Updated: Dec 31, 2020
The Orland Park Village Board, led by Mayor Keith Pekau, violated the Illinois Public Works Change Order Act, according to village attorney E. Kenneth Fricker, when the Board added $3.8 million to a village road project originally approved for $1.9 million bid to Austin Tyler Construction in Elwood, IL.
Trustee Jim Dodge, the lone dissenting vote on expanding the project without going out for bid, voiced his objection to the additional $3.8 million that was not a part of the bidding process.
"It was absolutely wrong to do it the way they did. It should have come through the budget process, there should have been public discussion and we should have considered the impact of doing this through pure debt financing," Dodge said. "And now the village has violated state statute."
On Friday, May 24, 2019, in an action that appears to acknowledge the violation, it was reported by Patch.com, that Orland Park village officials have put a hold on the $3.8 million no bid award.
When contacted by Patch.com for a quote on yet another self-induced crisis, Mayor Keith Pekau responded: "This was a political hatchet job consistent with the last dozen or so articles you have written," he said in an email. "You are not a credible journalist. Therefore, I will not be meeting with you or talking you at any time."
Pekau did not offer any explanations of how this significant violation occurred, remedies to the current situation, or future safeguards against his Board majority from committing ethical violations.
“The residents of Orland Park expect transparency and the Board to act in their best interests, not attacking the press or others when the results of poor decisions are reported. A very disturbing pattern is emerging” said Dodge.
“This no-bid, contract extension which violates state law is a one of many examples. Pekau ran against the pay and the pension for the mayor’s office yet he just voted with his new trustees to keep his position pension eligible. Further, he voted with the rest of the board to eliminate his responsibilities for full-time focus on economic development, yet he still collects the all pay. Despite his claims otherwise, there is simply no obligation for an elected official to take the paycheck. I didn’t for a full seven years while I was on the Metra Board. One has to wonder, what’s next?” said Trustee Jim Dodge.