Sunday, May 16, 2010


Consider this video of Commissioner Steve Meeks s,peaking relative to the awarding of a Stark County contract.  Then consider the SCPR take on the bidding process below:

Credit Commissioner Meeks for highlighting the fact that Stark County funded construction contracts are going out of county.


No Stark County companies are bidding on some of these contracts.

Stark County taxpayers should be irate that Stark County business officials are allowing this to happening.

Shouldn't the commissioners themselves be taking action to make sure that Stark County companies are bidding?

Perhaps, but doing so could lead to charges that they have a "conflict-in-interest."  Commissioners have a legal obligation to take the "lowest and best" bid on county contracts.  Obviously, "best" leaves wiggle room.

Commissioners' primary obligation, as the SCPR sees it, is to get "the best bang for the Stark County taxpayer buck."  Such would seem to put the focus on "the lowest" and assume that it is also the best unless some unreal jumps out on them (e.g. bidding company has a known  reputation for doing shoddy work).

Moreover, commissioners going out a soliciting Stark County bids could give contractors the idea that campaign contributions could grease the skids for them in getting commissioners to accept a bid that was not the lowest but is the "best" in a subjective evaluation.

Let's say Contractor "A" does make a political contribution to at least two of the commissioners.  Adding to this, that one or more of the commissioners had "encouraged" the bid in the first place; would not set to well with Stark County tax paying public if a bid gets awarded to a Stark County company; not because it was the lowest, but because it was the subjectively based "best."

So it does appear to the SCPR to encourage commissioners to be out promoting Stark County companies to bid on county contracts is a good idea.

But there are Stark County-based business promoting and trade groups who could and should be doing this.

To The Report, the fact that there are unbid by Stark County companies contracts being awarded by Stark commissioners is indication that "private" business and trade organizations are not getting the job done for Stark County companies who presumably hire of majority of Stark County workers.

Over ensuing weeks, the SCPR will be digging more into this phenomenon and envisions publishing a series of blogs on this topic.

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