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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Enough waiting for FOILed info on missing vehicles...

Time to call in the "big guns" or maybe the "heavy hitters".

On October 30, 2007, we sent a FOIL request for information regarding several town vehicles. The town clerk acknowledged receipt of our FOIL request on October 31, 2007. One of the pieces of information we have not been given is what happened to the 1997 Ford E150 Van, VIN #FTEE1425VHB74499. According to the town vehicle list provided to us on March 19, 2007 to satisfy our FOIL request, this van is noted as "*Plates turned in to DMV and in the process of being removed from town's insurance", but we didn't receive the license surrender receipt that we FOILed for this vehicle. Guess it must of been one of the receipts that got "crumpled up". Actually, there appears to be a typo for the VIN number on the equipment list provided to us, but we believe it is the same vehicle as mentioned in the June 7, 2006 Town Board meeting:
Emergency Vehicle Purchase
Upon recommendation of the Highway Superintendent, Councilman Payne introduced the following Resolution for adoption; seconded by Councilman Woodland:

(RESOLUTION NO. 168 OF 2006)

WHEREAS, during the first week of June 2006, it had been determined by Mechanics in the Highway Department that the 1997 Ford Econoline Van [VIN 1FTEE1425VHB74499] with 140,000 miles, used by the Buildings and Grounds Department, the Traffic and Safety Department, the Sewer Department and the Highway Department, would require a minimum of Fifteen Hundred Dollars ($1500) plus labor to repair the engine; and

WHEREAS, this is the only vehicle of this type for use with the Highway Department, and due to the repair costs and mileage, it had been determined that the 1997 Ford Van should not be repaired and that an emergency replacement was justified;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Board of the Town of New Hartford does hereby recognize and declare the aforementioned circumstances as an emergency situation and does further authorize and direct the payment of Twelve Thousand Nine Hundred Eighty-two Dollars and Twenty-four Cents ($12,982.24), Purchase Order No. 76794, to Steet-Ponte Ford for the required replacement vehicle, a 2006 Ford E150, CarGoVan, VIN 1FTRE14W16VA40974.

The Resolution was declared unanimously carried and duly ADOPTED.
We guess the Town did not have to advertise for bids in the Observer Dispatch even though the cost of the replacement vehicle was over $10,000 because it was an emergency situation.

Then there is the police chief's vehicle. Remember my blog? They even had to call a Special Town Board meeting for this one on June 28, 2007:
Lease – Ford 500 – Police Chief
Police Commission member Kevin Copeland explained that the 1999 Ford Crown Victoria, which is presently being driven by Chief Raymond Philo, needs to be replaced due to the fact that there are some serious repairs needed on the vehicle, a safety concern. On behalf of the Police Commission, Mr. Copeland has spoken with Steet-Ponte Ford regarding the lease of a 2007 Ford 500, rather than purchasing a vehicle through a State Contract. The dealerships are now offering better incentive programs because the 2008 vehicles will be arriving shortly. The 1999 Ford Crown Victoria could be advertised on E-bay for sale. This lease would have no impact on the Police Department’s Budget. Councilman Waszkiewicz was concerned about mileage on a lease vehicle, but Mr. Copeland explained that the lease mileage is twelve thousand (12,000) miles a year and the Chief is presently driving six or seven thousand (6,000 or 7,000) miles a year. Kevin Copeland also stated that at the end of the lease period there would be no additional fees. The cost of leasing the vehicle would run approximately Two Hundred Seventy-Three Dollars ($273) per month. Councilman Waszkiewicz presented the following Resolution for adoption; seconded by Councilman Reynolds:

(RESOLUTION NO. 144 OF 2007)

RESOLVED that the New Hartford Town Board does approve the lease of a 2007 Ford 500 as a replacement vehicle for the 1999 Ford Crown Victoria, Vehicle Identification Number 2FAFP71W4XX110777, which Police Chief Raymond Philo is presently driving, at a monthly lease payment not to exceed Three Hundred Dollars ($300).

The Resolution was declared unanimously carried and duly ADOPTED.
Another emergency! Thank goodness for Steet-Ponte Ford...always at the ready whenever the Town of New Hartford has an emergency and there is no time to go out to bid! They can even offer the town better than State Contract prices...yes, they can! By the way, where is the "old" police chief's car...we haven't seen it listed on eBay, but according to page 3 of the 9/11/07 Schedule of Commercial Vehicles received from Bailey, Haskell & LaLonde, the vehicle is still being insured. Must be somewhere around Town. Hope it is not being driven without those "serious repairs" having first been taken care of!

While we are at it, on November 18, 2007, we submitted a FOIL request for the whereabouts of the 1995 Bobcat MDL 853 as noted in the September 20, 2006 town board minutes:

Surplus Vehicle Sale
The Highway Superintendent would like to auction or sell to someone who is interested in purchasing the following vehicles directly from the Town:

1995 Bobcat MDL853 - Serial Number 512819013
1980 Mack Dump - VIN RM6864X1160

A discussion was held regarding the possibility of trying to sell these vehicles on e-bay. It was the consensus of the Board to declare these vehicles as surplus and to sell them. Councilman Payne will discuss putting these vehicles on e-bay with the Highway Superintendent.

The 1980 Mack Dump was sold to Al Roberts on November 1, 2006--not on eBay, but what happened to the 1995 is not currently on the 2007-2008 list of insured vehicles and we don't see a bid opening or sale of a 1995 Bobcat noted in the minutes. Where did it go? The town clerk said she should have the answer for us by December 14th. Guess all we can do is wait.

While we are on the subject...the 1995 Badger that was sold to Al Roberts on November 1, 2007 along with the 1980 Mack Dump truck above. Remember, that would be the time that Al Roberts didn't submit a bid, but Roger Cleveland, the Highway Superintendent just happened to have a check in his pocket anyway...well, the VIN number given in the Town Board minutes for the "sold" vehicle doesn't match the VIN number on the license surrender receipts that we were given. The minutes list the 1995 Badger as VIN #AG038182...the license surrender receipt lists a 1995 Badger VIN #282626. Not sure if it matters, but Concerned Citizens did verify that DMV record comes up blank for VIN #AG038182. Strange!

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