EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a press release from Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler.
EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler sent a letter to the county ethics adviser asking for an opinion concerning a conflict of interest within the county’s purchasing process.
County Purchasing Director Barry Harris also is the treasurer of the County Board chairman’s political committee. The purchasing director has the discretion to award millions of dollars per year of county contracts to vendors.
“I don’t believe the county chairman should be accepting donations from county vendors,” Prenzler said. “The county chairman has accepted about $100,000 in political donations from county vendors, which passes through the hands of his campaign treasurer. That same campaign treasurer is the county purchasing director. That is just wrong.”
Former Madison County Judge Dean Sweet was appointed the new county ethics adviser at the March County Board meeting, replacing Leo Konzen.
In February, Prenzler mailed a letter to Konzen asking for an opinion on the same issue.
A few days later, Konzen informed Prenzler that he had retired from the position Dec. 16. His retirement was not publicly announced.
“What we see here is not allowed within purchasing departments at the federal or state levels,” Prenzler said.
Prenzler, who is running for County Board chairman in November’s election, promises not to take donations from county vendors.