April 22, 2015
Does that sound crazy to you? It probably does, but it was what our County Manager, Karen Degges suggested doing for a new “Fireline Pumper Truck.”
Karen Degges told the BOC that there was a “demo unit” available, but as is her regular habit, there were no bids solicited. The county purchasing policy requires bids on a purchase of this size; however, with Ms. Degges that purchasing policy is something she frequently tries to get around.
Watch the video of Ms. Degges trying to convince the BOC to go ahead and buy the pumper without bids:
At the :53 mark, Ms. Degges tells the BOC that “we have a pumper truck that we need to replace because it needs $4000-$5000 of repairs to be useable.” The cost of the demo pumper truck would be $217,000 plus $18,000 of equipment according to Fire Chief Jarret Slocumb.
The BOC had already approved the repairs at the previous BOC meeting. When asked by the Comm. Pennamon if the repairs had been made, Mr. Slocumb told the BOC they had not because the County Manager wanted him to wait until “this” meeting. Mr. Slocumb also said that the truck had only been out of service since the last meeting (2 weeks).
Despite knowing that the truck needed less than $5000 of repairs, the BOC voted to ask for bids on a new/demo pumper truck.
Would any hard working citizen in Jasper County consider spending their own money to buy a new piece of equipment for $235,000 vs. paying for a $5000 repair?
It makes it a lot easier to spend money when it is other people’s money or SPLOST money or grant money , and it doesn’t come out of your own pocket. It is something governments do well.