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Controversy swirls over appointments at Cicero board meeting

— Questions arose over contracts and committees at the Cicero Town Board’s regular meeting Wednesday, March 14.

First, Supervisor Jim Corl asked for a resolution to “enter into an agreement for a period of one year with David Kirk to perform professional information technology services to the town of Cicero and authorizing the Supervisor to execute a contract for services. The town has received a proposed scope of services from Mr. Kirk which includes, among other services, providing the town with a stable and budgeted computing platform. The cost of the contract is an amount not to exceed $5,500 annually.”

Kirk chairs the town’s Information Technology Committee, an all-volunteer group, and Corl said his services have far exceeded those expected of a volunteer.

“He’s been very helpful to the board, and I would like to see that he be provided a stipend,” Corl said. “He’s spent countless hours so far — hundreds of hours this year — so I wanted to bring that up to the board for discussion.”

Councilor Lynn Jennings, a former member of the IT committee, objected heartily to the proposal.

“I feel it’s a conflict of interest to put money to Dave Kirk, who is chairing a committee,” he said. “I don’t believe an RFP [request for proposals] has gone out on this. Is there maybe someone out there better qualified or somebody that will do it for less? I’ve worked with Dave, but I just think to come up with another $5,500 to pay an individual that volunteered to chair a committee is wasteful spending. At the least, we need to send out an RFP and see if there is any response to that.”

Jennings pointed to the financial constraints the town faced elsewhere, including the fact that other departments had to move full-time employees to part-time positions while other positions were cut.

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