Des Plaines aldermen who favored loosening city bidding rules for public projects failed to get enough votes Monday to override Mayor Matt Bogusz's first veto.
The city council voted last month to approve revisions to the city's so-called responsible bidder ordinance that would have removed a section requiring contractors bidding on city contracts over $25,000 to have active apprenticeship and training programs approved and registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.
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Five of the council's eight aldermen on Oct. 21 voted for the changes to the ordinance, but Bogusz issued his first veto, arguing that the existing ordinance is "the best way to mitigate liability, promote quality product and deliver the greatest value to the taxpayers of Des Plaines."
Six votes are needed to overturn a veto, but on Monday night, the council vote again tallied 5-3.
Fifth Ward Alderman Jim Brookman, who has pushed for changes to the ordinance since it was approved in 2011, said he didn't "see any real proof" in any of Bogusz's objections.
"Companies with or without apprenticeship programs can do a good job. The idea that only unions can train people is ridiculous," he said. "'Delivering the greatest value to the taxpayers of Des Plaines' flies in face of the fact that this ordinance will limit competition severely and will certainly drive up costs.
"This is trying to avoid the low bid process. We are going to get burned to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Fourth Ward Alderman Dick Sayad said the city hasn't had problems with construction projects in the past 20 years, so he questioned why the mayor was so insistent on keeping the current rules. Bogusz said he's not concerned with past projects but is looking to the future.
Brookman said the mayoral veto is "inappropriate at the local level," and he promised to work toward getting a binding referendum on the ballot for voters to consider revoking that authority from the mayor.
The council could vote to place a referendum on the ballot, or residents could collect signatures to do the same.
Brookman, Sayad, Mike Charewicz, Patricia Haugeberg and Joanna Sojka voted to override the veto; John Robinson, Denise Rodd and Mark Walsten voted to uphold it.