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State audit finds $250K in no-bid county contracts
Feb 02, 2006 12:00 am
January 31, 2006
A recent state audit found that last year the Wilson County Finance Office failed to solicit bids for nearly $250,000 in county contracts, a requirement under state law.
The audit revealed no-bid contracts were awarded to two separate companies for "ambulance remounts." Work on the two WEMA ambulances totaled $149,814.
In addition, the state report found the county failed to solicit bids for $106,267 in custodial services at the Wilson County Judicial Center.
Records provided by the County Finance Office showed on Sept. 23, 2004, Bridgers Coaches Inc. of Newport, Ark., billed the county $74,907 for "Taylor Made Remount/Refurbishment," and in March 2005, Select-Tech Inc. of Shelbyville billed $72,150 for an ambulance remount and an extended warranty.
The state audit confirmed neither contract was awarded through the competitive bidding process.
"Competitive bids were not solicited for the purchase of two ambulance remounts," the audit read. "The County Financial Management System of 1981 provides for purchases exceeding $5,000 to be made on a competitive bid basis after public advertisement."
In their written response, included in the 2005 state report, the County Finance Office replied, "Wilson County has purchased ambulances utilizing the bid from Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County. We were under the mistaken impression the ambulance bid included remounts as well as new ambulances."
County Finance Director Ron Gilbert was unavailable for comment Monday.
But County Mayor Robert Dedman said he was "shocked" to learn of the no-bid contracts.
"It's over our limit, and it's not an existing contract," Dedman said, speaking specifically of the ambulance work. "I'm a little shocked, really."
Dedman said he had not received an explanation from the finance office.
"They better have a real good reason for why they weren't bidded," the mayor said.
In addition to the $150,000 in ambulance remounts, the state also cited the county for failing to competitively bid out custodial services for the judicial center, which totaled more than $100,000.
"The building maintenance supervisor entered into a 19-month contract for custodial services at the Wilson County Judicial Center for $5,593 per month without soliciting competitive bids," the state report read. "County officials advised that in lieu of soliciting competitive bids for the Judicial Center, the county agreed to pay the current provider of custodial services at the Health Department the same square footage rate charged at the Health Department based on a bid awarded to that vendor in July 2000."
Dedman said Gilbert had given him the same explanation.
But the state took issue with the finance director's claim, saying the 2000 Health Department bid did not include a square footage cost, but was based instead on a weekly fee.
In rebutting the explanation given by the county, the report said, "county officials could not provide any calculations to support their claim of a per square footage amount."
"Furthermore," it went on, "the addition of the Judicial Services building created new circumstances which other potential bidders were not given the opportunity to bid on."
Staff Writer Jared Allen can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.