Thursday, January 5, 2012

EXTRA: Some people just like to make things more complex than they truly are

For a routine maneuver that should be fairly straightforward, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District managed on Thursday to come up with a way of complicating a deal.

Among the many acts of business the water district’s commissioners had to deal with when they met was to approve the process by which they seek bids to buy new kitchen equipment for the cafeteria located in their Near North Side offices, at 100 E. Erie St.

 NOTE THAT WE’RE not talking about awarding a contract. Merely seeking bids.

In short, getting a price from anyone interested in selling the kitchen equipment to the water district so that officials can figure out who will give them the best deal.

It should be a routine matter of advertising for bids for items that include an oven, a grill, a deep fryer and a steam table.

Yet when it comes to political people, they just have a knack for complicating things – which is why the water district ultimately decided to defer any action on seeking a price.

NOT APPROVING A contract. But trying to shop.

The confusion got amped up in part by water district Commissioner Cynthia Santos, who said she wants assurances that whatever kitchen equipment the district buys for their cafeteria will be capable of preparing “healthier meals.”

Which to my sensibility is a new excuse. It’s the stove’s fault that all the food being served is, as the old cliché goes, “deep fried and dipped in chocolate.” The kitchen staff, or types of food being bought, have nothing to do with it! (Heavy sarcasm most definitely intended here).

Although I think water district Commissioner Frank Avila put the issue in proper perspective when he mockingly said that purchasing new kitchen equipment was going to force the politicos who oversee the sewage treatment plants for the Chicago area to go on “vegan diets” and “eliminate deep fried food” they may be eating too much of these days.

AND FOR THOSE of you good-government geeky types who get into contractual numbers, this particular project is to replace cafeteria equipment that was installed in 1985.

Water district officials hope that purchasing new kitchen equipment won’t cost them more than $42,500, and they’re hoping that the project will be complete by year’s end.


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