- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An agreement shows that a privately funded renovation of the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield will follow wage and bidding rules required of traditional taxpayer-funded construction.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register (https://bit.ly/2cUjqTB ) obtained the agreement between the state’s Capital Development Board (CDB) and the non-profit Illinois Executive Mansion Association via an open records request.

The mansion association is leading efforts to raise private money for an estimated $16 million renovation of the historic home. As of Summer 2016, the campaign led by Gov. Bruce Rauner had raised $4.5 million.

Turning to the private sector for renovation of the 161-year-old mansion relies on a 2014 state law that allows the board to comply with the terms of “gifts” as long as the donated products and services cover a majority of project costs.

The association will select contractors and pay the construction bills. In return, CDB agreed to allow mansion association contractors access to the mansion and grounds. They will also provide a project liaison to oversee the work.

The Rauner administration efforts to move traditional state functions to the private sector have drawn criticism from Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly and labor groups concerned that private fundraising is an attempt to bypass traditional state rules while weakening unions.

Brad Schaive, a business manager in Springfield, said labor groups remain wary of private-public partnerships to avoid prevailing wage. He did note that local laborers have been used for emergency reports to the Executive Mansion, but unions would still monitor contractors for the larger renovation.

“It’s all been local men and women union laborers,” Schaive said. “We’ve had no reason to oppose it, yet.”

The last major renovation of the mansion was from 1970 to 1972. The goal is complete the renovation by August 2018.


Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com

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