August 10, 2015
TWG has had many comments both on the blog and via email about the BOC violating the county purchasing policy concerning bids while making another department stick to it 10 minutes earlier.
Trammell is determined to spend money and make deals with people he knows, out of the eye of the citizens, and it appears, even behind the backs of other commissioners. He said, “We’ve got to go ahead and get the conceptual drawings and estimates of what the final project will be.” Will these services be bid out or given to Jordan Engineering automatically like DAJC does on its projects?
TWG has obtained the grant writer’s proposal through open records. You can view it here. (It was not available at the BOC meeting where this was discussed and voted on.)
According to the proposal, Jasper County will have to pay $5,000 for the Grant Writing Service and $3,000 for Project Readiness Assistance. Trammell said if we got the grant, this amount would come out of the grant; if not, the taxpayers will pay it. He also said this amount “was competitive.” Without bids there is no way of knowing if it is competitive.
Trammell told the rest of the commissioners (who were clueless on this whole deal) that if we got the grant, it would cost $20,000. What the proposal says is:
Allen-Smith Consulting (the company awarded this work without the required bidding process) would get 6% of the grant ($30,000) IF they get the job to administer the grant! There is nothing in the proposal about $20,000. That must have been a number Trammell thought sounded good to the public and to the rest of the BOC.
What seems to concern all of us is the fact that Commissioners Henry and Luke didn’t even know what the grant money would be spent on or how much “the project” would cost. Trammell and Pennamon kept adding money via different sources—grants, SPLOST 12, the next SPLOST, more grants, etc. What the voters approved in the 2012 SPLOST was a $300,000 multi-purpose building. How did it become a million dollar building without any public input?
There have been no public meetings to show the people what this multiphase project consists of or to even ask if the public wants it. Comm. Henry even asked, “If we get this $500,000 what will we do with it?” This BOC has no idea or a pressing need, yet they want to spend money and raise taxes. Another big building will mean more insurance, more maintenance, more cleaning, more staff, etc., and MORE MONEY out of our pockets.
If the BOC had solicited bids legally, the public would have known about the project, what was being considered, and if we were getting a good deal or not. There are dozens of grant writers in Georgia, and just because Gene Trammell and Baldwin County has dealt with these consultants and he knows them, is no reason to allow this illegal act.
The reason for sealed bids for services is to keep kickbacks and favors at a minimum. Trammell thinks he is above following the rules and the rest of this Board of Commissioners is just as guilty for voting to approve the deal Trammell pushed without following the bid procedure required.
If you missed the video of the discussion and vote, click here to watch it now:
Your comments are welcome!
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