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Recorder Of Deeds Contracts Under Investigation

By Stephanie Malench

The Madison County Board met on Wednesday, October 21 and began with a moment of silence for Larry Trucano, who had served on the county board since 1998 and passed away on October 4 at the age of 81.

The hot topic of the evening was discussion under New Business surrounding Recorder of Deeds Amy Meyer signing two contracts with Fidlar Technologies on October 1 and 2 totaling an estimated $439,000 towards the Madison County Conversion Agreement Digitalization of Records.

Prenzler learned of the contracts from a member of his administration on October 8 and immediately tried to contact Meyer. Meyer did not reply so Prenzler filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the information, which was not complied with in the 5-day window required by law and took 13 days, coming in on October 21 right before the meeting was to begin.

Twenty-five percent of the contracts were to be paid upon signing, amounting to $109,918.95. However, Prenzler has given instructions to the auditor not to pay the invoices until the board’s tax cycle committee looks at the issue at a special meeting on October 28.

The issue was why Meyer signed the contracts, when the County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza is slated to absorb the Recorder of Deeds duties after the November 3 election.

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said Meyer “signed these no-bid contracts without the approval of the finance or tax cycle committees or the county board.”

Meyer replied to the board that she signed the contract in “good faith” and was trying to get the project fully reimbursed through the CARES Act funds which at the time she sign the contract required the work be done by December 31, 2020. The money also could not already be in the budget to qualify for funding.

The scanning project began on October 9. Fidlar has agreed to put the project on hold once the scanning crew is out of the office and re-negotiate the contract or cancel pending review of the Madison County Board.

In other business, the board approved a $135,224 grant from Illinois DCFS for Administrative funding of the Children’s Advocacy Center and two grants from the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts for $12,060 from a 2020 Child Protection Data Courts Grant and $55,000 from the 2021 Enhancing Representation of Children Act.

A $1.76 million grant for FY 2019 CARES Grant Funding was approved to go towards public services, public facilities, Housing and Administration for low and moderate income families and $500,000 to the businesses that applied for assistance before August 26 in Five, ten, and fifteen thousand dollar amounts based on the number of full time employees if they can show that COVID-19 provided a hardship.

A PEP loan to the Village of Maryville was approved in the amount of $11,421.24 to complete the two pickleball courts at Drost Park.

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