClellan pointed out that the purchase should have been allowed because the vendor is the sole source, an exception to the bidding requirement in the Purchasing Ordinance.
McClellan cite a case brought by Cook County Circuit Clerk Aurelia Pucinski which concluded county officials mentioned in the State Constitution had the say so about spending money once the County Board passed its budget.
She also pointed to a state law which used the word “shall” with reference to County Board duties with regard to paying election costs.
McClellan said she did not want to have to file a mandamus suit (a case asking the court to force a public official or board to do it duty).
“I don’t want to go there. I want to work this out,” she said.
Finance Committee Chairman Mike Skala and other members expressed their desire to solve McClellan’s problem, scheduling a meeting before Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
Associate County Administrator for Finance Ralph Sarbaugh pointed out that McClellan could have put in a resolution.
“You guys slammed me at 3:30 on the afternoon of Christmas Eve,” she replied vigorously.
None of the committee members objected to approving the payment, but Yvonne Barnes stated,
“I don’t want to get in the habit of putting something on the [County Board] agenda without going through the process.”