Lake County jail to meet federal court order
BY Kitty Conley firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2012 1:44PM
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich has been working hard to restore the Lake County Jail after years of a lack of maintenance. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
CROWN POINT — The ongoing problem with the lack of maintenance of the Lake County Jail started with the previous administration under the handling of then Sheriff Roy Dominguez. The current Sheriff John Buncich is fixing it.
The U.S. Department of Justice had been brought in when a civil rights case had been filed against Lake County and Dominguez for the state of the jail, citing problems in booking, medical, cell, kitchen, and bathroom areas. The Justice Department and the courts ordered these conditions corrected.
The Lake County Commissioners have authorized signing a $3,398,974 contractd with Larson Danielson Construction Co. of LaPorte County. The next highest bidder was Powers & Sons Construction at $3,488,000. It is located in Lake County but Powers had not filed a request for local preferred consideration with his bid, which is required for that special consideration.
All three commissioners were concerned that they were not able to award the contract to the local bidder, but according to their attorney, John Dull, the bidder from Lake County had not submitted a preferred consideration with his bid.
They then voted to award the bid to Larson Danielson on a 2–1 vote with both Fran DuPey, D-2nd, and Gerry Scheub, D-3rd, voting as recommended by Dull to grant the contract.
Dull pointed out that this work couldn’t be delayed any longer. This is all required by the court order required after DOJ brought the county to trial. This will get the repairs started.
In another action the commissioners awarded a contract for new mattresses for the jail to Derby Industries, the lone bidder, for a total of $155,172.25. According to Dull, all of the mattresses had to be replaced right away because the existing mattresses were of inferior quality.
Buncich has also received the authority to sell the old OH-58 Military Surplus helicopters and a spare OH-58 engine that should have been sold at the time the previous sheriff had purchased the new helicopter. The money received can be used to offset the payments the county is already committed to on the new chopper.
Buncich told the council that this helicopter is the one that U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky had helped them get when Buncich was in office eight years ago.
Dull said that the previous sheriff was to have traded all of this in for about a half million dollars when he got the new helicopter, but he did not. They want to get it out of their way and off of the county’s insurance.
Buncich said he has received requests for information on the helicopters from various locations around the country.