by Meganne Trela (Spring 2019)

The 2019 changes to the Local Government Professional Service Selection Act (“Act”), 50 ILCS 510/0.01 et seq., allow local government entities to waive the process for retaining professionals providing architectural, engineering, and land surveying services if the services for the project are expected to cost less than $40,000.

Prior to the enactment of Public Act 100-0968, local government entities could only waive the process if costs were expected to be less than $25,000. Furthermore, the threshold amount will increase annually “by a percentage equal to the annual unadjusted percentage increase, if any, as determined by the consumer price index-u.”

As a reminder, the law requires local governments to publish notice, by way of the newspaper, mail or e-mail, or the local government’s website before selecting   a professional. The law also outlines specific considerations that   can be used to select the service provider. Considerations may include qualifications, past record and experience, availability to meet time requirements, location, and workload, among other items.

Local governments can also conduct discussions or require public presentations by firms providing services that are deemed the most qualified. However, estimates of costs cannot be obtained as part of the proposal process. The local government must then select at least three firms it determines to be the most qualified, rank the selected firms in order of qualifications, and begin to negotiate a “a contract at a fair and reasonable compensation” with the firm holding the best qualifications. Should the negotiations fail, the local government entity may cease negotiations with the first firm and move on to the next most qualified firm. Services provided by firms that hold a satisfactory relationship for services with the local government body are exempt from this process.

The law was effective on January 1, 2019. For questions on selecting professionals to handle architectural, engineering, and land surveying services, please contact an attorney at Ottosen Britz.