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Out Here

They're likely right, but let's make sure

I assume the city of Morrison is right. In my line of work, however, assumptions aren't enough.

Recently, I got 111 pages of documents related to Morrison's 2009 contract to rebuild the buildings at 101-103 W. Main St., a controversial project.

I sought those documents because Alderwoman Marti Wood told me they refer to windows as part of the apparently required work for those buildings, which the city acquired after parts of them collapsed earlier in 2009.

Those buildings have no windows. Cinderblock now fills the outlines of what were once windows.

If you look at Exhibit B to the $335,000 contract, the scope of work includes "clear glass" windows.

After Wood questioned the status of the windows, the city's first explanation was that Morrison wanted only the outlines of the windows to be rebuilt. Later, officials said a change order removed the windows from the scope of work.

Indeed, a change order from Oct. 1, 2009, says, "Deduct the original scope of contract as detailed in Exhibit B."

This change order isn't easy to follow. It doesn't say what goes and what stays.

Longtime aldermen say they recall that the project was scaled back to simply secure the building structurally, remove the windows, and do other extras.

That's probably the case. But these documents don't clearly spell that out – at least to me. I've gone through them three times. Maybe I need to look at the city's meeting minutes to find the answer. (The city has less than a year's worth of minutes online; the rest are housed at City Hall.)

The city has hired a new administrator and attorney since that time, so some institutional memory is lacking.

Wood wants an explanation, as do two other council members. It wouldn't hurt to get some clarity.

Sauk Valley Media reporter David Giuliani covers the Whiteside and Lee county governments, Morrison and other smaller communities. He can be reached at dgiuliani@saukvalley or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525.

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