Aldermen approve three-year contract with transit union; animal control services contract tabled one week

Mike Farha 06172024

Alderman Mike Farha (R-4) makes a point during Monday's Quincy City Council meeting. At left is Corporation Counsel Bruce Alford. | David Adam

QUINCY — The Quincy City Council agreed to adopt a three-year agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1108 from May 1, 2024 through April 30, 2027.

Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said the agreement calls for giving the transit union five percent increases in salary in each of the next three years.

“That’s approved and is all within the budget that (the transit department) has,” Troup said after Monday’s meeting at the Quincy Regional Training Center. “We’ll be moving forward with that and any other adjustments.”

Troup said the contract has “a few language changes.” Union members already were paying 15 percent for single coverage on the city’s health insurance plan.

Alderman Mike Farha (R-4) said he would support the agreement “against my better judgment,” noting the city has other union contracts to negotiate.

“All these bargaining units understand pattern making, and we continue to make patterns,” Farha said. “We have to understand that they all have ramifications. It’s like tumbling dominos. I get it. I understand. But it’s getting more and more unpalatable.”

Alderman Glen Ebbing (R-5) said he understood how Farha felt but asked how to stop it and what the consequences would be.

“You don’t stop it, and it just keeps happening,” Farha said. “Because once you give to one, they all want it, whether it’s sales tax or whether it’s any of this. It’s all the same.”

Troup believes the raises given to the transit department will be a factor in other union negotiations.

“There are different issues (that are) paramount for each union,” he said. “We were able to work through the transit issues, and we’re still working with the firefighters and the local 822 (of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers). We’ve narrowed the differences with both of those unions already in the discussions. … We just need to get back to the bargaining table.”

Ronna Robertson, president of Homeward Bound Waggin and chair of the Animal Control Commission, told aldermen she learned at noon Monday that approval of the animal shelter contract was on Monday’s agenda. | David Adam

Alderman tabled for one week a vote on a five-year animal shelter contract with the Western Illinois Veterinary Clinic for $1,040,250.

Ronna Robertson, president of Homeward Bound Waggin and chair of the Animal Control Commission, told aldermen she learned at noon Monday that approval of the animal shelter contract was on Monday’s agenda.   

She said she went through the emails for Homeward Bound Waggin, an animal shelter and rescue based in Quincy, and didn’t find a request or notification for a RFQ (request for quote to perform a service). She also said the president of the Quincy Humane Society only found out about the contract on Sunday.

“Homeward Bound Waggin was planning to bid on this,” Robertson said. “We’ve been watching for the RFQ to come out, for the email notification. We have not seen it. How do two prominent not-for-profit animal rescues in the city not know anything about this until it’s actually coming up for approval? The fact that we are a registered vendor makes me wonder if there is somewhere, somehow in the process, there’s a break. That’s what I’m asking.”

Robertson asked aldermen to table the approval of the contract to allow the city to review the process.

“As a taxpayer in the city of Quincy, I’m looking at this proposal, and at $208,000 a year for five years, I know for a fact that a not-for-profit can do it significantly lower,” she said. “We raise money. We get grants. The vast majority of animal control contracts are actually run across the state by not-for-profits. … We should have the opportunity to look at lower-cost options that are available within the city of Quincy.”

Corporation Counsel Bruce Alford said if there was a problem with the process, the city could reject the bid from the Western Illinois Veterinary Clinic and put out a new request for qualifications. However, Alderman Kelly Mays (R-3) said the city’s contract with the clinic expires July 10.

“It seems like tabling would be a proper thing to do,” Troup said. “Let us get these questions (answered), get with purchasing and report back at next week’s as to what options we have. We may not have any options, but give us the time to actually read the current contract.”

Mary-Ann Ervin, purchasing agent for the city, said notice of the RFQ was posted at City Hall and in The Herald-Whig. 

“The proposals are also issued mid-January and given almost four weeks before the actual due date of the RFQ,” Ervin said. “We also have a questions deadline so vendors can submit those via the vendor registry.”

Ervin also said people can register on the city’s website to set up their profile as a registered vendor to receive solicitations about contract bids.

Adam Yates, chief of the Quincy Police Department, said the RFQ form was downloaded “17 or 18 times.” Ervin said those downloads came from “11 or 12 unique emails.”

“We have about 1,925 registered vendors,” Ervin said. “Each time a vendor calls me or emails me, I make sure that they know we have to have a valid email. You need to also set up your business with the codes that reflect your business.”

In other action, aldermen:

  • Approved raffles to be conducted by the Adams County Farm Bureau, Machinist Local Lodge 822 and Blessed Sacrament Church.
  • Approved a special event application for the Quincy Freedom Fest on July 4-5 in Clat Adams Park.
  • Learned a necessary public hearing was held on May 30, and Jay C. Albert with Integrity Community Transport LLC, satisfactorily met the requirements of a limousine owner. His license was approved.
  • Approved making an insurance premium payment of $8,235 to Wright National Flood Insurance Company of St. Petersburg, Fla., for flood insurance at the water treatment plant pump station.
  • Approved an invoice from Klingner and Associates for $69,114.82 for the phase 3 water supply improvement project.
  • Approved a quote from Midwest Meter, Inc., of Edinburg for $1,007,975 for water flow meters.
  • Approved the low bid from Keokuk Contractors, Inc. of Keokuk, Iowa, for $1.349 million for the CSO Phase 2B Project.
  • Approved an invoice from Badger Meter of Milwaukee, Wis., for $10,572 for the renewal of cellular-based automatic meter reading software and meter reading services.
  • Approved a resolution to engage PMA Securities, LLC, and signed a municipal advisory agreement for the intended borrowing/issuance of $20 million of general obligation bonds.
  • Sent an ordinance putting an “All Way Stop” at the intersection of South 38th and Newcastle Drive back to the Traffic Committee.

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