Thursday, July 25, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
During a regular meeting on July 15, the Broadview Board of Trustees voted to approve new contracts with a lobbyist and a consulting firm that specializes in writing grants.
The board voted 5-1 in favor of authorizing and approving a new 1-year contract with Alfred G. Ronan Ltd. for lobbying services in the village. Trustee Sherman Jones voted against the measure.
Ronan, 71, is a former Democratic lawmaker who served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1979 to 1993. After leaving the House, he started his own lobbying firm.
Ronan was first hired to do lobbying services for Broadview in 2017. At the time, state campaign documents showed that Ronan was a significant contributor to Friends of Katrina R. Thompson — Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson’s political committee.
To date, Ronan’s firm has contributed $1,700 to Thompson’s committee, according to Illinois Sunshine. Ronan’s most recent contribution to Thompson’s committee was in February.
During the July 15 meeting, one Broadview resident and a trustee expressed concerns about the $4,000 a month the village pays for Ronan’s services.
“Now that we’ve had this person, what have we gotten for our money?” asked Broadview resident Shirley Redmond, a mainstay at village board meetings.
“I’m not comfortable with the minimum amount of information and data that he’s provided to the village for $4,000 a month,” said Trustee Sherman Jones during the meeting. “He doesn’t specifically identify exactly what he’s done, who he’s talked to — when, where, what, why or how — but we’re giving him $4,000, with the expectation that he’s doing it.”
But the mayor argued that Ronan’s firm has helped the village secure around $2.2 million in recent funding for capital improvements.
“Ronan has assisted us as we moved forward on initiatives at the state level,” Thompson said, adding that Ronan provides reports of his activities in memos that are submitted with each invoice.
Contract with grant-writing firm approved
During the July 15 meeting, the Broadview board voted 6-0 to approve and authorize a new 1-year, $14,000 contract with Administrative Consulting Specialists, LLC., a firm that specializes in writing grants for various taxing bodies, particularly fire and police departments.
The board hired ACS last year to write grants for the village’s various departments. At the time, Todd Kupsak, the firm’s president, said that his firm cut the village some slack. Typically, he said, the company charges $8,000 to $10,000 per department for their services.
“We shaved money off,” he said, referencing the price they charged Broadview.
Kupsak said that the firm’s price is based on a town’s population, the amount of work they’ll be doing, how many departments are in a village and the extent of the village’s needs.
“We charge less for what it would be to charge a part-timer to come in,” Kupsak said in 2018.
During the July 15 meeting, Thompson said that, so far, the village’s investment has paid off. She said that ACS has helped the village secure roughly $676,000 in total grants pending, with $267,346 having been awarded so far.
“We’re getting value for our money,” she said. VFP
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