Thursday, December 6, 2007

The bidding process in New Hartford

Vantage Equipment LLC. did indeed put in a bid in answer to the Invitation to Bid that was in the February 22, 2007 Observer Dispatch.

The bid instructions are very clear. Here are a couple of excerpts:

#19 - ALL bidding information must be on the forms furnished and not detached from this Bidding Document.

#21 - Make and model from each component must be stated with bids.

On the Bid Specifications, page 4, it says Warranty - Bidder to state.

So Highway Superintendent Cleveland accepts this bid without having any indication of what he would get. The bid sheet has no make, model, year, number of hours, warranty, etc. And it was actually accepted. Now that is the bid proposal of either someone who didn't read the directions and has never filled out a bid sheet before or is so confident that they are going to get the bid, they didn't worry about the formalities. How could the Town of New Hartford accept a bid for an unknown piece of equipment?

Something else is very strange. Let's take a look at the Schedule of Property that Bailey, Haskell & LaLonde provided the town for the 2007-2008 insurance. We are insuring a 2007 Gradall Serial #0210017941 that was valued on 10-13-06 for $225,800.

Valued on 10-13-06...that is interesting. The Town Board didn't adopt a resolution to BAN for the purchase of the Gradall until July 11, 2007...why did the insurance company value it as of 10-13-06. And if the bid is to be believed, the Town of New Hartford, paid $207,800 for a used 2007 Gradall, but the sales contract that was signed in September 2006 was for $225,800 and that was for a 2006 used Gradall.

Concerned Citizens is wondering why a used Gradall that the town paid $207,800 for would have an insured value of $225,800. Must be we got a terrific deal or...some of the lease monies were applied to the price and that fact was not acknowledged on the bid sheet. Probably not many companies could knock $18,000 off the price of a piece of equipment unless they received the money as part of a lease/purchase agreement. Guess there is only one company in this case that could afford to do that. And the winner is...

It would be interesting to see the actual paperwork for the purchase of the Gradall; we FOILed that information on November 18, 2007, but it seems to be slow in getting here. We will report as soon as we get it though. Oh, by the way, Vantage Equipment, LLC did sign a non-collusive bidding certificate.

As a side story...last week when we went to the Town Clerk's office to pick up some of our FOILed documents, it was rather odd. We paid for the copies, and were on our way to leave, when the person in the office said, "Oh, I need to make copies so I know what we have given you. Do you mind?" No, we don't mind, but didn't you just make us copies of what you have in your hand? So you need to make copies of our copies? Is someone in the town requesting to receive a copy of everything we FOIL? Strange...very strange indeed!

3 comments:

Perplexed said...

It's beginning to smell more and more like "BID RIGGING" and too, "PRICE FIXING."

How come the Town Highway Supervisor failed to use a NYS Contract thru their General Services Agency?

I do hope that your group continues to expose these illegalities and what certainly appears to be...subtle "kick-backs" between parties.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Perplexed,

It is difficult to say for sure...we think there are still some missing pieces to the puzzle. We hope anyone with information will use our anonymous tip line. There is a link to the right of this blog.

NYS Contract prices are not always available...it varies as to what items are on state contract at any given time.

Our group is "looking into" many oddities involving several town departments. We will report as we find out information.

Lately, however, it seems that the Town of New Hartford is stonewalling our FOIL requests. To verify information received from New Hartford, we are FOILing additional copies from other municipalities. The information that we are able to pick up from other municipalities the same day is taking over 3 weeks to get from New Hartford. But we are persistent...

Anonymous said...

Your persistance is why you've made it this far.

I hope this busts like a pinyatta.