Careful readers of the stunning series of Illinois Auditor General audits of the Rod Blagojevich administration will note a consistent pattern: When it comes to awarding a contract, there is no limit to the number of ways the administration bypasses good government practices.
Just a few of the dodges noted by Bill Holland were a lack of notice given to prospective bidders, specs rewritten to favor a particular vendor and a lack of witnesses to bid openings.
If you read closely the shifting answers by the administration to Eric Krol's big story about the $100 million no-bid health care contract to a firm that employs the sister of Blagojevich's chief of staff, the tell-tale signs are appearing again. In a story posted Thursday evening that will be published Friday, Krol elicited this new information:
Another administrator, Anne Marie Murphy, acknowledged there was "an incredibly tight time frame" for companies to bid on Illinois Cares and that some firms later expressed regret at not bidding. She said the companies would not have asked for a formal extension of the deadline, but instead might apply next year.My guess is that the Daily Herald story was a clarifying event for a few health care vendors. They probably were wondering about why the state shut off bidding so quickly. When they read the contract went to Lon Monk's sister's firm, it probably made sense all of a sudden.
Chicago region federal health and human services officials were unavailable Thursday to verify the state's version of the bidding process.