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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ind. Gov't. - "Storm Water Board resigns: Council criticized no-bid contract"

A story from the August 5th Louisville Courier Journal (ILB entry here) was headed "No-bid contracts split council: New Albany debates 2 agreements' validity".

On Aug. 7th the LCJ story reported that "The New Albany City Council authorized legal action last night to determine whether two no-bid contracts, one for $3.3 million a year to run the sewer system and the other for $507,000 annually for storm drainage operations, are valid." - see ILB entry here.

Next, on Aug. 8th Dick Kaukas of the LCJ, who has reported all these stories, wrote: "Less than 24 hours after the New Albany City Council voted to file lawsuits to challenge the validity of two no-bid contracts, Mayor James Garner vetoed the resolution."

Today Kaukas reports:

Criticized by some New Albany City Council members for entering into a $507,000 no-bid contract, the city's three-member Storm Water Board resigned yesterday at the end of its regular monthly meeting.

"The board and the council have vastly different philosophies on how we should operate," said Tim Deatrick, who had been appointed head of the board by Mayor James Garner after it was set up by the council last year.

"Bottom line, the council created the board," Deatrick said, "and if the council doesn't agree with the board, we can acquiesce or resign. We decided to resign." * * *

Deatrick said a main factor in the unanimous decision to resign was the council's 6-2 vote last week to override a veto by Garner. The mayor had tried to block a council resolution that authorized filing a lawsuit to determine if two no-bid contracts, including the one involving the Storm Water Board, were valid.

Both of the contracts awarded last month are with Environmental Management Corp., the company that has run the city's sewer system since 2001. * * *

The agreements were awarded without competitive bidding. Lawyers for both boards have contended that bids are not required under state law because the contracts are for professional services, not for specific construction or other projects.

But the agreements prompted immediate council criticism, resulting in adoption of the resolution authorizing Jerry Ulrich, the council's lawyer, to ask Floyd Circuit Court if the contracts are valid. Ulrich has said he believes state law required bids for both contracts.

The lawsuit had not yet been filed as of yesterday, according to the court clerk.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 18, 2007 04:58 PM
Posted to Indiana Government