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Tuesday, Sep. 23, 2014

Commission in no hurry to pay local contractor

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

BENTON - Kenny Bridger asked Scott County

commissioners once again to pay him for the new

heating and air conditioning unit he installed in the

old county jail in August.

"I want to know if you all had a change of heart,"

said Bridger during Tuesday's county commission

meeting.

Martin Priggel, presiding commissioner, said they

still have not heard back from the attorney general.

Bridger said the attorney general would only return an

opinion, not a decision, but Priggel repeated the

commission's belief that if they pay for the unit the

commission will be held responsible for the way it was

bid.

Bridger then questioned commissioners on a couple of

other purchases.

He first asked about a contract to haul dirt for the

county that went to a first cousin of Commissioner

Jamie Burger's father.

Rita Milam, county clerk, said auditors have advised

the county that as long as they "give everyone an even

chance to bid on the same thing then you've fulfilled

the bidding process no matter who it is."

Milam said some public officials have found it

appropriate to abstain from voting when they know a

contract will be awarded to someone close to them.

Milam later produced a document showing the bids for

the dirt-hauling contract with per-hour prices.

Priggel said the commission is simply interested in

getting the best bid. "I don't think you are," Bridger

replied.

Next, Bridger questioned a car purchase which he said

was similar to the disputed HVAC purchase. "It's the

same situation," said Bridger.

"No, it isn't," said Walter Bizzell, commissioner. He

said the major difference was that they did not

participate in the bidding on the HVAC and were only

informed after the fact.

"We don't let people bid for us," said Bizzell. "We

don't ever let other people do our bidding."

Bridger said county purchases have been made in ways

that were "OK for others but not for me." He repeated

his statement made during his previous meeting with

commissioners that he is not concerned about the money

itself. "My pride is hurt," said Bridger.

Commissioners are "just mad at (Sheriff) Bill

Ferrell," according to Bridger, and taking it out on

him because he put the air conditioner in.

Priggel denied the allegation. "We have a procedure to

follow and it has to be followed," he said. "The way

(the HVAC) was bid was illegal."

"We're trying to watch every bill that comes through

here," said Burger.

Bridger suggested the county return the new HVAC unit

and that he put the old one back on.

Commissioners said they could not permit that as the

old one may not work now. "It's been out back in the

junk pile," said Bizzell.

Milam said it would take her office some time to

fulfill Bridger's request for more county records.

"Its going to take several days to copy 10 years of

audits," she said.

On his way out, Bridger asked commissioners if he was

permitted to speak with the sheriff, referring to a

letter from the prosecuting attorney.

They said they had no problem with it as the letter

instructing Bridger to stay away from the sheriff's

department is specific to his going there to do work,

commissioners agreed, and does not prohibit Bridger

from personal visits.

In other Scott County business, commissioners

discussed a county-wide tire roundup sponsored by the

county and the Bootheel Solid Waste Management

District to be held during the first two Saturdays in

December.

Tires will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1

and Dec. 8 at the Scott County Highway Department.

Only pickup truck and passenger car tires without rims

or debris will be accepted.

Commissioners explained the tire roundup is being held

to help county residents legally dispose of their old

tires. Tires will not be accepted from dealers or

service stations.

For more information on the tire roundup call the

highway department at 545-3951.

County officials also agreed on the highway department

yard at Morley as a central collection site for used

disposable irrigation pipe.

Officials explained the Department of Natural

Resources would dispose of the pipe gathered at

central collection sites through their solid waste

program

"It will have to be rolled up good and tight and

tied," said Priggel.

There will be no charge to drop off the pipe at the

collection site.