Monday, June 16, 2008

Bad Bidness

Another City Council meeting tomorrow and another slew of no bid contracts being brought in by Mayor Dan Coody. There are good reasons that bids be taken and advertised, even if the present mayor chooses to ignore them. Taking bids on major projects and equipment purchases is intended to allow all businesses an equal opportunity to make a sale to the city, insure a uniform and orderly contracting process, to protect public funds by increasing the likelihood the best price will be obtained, and to reduce the potential for fraud, favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, and other abuses of discretion by public officials.

On Tuesday's Council Agenda is
an ordinance waiving the requirements of formal competitive bidding and approving the purchase of spare parts for the West Side Wastewater Treatment Plant's ultraviolet disinfection system from Wedeco, Inc. in the amount of $54,300.79. The thing hasn't been open a week, and they already need spare parts? What kind of spare parts are so special that they can't be bid and must be purchased from a single supplier at whatever price the company and the mayor agree to deal? And is this another $54,300 in cost to be added to the $63 million over run debacle?

Here's another good one.
An ordinance waiving the requirements of formal competitive bidding and approving the purchase of sewer televising equipment from Cues, Inc. in the amount of $27,627.78. Sewer televising equipment? Now there's a fascinating program the Mayor can put on the Government Channel to replace those pesky citizen forums on public affairs.

To assure top quality production value for his sewer television program, Mayor Coody is also requesting passage on the Consent Agenda of a resolution approving the purchase of operational and security equipment and cameras from Spytown USA in the amount of
$26,771.82 for the West Side Wastewater Treatment Plant; and approving a contingency in the amount of $2,500.00. Spytown USA? WTF? Are we competing with Lowell?

Even when Coody agrees to take bids on purchases, it doesn't seem to work out well for the taxpayers. You probably saw the article in today's
Northwest Arkansas Times about how we're going to have to pay an extra $10,200 for an animal shelter incinerator. They are going to reject a bid of $43,478 from Air Pollution Control Products Inc. of Virginia and go with the $53,700 bid from Bestech Environmental Resources Inc. of Alabama. The city admits that there's nothing wrong with the equipment, but they say the references weren't adequate for a company that has been in business for 40 years and has sold over 500 units. They say the low bidder is not a lowest responsible bidder, so they want to pay an extra 10 grand to another out-of-state bidder with the right number of references on a piece of paper. Sheesh!

Countdown to the end of this era of fiscal irresponsibility, only 198 days left until the Mayor has promised to step down.

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