Monday, April 28, 2008

Does the Charter matter? (Norton boiler 6)

Yesterday I started explaining my concern about the possible deliberate and systematic withholding of Norton boiler-related information from me. But today I want to return to what may be another critical issue in getting to the bottom of the "documented"* part of the Boiler Imbroglio.

The issue is called the Town Charter. And while some people may have their own interpretation of the Charter (and perhaps other parts of the Charter override this particular section), I think it's worthwhile to read section 7-8 Purchasing - C - 6:

"If the lowest bidder meets all specifications, is responsive, and, if applicable, qualified, but the bid is not acceptable to the Manager, the Public Building Commission, or the Board of Education, the matter must be referred to the Council for its decision on whether to reject all bids, to accept a higher bid, or to take such other action as may be in the best interests of the Town."*

And here's the thing... as far as I can recall, the Council never voted to "reject all bids" or do anything else. The only thing I recall doing was to award bids 1 and 2... and then table the motion to award bid 3 (along with getting a whole bunch of runaround from staff whenever I asked questions).

Anyway, I feel a lot of people are pointing fingers at the PBC... questioning their actions, but I'll defend them on this point about the Charter. See, IMO, Charter rules must be followed, but it's also somewhat unfair to expect volunteers to be extremely well-versed in the Charter. That's why we have staff... the Administration (as compared to the various Legislative bodies) should be ensuring things are done correctly. Unfortunately, if we want staff to start ensuring the Charter is followed, the Council would need to direct staff to take such action. And I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Tim White

* By "documented" I mean the issues that are noted in official documents and therefore are easily identified. I compare this to the possible second issue of information being withheld from me which, if true, would be inherently more difficult to demonstrate as it is like "proving a negative" and is therefore much less easy to do.

*To find this section, click on the word "Charter," then "Chapter 7: Finance and Taxation" will appear, then click on "7-8 Purchasing."


Anonymous said...

And here's the thing... as far as I can recall, the Council never voted to "reject all bids" or do anything else.

That's the exact point I was trying to make in a few of my posts, Tim. The Charter has to be followed (as would Robert's Rules). Once the coucil votes to accept CT Combustion's bid (which was the last vote or action taken by the council) then that should be the "end of story." Only if a problem came up with the bid, should it be referred back to the council for their review. I don't know how anyone else but the council could "throw out" CT Combustion's bid and have a motion on the agenda (last meeting) expecting to take a vote on accepting a new bid from a different company.
Votes are final as far as I know unless rescinded or nulled or however Robert's Rules of Order allows councils to deal with votes.
At least this is how I interpret the charter and R.R.

tim white said...

That's the exact point I was trying to make in a few of my posts, Tim.

I know. And I thank you and CT Combustion for making me aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Here is in part sections from the code of ordinances 2-26 as they relate to the PBC and it's responsibilities and limitations -

(g) Contract documents; bidding; and construction phase:
1. After approval of the design by the council, the commission shall cause to be prepared bid and contract documents and shall seek competitive bids, in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Charter and any conditions imposed by any grant or gift, for construction of each building project. All bid and contract documents shall be submitted to the town attorney for review and approval at least thirty (30) days prior to the proposed date of publication of the notice of request for bids. No bid shall bepublished until final legal review and approval has been completed by the town attorney. The commission shall refer all bids obtained to the council with its recommendations as to which bid should be accepted.

So I ask:
Did the council approve of the different design (spec changes)that appear in this new bid from this local company?

When the council voted on and approved the PBC recommendation of acceptance of CT Combustion's bid, at what point or at what meeting since then did the council move to reconsider their prior vote?

The public needs to know exactly what happened here. Were the rules followed? I hope we get answers.