In a move of which no McHenry County Board member attending State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally’s fundraiser last night was aware, Jack Franks has asked for Requests for Proposals to lease Valley Hi, the County nursing home.
One member of the County Board asked retiring Purchasing Director Don Gray how long he had been working on the RFP and was told since June.
Next Gray was asked why he didn’t tell anyone.
Gray is reported to have said that Chairman Jack Franks and Administrator Peter Austin told him not to, to keep it quiet.
I talked to all the County Board members attending the fundraiser.
Chuck Wheeler, Chairman of the Public Health Committee knew nothing of the proposal before today.
Mike Skala, Finance Committee Chairman, knew nothing of the proposal until today.
Jeff Thorsen, Vice Chairman of the County Board, knew nothing of the proposal until today.
Craig Wilcox, liaison from the County Board to the Valley Hi Operating Board, said that no mention was made of the proposal at Wednesday night’s meeting.
“It is unfathomable to me that a Request For Qualifications regarding Valley Hi operations was released today by the county without any discussion by the County Board or appropriate committees and boards,” Wilcox said.
“The RFQ was obviously in the works for awhile, and was close enough to being released that an open and transparent government would have discussed it at our County Board meeting on Tuesday, or certainly at the Valley Hi Operating Board on Wednesday.
“I am disappointed that our County Administrator remained secret and silent and am in disbelief that our County Board Chairman feels such contempt for transparency that he would attempt such underhanded actions.
“I feel disappointment on behalf of McHenry county residents who have been misled by Chairman Franks into thinking his actions are upstanding and noble, when the reality is he consistently attempts to circumvent and knowingly avoid an open dialogue on critical issues.”
Jim Heisler, who serves on the Valley Hi Operating Board, said that not only was no mention made of the RFP by County Administrator Peter Austin, but the staffer scheduled to discuss next year’s budget on Wednesday night did not attend the meeting.
Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Gottemoller knew nothing of the proposal until today.
“As chairman of Public Health and Community Services Committee,” Wheeler said, “I am shocked and appalled to hear rumors that our County Chairman would go out for bids on Valley High to lease it out without running it through our committee or the rest of the board.
“Our employees at Valley High and our precious residents deserve better treatment than this and I apologize to them both for this behavior, “he continued.
“We can’t afford this shoot from the hip reckless leadership from Chairman Franks and County Administrator Austin.”
Kay Bates said she knew nothing of the proposal until today.
Chris Christensen did not know that an RFP was being prepared until today.
Mike Walkup also said he knew nothing about the Valley Hi proposal until today.
Michael Rein was kept in the dark, too.
Donna Kurtz did not know either.
John Reinert said he knew nothing of the proposal until today.
Kurtz told me that she and Mary McCann met with Austin on Tuesday and were assured that the only changes at Valley Hi would be privatizing some of the support services, such as, housekeeping and food service.
“To date there has been no specific problem that this leasing of Valley Hi is supposed to solve,” Kurtz said.
“And until there is a complete financial analysis using audited data, the entire RFQ is a sham because there is no proof that it is necessary.”
Appearing on the McHenry County website in the purchasing section is the following:
Broker Services for the Lease of McHenry County’s Valley Hi Nursing Home
**Pre-RFQ Meeting will be held on 8/31/17 at 10:00AM in the Administration Building at 667 Ware Rd Woodstock IL 60098**
Questions for this RFQ are due 9/6/17 by 4:00PM
Addendums will be posted after 4:00PM on 9/13/17
The detail is here.