County Board approves amended Winnebago County Purchasing Ordinance


November 10, 2023

Contact: Danielle Grindle

Phone: (815) 319-4233

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. – Thursday evening, the Winnebago County Board voted to approve an amendment to sections of Chapter 2, Article VI, Division 3 of the Winnebago County Code of Ordinances, otherwise known as the Purchasing Ordinance. The ordinance, submitted by the Operations & Administrative Committee and reviewed by the State's Attorney's Office, was amended in order to support the County's desire for responsible bidders so that it may maintain the public's confidence in public works projects funded by the County.

The amended Ordinance includes a definition of "Responsible Bidder for Public Works Projects" which requires a responsible bidder to participate in active apprenticeship and training programs, ensuring a properly trained and competent work force.

Winnebago County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli worked with State representatives and local legislators to sponsor HB1236 to allow for potential apprenticeships as part of the Responsible Bidder Ordinance (RBO). Following its implementation, the county board may take into consideration the bidder's active participation in an applicable apprenticeship program registered with the United States Department of Labor.

"We took this opportunity to make a complete overhaul to our Purchasing Ordinance not only to advocate for an RBO, but to prevent other inequities in purchasing practices such as sole sourcing and the absence of competitive bidding," said Chairman Chiarelli. "Our board and staff collectively worked on finalizing this new ordinance for more than a year, and I am proud of how this will positively impact our operations and those looking to do business with Winnebago County."

The amendments are a general update based upon the expertise and experience of the County's Purchasing Department. To the extent permitted by law, the county will promote economic development by encouraging the participation of Winnebago County businesses, by providing equal opportunity for minority, Veteran, and women-owned businesses, and by applying environmentally sound practices in the procurement process.

"The need for responsible bidder and apprenticeship language is rooted in our mission to uphold high standards of work, equity, and community betterment," said District 9 Board Member John Penney. "As a board member, I was dedicated to this amendment because it signifies our unwavering commitment to quality and the creation of opportunities that enrich our community through education and workforce development."

The Purchasing Ordinance is applicable to the procurement of services, materials, and equipment for road and bridge construction, maintenance, engineering, land acquisition and such other technical supplies and engineering equipment necessary to meet the operational obligations of the county engineer, as set forth in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. The full amended Winnebago County Purchasing Ordinance can be viewed here.