Saturday, October 31, 2009

Town being sued over Norton boiler bidding fiasco

The WRAs Lauresha Xhihani reports on recent developments in the Norton boiler bidding fiasco:

October 30, 2009 - A heating contractor who lost out on a third round of bids on a boiler replacement project for Norton Elementary School has sued the town.

Connecticut Combustion Corp. of Middlebury filed a lawsuit last month alleging that the town breached a contract with the company in August 2007 and violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act by improperly controlling the outcome of the bidding process.

The Norton project was bid three times over the course of a year after the bidding process was repeatedly fumbled.

The missteps increased the cost of the project considerably.


Personally, I think this whole issue relates directly to the Town's failed management. Keep in mind that this fiasco - for which there have been no consequences, except to the taxpayers - cost an extra $68,000 + attorney fees.

Then there's the extra $100,000 for the Lilac Drive pump station.

And in August 2008, we spent $50,000 on a road consultant to prioritize our roads and tell us which roads to repave. But by August 2009, we learned that we're not allowed to know which roads will be repaved next year, if the $1,000,000 for road repaving passes at referendum this week.

Hopefully there will be some changes in the Council composition on Tuesday.

Tim White

48 comments:

time for a change said...

The town is being sued. That's just great.

This story is what this election is all about: corruption and incompetence versus integrity and good government.

Anonymous said...

To those who accuse Tim White of being too critical: don’t blame the messenger, there’s so much to be critical about. Thank you Tim for telling the truth. Hopefully the voters will give you a new council majority to clean up the messes.

Anonymous said...

Bowman got the contract for $68,000 more than the low bid. Where have I heard Bowman’s name before? Oh right, he’s running as a Democrat for council.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday can't come soon enough........too bad we have to turn the clocks back tonight & wait an extra hour.....

Anonymous said...

Vote for Bowman and the Dems =
put the fox in charge of the hen house.

West Cheshire said...

Town management “violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act by improperly controlling the outcome of the bidding process.”

This is exactly the kind of mismanagement that the Democrats are trying to distract our attention away from with DeCaprio’s complaints about being ‘offended’. Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

There's got to be more to this story, but somebody please tell me how $253K (White-Bowman) is a better deal than the final $211K (CT Combustion).

Btw, God bless Laura DiCaprio. Without her letter in the Herald, I might never have found this great blog.

Anonymous said...

i'm a lifelong democrat on waterbury rd. and still support the national and state party, but the cheshire dems have screwed up the town, so i'll be voting for the local republicans this year. good luck msrs. white & falvey.

corrupt or just stupid? said...

Is town management corrupt, or just stupid?

Unlike Ms. DeCaprio, I feel "appalled, disgusted, disrespected, and angry" at THIS (plus the upheavals with the police dept, public works, the pool, squandering money, and other corruption and/or mismanagement). Tuesday can't come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

wannna bet the legal fees to screwing with the bid process run a lot more than "$200,000"

Anonymous said...

Trick or treat!
Lawsuits! Lawyers! Endless legal fees! Litigation!

This is what happens when the Council doesn't supervise town staff. Wasn't it Altieri who said that he can't be bothered with the daily workings of town staff?

Anonymous said...

Trick or treat!
Lawsuits! Lawyers! Endless legal fees! Litigation!

This is what happens when the Council doesn't supervise town staff. Wasn't it Altieri who said that he can't be bothered with the daily workings of town staff?

Anonymous said...

Is this the town manager’s fault? Can he be fired for dereliction of duty? Why should we the taxpayers have to pay for this gross stupidity?

Anonymous said...

A lawsuit is not a guilty verdict. Town's businesses and individuals are sued all the time.
The town has been named in a lawsuit imvolving the unfortunate drowning of a toddler while in a babysitters care.
A car swerves off the road, hits a guard rail and the state is sued for putting the obstruction there.
You know the drill. Lawyers win.

Anonymous said...

True, towns are sued for all kinds of specious reasons. But in this case, it looks like town staff really did screw up.

One thing is certain: the taxpayers had to pay $68,000 more than if town staff had done the paperwork right.

Not Trick nor Treat said...

If you lookup the Ct Combustion case on the State's judicial webpage, it shows that the Freedom of Information Commission has intervened as a plaintiff in the case - against the town!

This is beginning to smell real bad - what has really happened here?

Contoured Views said...

Tim
If, by some miracle, Bowman wins. Does this mean his company cannot do any work for the town?
Wouldn't it be a conflict?

It will ne interesting to see the evidence that Connecticut Combustion comes up with. They will be pointing fingers.

Anonymous said...

Don't be surprised to see Milone and some Dem council members subpoenaed to give testimony to state investigators about these irregularities. Where there’s smoke…

Anonymous said...

Tim,
On your blog of the Norton School Boiler Project, and the other projects you mentioned, you
call for a change in Council makeup coming Tuesday's election. How did the Council screw up these projects? Who's responsible? Tuesday is coming up quickly!

Anonymous said...

I think that I heard that Tim was talking to one of the parties to the suit not right given the situation, do you think?

Anonymous said...

Really did Tim help to expose the Town to liability in this case? Will he be a witness for Ct. Combustion?

tim white said...

How did the Council screw up these projects?

Failure to supervise staff and failure to hold staff accountable.

Who's responsible?

Like the pool fiasco, only the Council can be held responsible by the voters.

I think that I heard that Tim was talking to one of the parties to the suit

I had to do call them. For instance, I (and others) were given "the corruption memo" only after it had been withheld from me (and others) for eleven days. And when it was given to me, it was buried inside a stack of papers. It was not highlighted whatsoever. At that point, there was absolutely no reason for me to trust staff or the Council Chair on this issue because they apparently colluded to withhold this information (I have all that documented, though I suppose your TPM doesn't allow for that). I certainly wasn't going to allow the suggestion of corruption to get ignored by the majority like all the other problems (think PD crisis, among others) in town.

In other words, if someone sent me an email that simply alluded to corruption, I would immediately bring it to my boss. I would then say that I'll gather the facts as quickly as possible. But that's not what happened in this case. Instead of highlighting a serious, potential problem, it was not brought to the attention of the full Council. As far as I'm concerned, it was covered up, withheld and - only when it had to be given to the full Council - effectively hidden from the full Council by way of burying it in a stack of papers.

Again, this reminds me of the refusal of the Council to take action 18 mos ago - when I first voiced my concerns about the looming crisis at the PD.

The Council refuses to direct staff. They defer to staff on nearly everything. I saw that back then and I saw it now. And if there were real issues with corruption (which I now believe this is about staff incompetence, not corruption), then it wouldn't make sense to defer to staff?

As for me opening the town to liability, that's ridiculous. It was town staff and the inaction of Council that opened the town up to a potential liability.

Anonymous said...

Tim, always the gentleman, gives the benefit of the doubt to town staff ("I believe this is about staff incompetence, not corruption").

Please excuse us if we smell something rotten and assume corruption. Staff fumbled on the bidding process not once, but twice. And what a coincidence that Bowman, of all people, ended up getting the contract at a hugely inflated price.

State authorities should investigate, issue subpoenas, and get to the bottom of this.

Meanwhile, you spammers who are trying to blame Tim for "exposing the town to liability": it won't fly with the voters. Clearly Milone, and Altieri/Ecke who enabled him, are responsible.

Anonymous said...

If you like the way contracts are awarded to politically connected people, then you should vote for the Democratic team that takes care of their friends and special interests rather than serve the
people that elected them.

The Democratic town chairman has become so emboldened that he has Matt Bowman on the ticket where he will be able to directly influence our government.

And, if that isn't enough, he has Justin Adinolfi on the ticket as well. If you remember, Justin worked so hard to help W/S, the mall developer, make drastic changes to the town's zoning that were required for the mall project. If elected Justin will be better able to serve the interests of W/S. Dill also supported W/S even though it would take away business from our local stores and restaurants who are also members of the very organization that he heads.

As far as Altieri and Ecke, they have proven records of supporting special interests at the expense of the taxpayers.

good govt starts Tuesday said...

Corruption is as corruption does.

If it looks, smells, and acts corrupt, it probably is.

It may be criminal corruption (kickbacks and bribes), or it may be passive corruption (winks and nods between town officials and powerful interests).

Either way, we have a culture of corruption at town hall, and that needs to change beginning this Tuesday.

Oliver Cromwell said...

To the lame duck majority party:

"Ye sordid prostitutes, you have defiled this sacred place, and turned it into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices.

"Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole (town); you who were deputized here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves grievous! So! In the name of God, just go!”

- Oliver Cromwell
(dismissing Parliament in 1653)

Anonymous said...

"A car swerves off the road, hits a guard rail and the state is sued for putting the obstruction there.
You know the drill. Lawyers win."

Except in this case...the car hit the same "guardrail" three times. The town repeatedly failed to remove the "guardrail" after first incident. All the town had to do was NOT MISS THE 45-day deadline to send the confirmation letter to CT Combustion.

Personally, I believe the town council should be personally liable for the extra $68K, legal fees and settlements that arise out of this case. Just like the board of ed is personally responsible for going over budget the council should be held accountable as well. Why should any taxpayer in Cheshire have to pay for the town's mistakes?

Lastly, as for anyone suggesting/implying that Tim opened up to the town liability that's ludicrous and nothing more than political grandstanding by the democrats. When in doubt, the democrats divert attention away from themselves.

Where's Altieri and his "good working relationship with town hall" now? At least Tim is honest enough to address the issue head on meanwhile the dem majority is tucked away in a corner in the fetal position sucking their thumbs.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the Democrats will draw some silly cartoon to explain this all away

Anonymous said...

"Either way, we have a culture of corruption at town hall, and that needs to change beginning this Tuesday."

A culture of corruption is less likely then simply a culture of incredibly low expectations and incredibly high salaries fortified by special no-cut under any circumstances work rules foisted upon all of us by out of control municipal labor unions and a council majority beholden to the municipal unions.

From wacky snow plowing practices which leave broken mail boxes and destroyed curbing, to the unmaintained sewage treatment plant (sinking) floating tank tops, and the oil truck eating instant street sink holes, to the never ending saga of the annual financial increases for the poor excuse for a municipal pool and electric heat at the high school in 2009, to the absolutely preposterous 13+% teacher contract pay raise. Add to this mix stuff like the Norton school boiler fiasco and a picture begins to emerge of failures at all levels in the organization but especially at the management end of things. At the very top of course is the current town council majority which has been in power longer then it should have been. Tuesday is time for change and the current council majority needs to be shown the door.

Anonymous said...

Talking about specail deals and give-aways to the wealthy, did the town ever get the $70,000 that Brodach owes for site improvements on Weise Rd?

I know the Dem Council Majority gave him access to the sewage line for 40 high density condos. He had to have save at least $400,000 on this sweet deal.

When will we stop giving, over and over again, to these same people.

Anonymous said...

When will we stop giving, over and over again, to these same people?

Beginning Tuesday:
GOP 6 to 3.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else get the nice full-page color literature drop in their mailboxes today from the democrats? A lot of work went into it, very nicely done. I used it to light the fire in my fireplace this evening.

Obviously, they spent a lot of money on these photo quality sheets. A neighbor said it right when she added "As nice as these pamphlets are they wreak of excess...as in excess, wasteful spending. Seems to be a recurring theme for them."

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

6 to 3. How about 9 to 0? Oh no we have to have a 7 to 2. Which two?

Anonymous said...

should the republican be responsible for the $200k for the bus contract, i think so!!!

Anonymous said...

The failure of the town council to send 1 letter in 45 days is the entire councils fault. The council is 9 people, not 1, so everyone is as responsible as the next.

Why exactly did Tim have to call CT Combustion? Just because he recieved a memo, it does not mean he needs to make contact. Unless Tim was the contact between the town and the bidding company, he should have kept his mouth shut. Since we will never know exactly what was said in the conversation, speculation says it was about other bidders. Over stepping your bounds does not help.

"Again, this reminds me of the refusal of the Council to take action 18 mos ago - when I first voiced my concerns about the looming crisis at the PD."

Alot of good you did. If you were that concerned, why wasnt the rest of the town made aware? Why does it take 18 months for action after you announce it?

"From wacky snow plowing practices which leave broken mail boxes and destroyed curbing,..."

Do not forget Tims buddy across from the high school being handed plowing contracts for decades without bidding or compitition. Fiscal responsability at it's finest!!

"...and a picture begins to emerge of failures at all levels in the organization but especially at the management end of things."

Maybe it's time to vote everyone out and start fresh. Vote for new council members. The combination of the current and past councils are distroying this town. We need a new perspective on old problems and yes-men and sheep in a heard will not cut it. Replace everyone.

Anonymous said...

"should the republican be responsible for the $200k for the bus contract, i think so!!!"

Should the democrats be responsible for the most lucrative pay raise in the history of teacher's during the worst financial crisis since the great depression? I THINK SO!

Should the democrats be responsible for allowing the town manager to fumble the boiler bidding process 3 times in a row? I THINK SO.

Should the democrats be responsible for allowing the town manager to drive the police union to a vote of no confidence? I THINK SO.

Should the town council be held responsible for following proper procedure and allowing ALL contracts to go out to bid? I THINK SO.

Should the BOE be held responsible for allowing the bid process for the bus contract to start too late and circumvent the bidding process. You bet!

P.S. Dr. Florio recommended to the town council that the bus contract should be put out to bid.

Remember, hindsight is 20/20. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda...the motto of the Democrats. Good job!

Contoured Views said...

"Why exactly did Tim have to call CT Combustion? Just because he recieved a memo, it does not mean he needs to make contact."

Why did he not receive the memo from Hall until 11 days after Hall got it? Does Hall represent anyone we know?

We now have the person who got the contract running for town council. Does this sound fishy to anyone?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dems.

Governor McDonnell
Governor Christie
Congressman Hoffman
GOP controls Cheshire Town Council

That is all

Anonymous said...

RE: 6 to 3. How about 9 to 0? Oh no we have to have a 7 to 2. Which two?

Sheldon Dill seems harmless, but then we really need Dave Schrumm.

Kerrie Dunne is a trial lawyer. Maybe she can defend the town against this lawsuit which Milone caused and the Dems enabled.

Anonymous said...

"...Unless Tim was the contact between the town and the bidding company, he should have kept his mouth shut. ..."

Truth be known, had TW "...kept his mouth shut..." the town would still be on the wrong end of a law suit but there would be a difference. Most residents in town would have no clue as to what really was going on in association with the Norton boiler replacement project and would have no clue as to why at this late date the town is being sued.

The light of day needs to shine more often on official town business. Time to vote in a new council majority tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

"Most residents in town would have no clue as to what really was going on in association with the Norton boiler replacement project and would have no clue as to why at this late date the town is being sued."

OK, I'll bite...what is really going on and why are we really being sued? Why did the town fumble the bid award letter twice?

Anonymous said...

We are being sued based on the conversation Tim had with CT Combustion. Tim gave them all the info they needed to persue legal action against the town.

The entire council is responsible for this mess. They all should be replaced. This is not the fault of any town employees

see you in court said...

5:09, What nonsense.
Your last desperate attempt to blame Tim White for this mess, and let the town manager off the hook won't fly with the voters and won't fly in court.

Anonymous said...

5:09
You must be kidding me.

The reason they are suing is because of Milone and Hall trying to hush things up. It hs nothing to do with Tim.

I hear the Dems trying for another last ditch effort to get the pity vote the way they did with DeCaprio. Now I see why Hall decided not to run....he will be a major part of this law suit. I wonder if he will bill the town for the time he has to devote to saving his own hide.
Guess what Dems, we all aren't as stupid as you think.

Anonymous said...

RE; The entire council is responsible for this mess ... This is not the fault of any town employees.

Town staff is responsible for getting out award letters on time, which they failed to do. If staff is not responsible, who is? The tooth fairy?

The only way SOME of the council is responsible is by not monitoring staff closely enough. But Altieri and Ecke don't listen to White.

Anonymous said...

To have good government, you need good people who don't have conflicts of interest and are not in it for financial gain. We need a Democratic party at the local level that recognizes this and that does not nominate individuals with conflicts of interest.

Anonymous said...

"the corruption memo"

Was this ever made public?

Anonymous said...

No.