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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
July 17, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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July 17, 1997

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14 Thursday, July 17, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette Anatomy of a rigged county bid Nevada law requires a county government to go through an advertised bid process when purchases of $10,000 or more are being contemplated. The purpose and intent of the law is to insure that the taxpayer receives fair value when their tax dollars are ex- pended. It appears that it is common practice for people at the highest levels of Nye County government to go to great lengths to circumvent the intent of these laws and since several millions of taxpayers' money are spent each year in this manner the ramifications are not insignificant. Everything from computers to road material, and a whole lot in between, is involved. Nye County bid number 96-21 is no exception to this rule Valley Electric Association has increased the monthly fee for its security lights from $6.30 (if both a power pole and light was installed) to $8.30. The change is effective August 1, 1997. The cost for the light, if no pole was required, stays the same at $5 a month. In addi- tion, the co-op's board ofdirec- VEA Hikes Security Light Rate to Reflect Increased Expenses tors last month also decided to limit the number of security lights to one per property. The increase in the Out- door Lighting Service (Sched- ule OL in the co-op's rates schedule) more closely re- flects the actual cost to oper- ate a VEA security light. The old rate had been in effect since 1982. O Valley Electric Association, Inc. I Ill I [ and for the sake of clarity to the reader this article will focus on bid number 96-21. At the Dec. 3, 1996, meeting of the Nye County Commis- sion bid number 96-21 was agendized for action by the commission. The action requested was to go to advertised bid for an emergency generator for the Beatty Justice facility that was bemg contemplated for construction at some future date. When questioned as to "About how much money are we talking about?" the commission was in- formed that the an- ticipated cost would be somewhere be- tween $17,000 to by Brent Mathewson $18,000 and that it could be paid for with PETT fund money (Payment Equal To Taxes). The item was approved to go to bid and be advertised. I made a private inquiry to the department head that had brought the item up as to what size emergency generator they were looking for. I was informed that the bid requirements called for a 125 KW-3 phase -208 volt-diesel powered system. The reason for my inquiry was that as a legitimate Nye County business person who has some knowledge about this type of equipment and where and how it can be purchased, it might be worth my time and effort to look into it. Also, because of an extensive amount of information that I had gained doing background investigations pertaining to com- plaints received from several Nye County businesses who had tried to participate in the Nye County bid process, I felt that this would be an excellent opportunity to get some f'n'st hand experience as to how it works. I was not to be disap- THIS MAN'S OPINI,)N 1 The Blind Lady Will come to you to save you TIME and MONEY lmpressions Window Coverings and Decor M HOURS: Mon-Sat 9.230-6:00' ' * Thrus 9.30' -8.00" Closed Sunday Shop At lime or Come By And See Our Showroom 921 S. Hun/. 160 #405 Wheeler springs Plaza (inside The Gallery of Home Furnishings) *To guarantee best prices, the estimate must be in writin for same product pointed in the latter regard. The bid advertisement was published in a local Nye County newspaper the following Friday on Dec. 6, 1996. The ad stated that sealed bids would be required to be in Tonopah at the county complex no later than 4 p.m. the following Friday Dec. 13, 1996. Opening of the bids would take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16, 1996. The bid would be awarded on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 1996 unless postponed by the board of county commissioners. The window of opportunity to re- spond to the bid was pretty tight. The prospective bidder would have to read the ad over the weekend, acquire the detailed specifications for the emer- gency generator from the county early the next week, locate a supplier and nail down a price before completing a bid application that would conform to the bid requirements within the two to three days that would be left before the fast approaching Friday deadline. All this had to be done, within this time frame, in order to supply an emergency generator for a facility that wasn't even under construction and is not under construction to this day. The detailed bid specifications turned out to be six pages long. I have a copy of item still today. Perhaps somewhere in the universe an emergency generator system does or did exist that matches these specifications. In addition to supplying this "somewhere possibly existing generator system," the bid specifications required that the bid respondent install the system and, after completing the installation, have the manufacturer's representative perform start-up and building load tests, with the architect/engineer representative in atten- dance to provide a certified field test record. There is a lot more, and it gets worse, but hopefully the reader gets the picture. On Dec. t7, 1996, the department head that had requested that the county go to bid for the emergency generator reported to the commission that the bid advertisement had been non- responsive and that the county had received no bids on it. He then asked that he be allowed to inquire on his own and see if he couldn't locate a system that would meet the bid require- ments and would fall in the price range previously discussed. The commission directed him to do so and stated at the time that since the bid advertisement had been nonresponsive that "any interested party was free to submit a late bid and that any such bid would be considered by the commission so long as it was in compliance with the bid requirements." In January 1997 the department head was back before the commission and reported that he had located an emergency generator system that met the bid requirements and asked for the approval by the commission to spend $18,266 of PETI" funds to purchase it. After being assured that no late bids had come in that complied with the bid requirements as set out in bid number 96-21, the commission approved the expenditure. I received a copy of the bid contract that the county approved within moments after the action was taken. Starting out with the fact that the generator purchased was 20 percent smaller than the bid specs called for (100 KW instead of 125 KW) and ending with the fact that the approved contract made no mention of the supplier having to install it, let alone the requirements of having factory raps and archi- tects/engineers present to test the completed installation, the approved contract in'no way complies with the bid require- ments as laid out in Nye County Bid number 96-21. Page after page of bid spec requirements were not met. This appeared to be a charade from the start. As almost all, if not all, Nye County bids are meant to be. And just as long as the taxpayers are content to stay at home, wringing their hands, and complaining that there is nothing they can do about it - it will remain that way. That is this man's opinion, f. Copyright 1997 by Brent Mathewson July 19 &' 20, 10 AM to 4 PM Everything on Sale Up to 90% off on Selected Items Ask about our Fixtures NORTHERN EMPORIUM 485-3453 106 Crook St., Goldfield, NV 89013 FUTURE HOME OF OLDFIELD BREWERY AT THE NORTHERN .... ii i