Thursday, April 03, 2014
NorCo Controller Suing Over No-Bid Contract
Barron complains that there's been a "breakdown in essential internal controls" that have resulted in him not being invited to bid openings, something required under County law. He claimed that, as a result of an audit of the County's compliance with the Administrative Code, he had three major concerns with the Sahl contract. First, Brown never stated why a no-bid contract was necessary, which is a requirement. Second, like four members of County Council, he believes this is a contract for "professional services," and as such, must be bid. Finally, he called it a piece meal contract, meaning that the Executive would continue issuing contracts with Sahl, but would keep them under the $100,000 threshold that would mandate a Council review.
In his complaint, Barron noted that competitive bidding should be encouraged as a "guard against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance and corruption."
I saw a smiling Executive John Brown in a hallway as the lawsuit was still being filed, and gave him the bad news. It seems I'm always dumping on the guy. He seemed nonplussed.
But not long after that encounter, I received this email from Sahl Communications. It's the first and only email this "public relations" firm has ever sent to me. And as it happens, it is now the County's former "public relations" firm.
In a meeting held Monday March 31, 2014 Northampton County Executive John Brown, informed Sahl Communications, Inc that he will be pulling the company's public relations contract with the county. After having had a meeting with his legal team and advisors the decision was made on the best interest for the county.
"After decisions with legal council and the contractor, Sahl Communications, I decided it was in the best interest of the county to withdraw the agreement."
"We came to this conclusion prior to learning about Mr. Baron's decision to file suit," said Brown "I met with Mr. Barron on Monday morning and told him I would respond back to him after considering his request."
This is from a public relations firm? The decision was made "on the best interest of the county"? After decisions with legal council?
This kind of grammar and spelling makes me agree that Sahl was not offering professional services after all. In fact, I'm not sure what that firm offered.
Will Barron withdraw the lawsuit? That seems likely. The matter is moot.
Barron finally did something right.