MCC: No conflict of interest here

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College Trustees maintain there is no conflict of interest with the firm hired to conduct a feasibility study for its proposed expansion.

Critics of MCC’s $42 million plan for a health sciences facility, clinic and fitness center have blasted Power Wellness’ role in the feasibility study.

The college in October hired Power Wellness to determine whether the expansion should move forward. The Addison-based firm also is charged with exploring potential partners to fund it. Power Wellness was paid $50,000 to conduct the study.

Because they have not been hired as a financial partner, there is no conflict, board members said.

“Right now we haven’t hired any partners,” MCC Board Chairwoman Mary Miller said Tuesday at a Committee of the Whole meeting. “We’ve hired a consultant.”

Some trustees and college officials have not ruled out Power Wellness as a potential partner.

Trustee Ron Parrish asked board members if they were comfortable with Power Wellness’ role leading the study. Parrish represents the trustees on a 16-member oversight committee that includes MCC staff and Power Wellness representatives.

Parrish has said he didn’t want the feasibility study to turn into a “justification study,” but overall is pleased with the firm’s work, he said.

“On the other hand, it frankly seems to be they might be soliciting proposals for which they might become competitive with in the future,” Parrish said.

Parrish will raise his concern at the committee’s next meeting in February.

“That question isn’t done yet,” he said after Tuesday’s meeting.

McHenry County College officials have said that the proposed expansion would go to a referendum only as a last resort.

In addition to securing private sector partners, the project could be paid for by debt certificates and alternative revenue bonds, MCC officials said.

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