Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What is an Emergency Purchase?

According to the Town of New Hartford Purchase Policy, it is:
Only those situations that require immediate action, apart from normal procedures, would classify as "emergency". Also, when an emergency vehicle is involved and repairs are required immediately.

This would include situations that would be threatening to life and property due to fire, explosion, flood, electrical failure or extreme weather and immediate action is required....
Unless an emergency meeting is required, at the next Town Board meeting, the Supervisor, Comptroller and responsible Department Head will apprise the Board of the situation, what was done and what needs to be done.
So on June 28, 2007, the town board called a Special Board Meeting to address an emergency situation regarding the need to lease a vehicle for Chief Philo to replace his 1999 Crown Victoria.

Seeing that the car the Chief was driving only had about 56,000 miles, we were curious as to what could be so wrong with the car that it would require an "emergency" board resolution to circumvent the bidding process so we FOILed the maintenance records for the Chief's car.

Besides routine maintenance like change oil, filter & lube, according to the Vehicle Maintenance Record, in June 2006 someone replaced all brakes, rotors, shoes and tie rod ends.

On May 15, 2007, according to the Vehicle Maintenance Record, the car had an oil change and the record notes to "check the front end - loose upper ball joint (Pass)". They did the oil change, but they apparently did not replace the ball joints.

Then strange as it may seem...a month and a half later...replacing this car suddenly becomes an emergency so much so that a "Special" Town Board meeting is called on June 28, 2007 and a resolution is passed to lease a new Ford 500 to replace the 1999 Crown Victoria.

By law, an emergency purchase does not require bids. Isn't it amazing how the replacement vehicle just happens to have been leased from Steet-Ponte...no bid needed (quinky dink?).

And now for the rest of the story...

The 1999 Ford Crown Victoria was recently declared surplus, so we waited until the town listed the car on eBay.

According to the eBay listing, the car has 56,237 miles; "driven by Chief and not used for routine patrol...Vehicle runs good...power steering system may need work. Unknown if pump is bad; suspension also needs work, possibly tie-rods and/or ball joints". Gee, do tie rod ends only last for a year because if you remember, they were replaced in June 2006? I can't believe that the mechanic who worked on the car didn't note all those problems on the Vehicle Maintenance Record in May 2007 or did the car (56,237 miles) suddenly fall apart between May 15 and June 28th? Wouldn't it be interesting to find out who ended up buying this car on eBay?

By the way, we found this interesting. Under Vehicle Information on the eBay listing it says "For sale by: Dealer". Now that's strange...every other car that the town has recently sold says it is for sale by a Private Seller. The Town of New Hartford is not a car dealer...is it? Maybe it was just a "mistake" or SNAFU. Also strange that according to CARFAX, the title to this car was issued or updated on July 12, 2007. Hmm...that's right after the town leased the new Ford 500 from Steet-Ponte, isn't it? And, yet the eBay listing says that the car has been off the road for 3-6 months. Hmm, isn't June of 2007 almost a year that it has been off the road?

By the way, not one member of the board voted against this "emergency" purchase...not one of them!

We're not done yet...wait until our next blog.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Buyer is dishonest and irresponsible. Never paid for product!!! Dec-17-07 22:53Seller: cmmotorsport1(176) "

That's the feedback of the winning bidder...

Wonder who the lucky person was. Wish I knew, I might have placed a bid. I could use a new car for cheap.

Anonymous said...

This is typical, nothing is ever done about the crap philo pulls. None of the board members have a set to question his actions