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posted: 6/6/2014 5:30 AM

Divided Hanover Park board reverses course, rehires Springfield lobbyist

One Hanover Park trustee changes mind

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Just three weeks after Hanover Park trustees parted with the village's Springfield lobbyist, the board narrowly approved a new deal with the firm.

Trustee Jon Kunkel switched positions and voted Thursday night in favor of rehiring Roger C. Marquardt & Co. Inc.

The reversal allowed the agreement to pass over the objections of trustees frustrated with the communication between Marquardt and the board. Under the terms, Marquardt will charge the village $2,000 a month for eight months.

In May, a divided board voted against the deal and moved to shop around for what other lobbyists had to offer. The search was expected to help the board decide whether to rehire Marquardt, enlist a new lobbyist or end the practice of employing one.

But Kunkel urged the board to reconsider before the search got off the ground. He said in an interview he did his own research of Marquardt -- employed by Naperville and West Chicago -- and "got some clarification" from Mayor Rodney Craig that the investment pays off.

Kunkel also called for revising the agreement to ensure the firm delivers quarterly reports to the board.

In a contentious discussion, the board logged four separate 4-3 votes on the issue, with the mayor casting the tiebreakers. Trustees Bill Cannon, Ed Zimel and Jenni Konstanzer opposed the deal.

The board also instructed the village staff to seek formal proposals from other Springfield lobbyists, a process officials now hope will wrap up before the Marquardt pact expires Dec. 31. Cannon argued the search should have been an urgent priority to see if better services are available.

"So now it's going to be like everything else in government," Cannon said. "It's going to take a half a year to accomplish when I felt the way we had set it up, we could get it done in a fairly quick time. That's the power of the majority of the board."

Craig acknowledged the frustration but said officials will address the board's concerns with the firm, first hired in 2010. The DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, Northwest Municipal Conference and Illinois Municipal League also represent the village's interests with legislators.

"There's sensitivity," Craig said. "I want to make sure we're all on the same page."

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