Hickory Hills reviews dispute between ComEd and USIC

  • Written by By Sharton L. Filkins

A routine council meeting in Hickory Hills took an unusual turn on Feb. 11 when Public Works Director Larry Boettcher presented a letter from the Hasse Construction Company requesting assistance from the city in a situation involving ComEd and the U.S. Infrastructure Corporation.

The letter from Hasse Construction outlined what they perceived as problems with a project on 85th Court, east of Hillside Drive, in which attempts to complete work on underground lines had been hampered because ComEd had not indicated which lines had been de-energized in back yards and side yards on 85th Court.

Included in the contractor’s complaints was a lack of communication between USIC and ComEd, which resulted in the contractor having staff and equipment showing up for work and not being able to complete the assignment.

Hasse was seeking compensation for the downtime, which was estimated at $20,000 for labor, $25,000 for equipment and $25,000 for lost time.

Village Engineer Mike Spolar said, “This is a very unique situation. Hasse is not looking for an exorbitant amount, but it is hard to get compensation for economic loss.”

Cutting right to the chase, Mayor Mike Howley said, “This situation is clear as mud. Everyone is pointing a finger at everyone else. How is the city involved in this?”

Ald. Mike McHugh (1st Ward) said he did not think the city was liable in this situation and Boettcher agreed with him.

Village Attorney Vince Cainkar said he would look into it to see if the city had any legal obligation in the matter. The council agreed to delay a decision until hearing from the attorney.

In a later conversation with the mayor on Feb. 12, he indicated that Hasse Construction was scheduled to be back on the job this past Tuesday. The work is expected to be completed within 10 days. He added that the city will support Hasse in whatever they wish to file against ComEd and USIC.

The mayor said he had spoken with a ComEd representative and that ComEd is aware that Hasse Construction may pursue a lawsuit. But at the present time, all entities are now co-operating with each other.

In other business, the council approved a resolution allocating $500,000 from the Motor Fuel Tax revenue for the maintenance of streets and roads in the city.

Also approved were business licenses for Exclusive Cuts at 8859 Roberts Road; Clover’s Flower Garden, 8800 W. 87th St.; and Moe’s Lord of the Wings, 8033 W. 87th St.

Ald. Debbie Ferrero (2nd Ward) and Ald. Tom McAvoy (3rd Ward) gave notice that they were not going to attend the meeting.