Monday, May 13, 2013

Lifestar Awarded $644,520 Contract For Gracedale Transport

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa has issued an Executive Order awarding a three year, $644,520 contract, for nonemergency edical transport services at Gracedale. Lifestar was the lowest of three sealed bids. The other tow were Nazareth Ambulance ($818,820) and EMStar ($914,400). According to Stoffa, Lifestar is the most responsible and responsive bidder.

In two previous occasions, Northampton County Council rejected proposed awards to Lifestar. Council member Ken Kraft expressed concern that Lifestar was deliberately low-balling its estimate to drive Nazareth, the next closest competitor, away. Though a majority of Council believed that the County should award the contract to Nazareth, some members like President John Cusick argued that County taxpayers would actually be subsidizing Nazareth Ambulance.

After failing to get the answer he wanted from Council, Executive Stoffa decided to put the contract out to sealed bid. That removes Council from the equation. He no longer needs their approval.

Council at this point will have to decide whether the "sealed bid" process is a ruse and violates the Administrative Code. If that's what they conclude, Council and the Exec may end up in court.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's a 27% savings vs, Nazareth. Wow. I'm not opposed to a home team discount. But these typically run at about 5%. 27% is too much to ignore. Good on Stoffa.

Anonymous said...

Thnak God someone in COunty Government has the guts to do what's right.

Next all the union goons will start posting. McClure will say it's wrong to get the Nazareth votes!

Kevin Cerino said...

The question is does Lifestar have a history of low-balling bids. If not, going with them is a no-brainer. The purpose of county government should be to provide essential services without imposing an undue burden on taxpayers. In order to do this, it is sometimes necessary to piss off certain special interests.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Kevin, I don't know the answer to that question, but it's a good one. In recent history, the County has been burned by low-ball bids.

The real question right now is whether Council is willing to sue. The Exec has presented them with a fait accompli. He has set the wheels in motion for the award, and Council can only stop it with a lawsuit. The question is whether there should be litigation.

Goon said...

McClure saved Gracedale, do you really think he is going let Stoffa get away with this one?

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is Bliss. If Nazareth wanted the work, they should have bid lower. It's that simple. As long as there is a 30 day clause for the County to back out of this agreement incase of poor service, they should award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.

Anonymous said...

Panderers McClure and Kraft will stamp their feet and yell. Stoffa can just tell them if you want me to lease an overpriced building from a developer in an industrial park, you need to help me find some savings.

Besides other than make a lot of noise McClure and this council have a record of impotence in the face of the county executive.

Anonymous said...

Lifestar is a good company with a solid reputation. The county is protected by a non-performance clause. Maybe Barron can audit their performance for compliance. It'll give him some honest work to do. Stoffa acted like an exec. Finally.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa is not within charter rules for his office to do this, all contracts over 100,000.00 have to be approved by county council. This is a mess, and with this loophole in the home rule charter you should just go back to a 3 person commissioner form of government and close down county council. Because if this stands, any future executive could o whatever he wants and the bullshit reason why we have a home rule charter (closer representation by the people) will be lost.

Casino Johnny mst be wringing his hands at the future of NORCO and what he or any future executive will be able to do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are wrong. If something is bid competitively, there is no need to seek Council's blessing. They must be notified.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:33, McClure is definitely pandering, but not Kraft. McClure wants Nazareth votes. Bt that doesn't helpp Kraft, whose district is Bethlehem. The majority of those Lifestar employees live in Kraft's district, so he is actually hurting himself politically by doing what he thinks is the right thing.

Lighthouse said...

Barring substandard service (which the county should be protected from with termination language worked into the contract) this decision separates leaders from the "finger in the wind" politicians on Council.

The voters charged Council with "saving Gracedale." The workers (at least some) were asked for "give backs", and did. Council hired "private management" who has suggested savings.

How can certain Councilpersons beat their chests that they support Gracedale, and tout that they will not raise taxes, yet turn around and vote to spend an unnecessary extra half million dollars for this service over three years.

Over the years Stoffa had frequently been accused by LVR commenters of trying to make Gracedale run in the red in order to pursue some sinister Stoffa-Angle plot to sell it. The voters said "find a way to save it". Ironic that it is now County Council through their actions (which speak louder than words) who are trying to make Gracedale run in the red.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lighthouse, your girl Deb Hunter supports the majority of council going with Nazareth Ambulance. I guess she just lost all her Republican-Democrat street creed, hah?

Anonymous said...

Stoffa has just told McClure and Kraft to stick it where the sun dont shine..The question is will they bend over and take it or do something..We will see.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa did the right thing in awarding the contract to Lifestar. As ponderous as a potential lawsuit by council against the executive may seem, it is far less of a problem than Lifestar suing the county for awarding the contract to a competitor they beat on price THREE TIMES. Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

1:11PM, LifeStar does not pay a competitive wage. That's how they lowballed the bid. They also employ people who can't get hired at most of the other EMS agencies in the Valley. And, they hired competitors' employees to obtain their knowledge of local EMS operations. When they are no longer useful for their knowledge, they will find themselves on the outside looking in. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Lighthouse said...

5:55
Nice deflection, rather talk of substance. Typical. Meanwhile, I speak for myself only.

Interesting isn't that of the three who voted for Lifestar two are Democrats who have earned a somewhat "no non-sense" practicality. What is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, of those who voted for the politically popular Naz vote, three are lame duck Republicans, one is a Republican seeking re-election from Naz, and rounding out those Republicans are two of the most political Democrats on Council.

I voted to "save Gracedale." It was not on the ballot to "save Nazareth Ambulance." Which was your voter approved mandate?? Actions speak louder than words, and some on Council are purely political creatures who would rather pander for a few votes rather than truly do what is necessary to "save Gracedale".... a bit of slap in the face of those workers willing to "give back", isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hope you can prove all of that in court, there 7:10.

Anonymous said...

7:30, Ask anyone who works for a respectable EMS service in the Valley and they will tell you. There are no secrets in the EMS world. If they paid that well, everyone would apply for work there.

Anonymous said...

So Nazareth Ambulance pays better than Lifestar? How much better? Why should I subsidize an overpaid staffer?

Anonymous said...

What is Lifestar's professional reputation? Excellent.

It's fitting that the same voices calling to overspend precious taxpayer dollars by 27% are the same voices that impugn the reputation of hard working Lifestar EMTs who have nothing to with the municipal bidding process.

Losers in the marketplace and losers in life is what they are. This Nazareth bunch sounds like a pack of assholes. Glad they lost.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no reason to doubt Lifestar's professional reputation, and need a little more than some anonymous suggestions to think otherwise.

Anonymous said...

LifeStar has outbid Nazareth ambulance.

I agree w poster before, I'm all for supporting local business. But this was not a home town discount.

This is called, bend over we will stick it to you.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Stoffa made the correct decision. This is a simple Purchasing Dept. matter --- draft up a detailed request for quotation and then place the business based on the quotations received.