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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sewer Extension Contract's Legality Questioned

At Monday's Council meeting it was disclosed that on March 23rd, 2009 a contract was "given" to Thompson Engineering (formally Moore Engineering) in the amount of $16,449 for sewer extension work along HWY 181 (Silverwood/Gaineswood Subdivisions)-- without the required prior approval of the City Council. Councilman Rick Kingrea: "The Mayor signed the contract without Council approval. . . (and) neglected to do what was necessary." [State Bid Law requires "competitive bids" for most public works projects over $15,000 and Fairhope City Resolution # 1488-09 --signed by the Mayor-- requires proposed expenditures of over $7,500 first be presented by staff to the Council for approval] Councilman Mike Ford contended, "We generally don't bid out professional contracts anyway . . . just give them to people we know who can do the job." Mayor Kant claimed he "signed no contract;" but later conceded, "I take full responsibility myself." (No kind of oral contract was mentioned by anyone present.) Council President Quinn surmised: "Our biggest problem. . . is communication: hopefully we'll have more;" and has expressed still unresolved concerns about how the (sewer) line would be paid for by subdivision customers (tap fees?, per front foot?, etc). Citing various other concerns, the Council voted not to approve the ex post facto contract. A long-standing proposal by a private sewer company (BCSS) to provide service to this area (as well as to purchase Fairhope's entire system) is still on the table, apparently awaiting data from the Mayor's Office to be decided one way or another by the Council. The city's sewage system chronically runs in the red financially. [Publisher's Note: Since the engineering work has already been accomplished-- it remains unclear if/how the Engineering firm will be paid.]

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's the usual good old boy's club at work behind the scenes

Captain Jack said...

whole thing doesn't smell right to me. any campaign contributions involved here?

Anonymous said...

kick backs, kick backs, right into the pocket packs.

Sarge said...

if city employees dont follow the rules they need to be punished even if the Mayor ordered them to do it. this isn't like the military where just following orders is an excuse. military has different laws.