One of the reasons state Sen. LARRY BOMKE, R-Springfield, didn’t seek a new term was because his insurance agency had merged with a regional firm that could handle larger enterprises.

One of the reasons state Sen. LARRY BOMKE, R-Springfield, didn’t seek a new term was because his insurance agency had merged with a regional firm that could handle larger enterprises.

Well, the old Hollis, Neff & Bomke wasn’t large enough for one new client, but Paris, Ill.-based Dimond Bros. Insurance, for which Bomke is now an agent, is, the senator said. That client is the Springfield Metro Sanitary District: Dimond Brothers recently became the district’s insurance provider for an annual premium of $420,000. The one-year term began May. 1.

“It’s a complete package for the district,” said GREGG HUMPHREY, executive director of the district. The Dimond contract also represents a $43,000 savings compared to the other proposal, from R.W. Troxell & Co., the Springfield agency that previously had the district as its client.

“It came down to dollars … and that’s how it was presented to the board,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey said the deal involves all the district’s insurance, covering various types of liability, worker’s compensation, the auto fleet and machinery. The general liability portion covers the district’s property, valued at $160 million, he said.

Bomke said he did some work on the bid, though another Dimond agent, DAVID RIDLEY, put in “the bulk of the time.” Bomke and Ridley both attended the April board meeting where the vote was taken, as did MIKE AIELLO, president of Troxell.

“Based upon the bid specs, they had a better price,” Aiello said later. “We write business and lose business every day. The companies that we represent set pricing. That’s why we have so many companies that we market through. Some companies are hot and offer great pricing, and other companies may be increasing pricing based upon their loss history in this area.”

Aiello, who is the brother of Sangamon County Clerk JOE AIELLO, said JOHN HESTER, Troxell’s vice president, was the agency’s main contact person with the sanitary district.

The district, whose territory includes Springfield, Rochester, Sherman, Leland Grove, Jerome, some unincorporated areas and many Lake Springfield properties, is nearly finished with its new Spring Creek plant, which could start treating sewage in June. That part of the project has cost about $90 million. The final phase of the project — upgraded facilities that in part will further break down sludge — will bring the total to about $120 million.

Bomke said the amount his agency receives of the $420,000 annual premium is “not something you disclose, but it’s not very much.” He also said he’s not aware of any potential conflict of interest because he’s a state legislator.

He said he’s “pretty certain” he’s never been asked to write a letter seeking state aid for the district.

“I’ve never been asked, nor have I gotten them any grants or anything like that,” Bomke said.
 
Not pitch perfect
KATHY WASSINK, an occupational therapist and business owner from Shipman who is one of the four finalists to be the GOP nominee for the U.S. House from the 13th Congressional District, might have had the wrong audience for some of her comments to Sangamon County GOP committeemen Monday night.

Wassink discussed how her efforts helped elect conservative politicians in 2010, including state Sen. SAM McCANN, R-Carlinville. In fact, she mentioned McCann at least three times.
“We moved him 20 points in over two months,” said Wassink, “We believed in him.”

Just so happens that in 2012, Sangamon County Republicans endorsed one of their own committeemen, GRAY NOLL, over McCann in the new 50th Senate District. McCann won the primary, but Noll, a precinct committeeman, was among audience members Monday.

“I was hoping people would understand the concept” of how she’s worked with grass-roots members of the GOP, Wassink told me later, stressing she wasn’t involved in this year’s McCann race. She said she didn’t know during her speech that Noll was among committeemen in the room, but she did find out later and talked with him.

“I think Gray Noll is a great guy,” she said.

Meanwhile, RODNEY DAVIS, another candidate to replace retiring U.S. Rep. TIM JOHNSON, R-Urbana, on the November ballot, in discussing how close a race might be shaping up in the new 13th, notes that 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate BILL BRADY got just under 54 percent in the territory.

Brady has endorsed his 2010 campaign manager, JERRY CLARKE, to replace Johnson on the congressional ballot. Brady’s endorsement news release claimed Brady got more than 60 percent in the 14 counties of the new 13th.

Davis’ number, however, which is based on precinct-by-precinct counts, appears to be more accurate. DAN EGLER, spokesman for Brady, said the percentage he used was for full counties, not just the parts of the 14 counties in the new 13th.

All four finalists have hurdles to overcome to get the nod from the 14 GOP county chairmen who plan to make the decision Saturday.

Davis works for U.S. Rep. JOHN SHIMKUS, R-Collinsville, who was among congressmen who backed McCann in that 50th District race. Johnson himself has said Clarke should be excluded because he’s Johnson’s former chief of staff. And ERIKA HAROLD, the 2003 Miss America, although she lived in Urbana for most of her life, now practices law in Chicago.
 
Condolences   
Condolences to Springfield Ward 7 Ald. JOE McMENAMIN on the death — on Mother’s Day — of his mother, MARGARET McMENAMIN, at her Deerfield home. She was 89.

“Mom was a vigorous, generous and open-hearted woman who knew how to spread herself in all directions without playing favorites,” said the alderman, the sixth of 12 children of Margaret and the late ROBERT McMENAMIN.

 “Mom and Dad expected all of us to study and read, and there was no TV on school nights,” he also said in comments shown in their entirety on the First Reading blog at sj-r.com. “Mom and Dad produced two teachers, a doctor, a physical therapist, a CPA, three attorneys, a banker, two finance officers and homemakers.”

Best to the family.

Bernard Schoenburg is political columnist for The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at 788-1540 or follow him via twitter.com/bschoenburg. His email address is
bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com.