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DuPage Election Commission Questions Need for PR Firm

The commission's director will provide a memo regarding the commission's need to employ a public relations firm Aug. 2.

New members of the DuPage Board of Election Commissioners last week questioned the need to employ Reverse Spin, a public relations firm their predecessors hired, the Daily Herald reported Sunday.

Reverse Spin Principal Dan Curry said the firm is working on a "month-to-month" basis under the terms of its former contract. The company receives $3,000 a month from the commission, according to the Herald.

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"The commission let a lot of contracts expire because they knew certain board members were going to be replaced," Curry said.

Commission staff is now proposing a $36,000 professional services contract for Reverse Spin.

Following reports earlier this year of poor ethics and procurement practices at the agency, Cronin appointed Cathy Ficker Terrill of Elmhurst and Art Ludwig of West Chicago to the Election Commission in April. Over the last several weeks, the commission has instituted new ethics, personnel and procurement policies as well as eliminated the use of credit cards and cell phone use by commission staff.

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin selected Christopher Hage on July 10 to complete the remaining term of former Chairman Rick Carney, who

The Election Commission review raised questions about how the commission awards contracts, administers ethics policies and uses taxpayer-funded credit cards, according to a statement released by DuPage County in April.

Cronin ordered the "stress tests" last year following the financial crises at the Water Commission and the DuPage Housing Authority. The County Board hired Crowe Horwath to review the financial and operational structure of 24 DuPage agencies, which account for nearly $300 million in public funds.

“The report shows that the Election Commission is another prime example of why we initiated these ‘stress tests’ in an effort to identify problems that need to be resolved,” Cronin said in a statement.The results of the Election Commission stress test show it “needs to make significant improvements to its internal control procedures and practices” regarding credit cards, ethics and procurement.
 
The commission also “failed to follow its own procurement policy in 12 of 13 contracts” reviewed by Crowe Horwath. The 12 contracts lacked competitive bidding, failed to disclose subcontractors and did not include information about the nature of the goods and services provided.

Terrill asked Bob Saar, executive director of the commission, to provide a memo at the Aug. 2 meeting explaining why Reverse Spin should have a contract, and why other firms shouldn't be allowed to bid on the work, according to the Herald. The full story, "DuPage election panel scrutinizes PR firm contract" is available on the Daily Herald website.

CountyLeaks July 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM
For more information on Reverse Spin's activities while under contract with the DuPage County Election Commission, visit www.countyleaks.http://countyleaks.blogspot.com/ http://countyleaks.blogspot.com/2011/05/ilsaap-vice-chairman-joe-birkett.html http://countyleaks.blogspot.com/2011/05/illinois-office-of-state-attorneys.html http://countyleaks.blogspot.com/2011/06/bianchi-in-daily-herald-campaign-forum.html
Deborah Donna July 17, 2012 at 01:19 PM
How long has Reverse Spin been working withuot a contract?
DuPage Drudge July 17, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Why don't you look over in Chicago and Cook County instead of worrying about DuPage?
CountyLeaks July 17, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I made a mistake in my first comment. Reverse Spin does *not* have a contract with the DuPage County Election Commission. I assumed they did. How does that work? Anyway, while receiving tax dollars from the Election Commission, with/without a contract, here's what Edgar County Watchdogs had to say: http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2011/12/more-on-the-isp-settlement-and-reverse-spin/
Bill July 17, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Does Cook County Election Commission use taxpayer money to hire an outside political strategist? Does any other County in Illinois use taxpayer money to hire political strategists?
DuPage Drudge July 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM
DuPage County is the exception to "absolute power corrupts absolutely."
CountyLeaks July 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Check out the comments from a Patch story from Nov. 2011: http://wheaton.patch.com/articles/forest-preserve-employees-accused-of-misusing-funds
Marcus July 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
What sort of name is Reverse Spin? Why would any government official hire a firm with this name and not expect some controversy? Crazy!
LVS July 17, 2012 at 05:34 PM
LVS In response to election commissioner Terrel's questioning about Reverse Spin, executive director Saar stated that Reverse Spin was brought in the address certain technology issues. Saar will need to clarify that statement in his memo re Reverse Spin and make transparent which technology issues and contracts PR firm Reverse Spin consulted on. Did they include Diebold/Dominion, Liberty Systems, Robis, SOS, Bell and Howell. Saar needs to provide the documentation of Reverse Spin's consulting on technology and technology contracts, something the consultant found missing from the files of the election commission.
CountyLeaks July 17, 2012 at 05:51 PM
This PR firm refers to themselves as "game changers" on their website's home page. Why do government entities need game changers? To smear citizens who dare to criticize the wrongdoings of officials? http://countyleaks.blogspot.com/2011/09/targeting-david-protess-six-years-ardc.html
Marcus July 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I just found the Twitter site of the guy who runs this PR firm. He's entitled to his own political viewpoints, but why would an election board want someone like this to represent them? http://twitter.com/dancurry
Charlotte Eriksen (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I think he said less than a full year.
CountyLeaks July 17, 2012 at 09:10 PM
LVS, Technology? Reverse Spin has experience with technological issues: http://countyleaks.blogspot.com/2011/10/same-tech-firm-examined-computers-in.html
jagtwlve July 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Says who; your full of malarkey. Are you for real?
jagtwlve July 17, 2012 at 11:00 PM
To protect the Republican strangle hold on DuPage County. He's bipartisan my a**. If this new commission dumps Curry, it'll be a step in the right direction.
CountyLeaks July 18, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Is this bi-partisanship? http://www.obamaandblago.com/about/
Marcus July 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM
What the...? Doesn't government check this stuff out? http://www.illinoistimes.com/Springfield/article-5214-public-relations-gone-awry.html
Ken LaTroy July 18, 2012 at 01:11 PM
It's a free country.Reverse Spin can consult the DuPage's Electoral Board and work on Republican campaigns.Anyone who has a problem with it must be one of those community organizer types who belong in Cook County instead of here.
Bill July 18, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Why does the Election Commission need to hire a political strategists who pretends to be a PR consultant? Even if this was a legitimate public relations firm, why does the Election Commission need outsourced PR work? I think its time for some budget cuts and transparency at the Election Commission.
Marcus July 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I can't get over the name.
Muriel July 18, 2012 at 07:19 PM
What?!? Let me get this straight. This government agency pays a far-right political operative our tax money to be its spokesperson? Political operatives may be of some use on the planet (although nothing comes to mind at the moment)...but an election agency? Pleeeeeease... What exactly is going on at this place? What needs spinning?
Marcus July 18, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Game changers. They call themselves game changers on the website. Just what games need changing at taxpayer expense?
jagtwlve July 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM
You don't have to go to Cook County to find political corruption. It turns out Republican DuPage County politicians play the same games, but come on, the election commission should be off limits. The EC should be beyond reproach, not requiring the likes of a slick multifaceted "game changer" who is partisan to put his spin on things. What a crock of excrement.
Marcus July 19, 2012 at 12:43 AM
The theme song of political operatives tiptoeing in the shadows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkMFLUXTEwM&feature=related
Marcus July 20, 2012 at 01:30 AM
While under contract with the DuPage's Election Board, Reverse Spin was working with Rick Reed -- the guy who boasts of being behind the swift boat attacks against John Kerry. Go to Rick Reed Media's website and watch the video which pops up. There's an endorsement from Reverse Spin. Our tax dollars were paying Reverse Spin to represent all DuPage Citizens while the firm was being paid by Reed's Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America. How crazy is that? Only in DuPage County, folks. Make a choice. Be a spokesman for the county's non-partisan election board OR be a Republican political operative. Sorry, can't do both.
SteveforDuPage July 20, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Leopoldo has been critical of the Preserve District hiring a political communications firm on the taxpayer's dime since last year. For a public body that boasts how transparent it is, they go and hire a "spin" company. Commissioner Painter and the rest of them need to go this November.
Carol B Davis July 22, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I am a resident, voter and tax payer in DuPage County not in Cook County.

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