Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Construction delay

 Failure to follow bid procedure stalls supervisor’s office renovation plan

Failure to follow established purchasing procedure may cause a further delay in Sumpter Township Supervisor Tim Bowman’s plan for $55,860 in renovations to his office.

During a regular meeting of the board of trustees last month, Bowman proposed the renovations including $47,860 for construction costs and $8,000 for fixtures and furniture for approval. None of the trustees in attendance motioned for approval of the expense.  Bowman said the plans include furniture and fixtures for a new meeting room.

During discussion of the project, Trustee Matthew Oddy inquired about the lack of a glass partition in front of the supervisor’s secretary which had originally been proposed. Oddy noted that all other township offices where the public meets officials currently include the glass fixture.

Bowman said that alterations in the original plan included a design variance favored by his current assistant and now include accommodations for disabled visitors, along with a new desk for the assistant. Oddy noted that the changes in the plan were not compliant with the safety precautions initially proposed. Bowman said he was in favor of the new design and that the safety glass was unnecessary and noted that in visits to several other municipal offices, glass between the public and the official or clerk was not installed.

The main objection to Bowman’s plan, however, was his failure to procure three sealed bids for the work. 

Township Clerk Esther Hurst asked Bowman if he had received the required three sealed bids. She explained that the township purchasing policy 

requires three sealed bids for any expense more than $10,000. 

Bowman admitted he had not gotten the bids and disputed Hurst’s 

assertion that the bids were a purchasing requirement. He claimed that three bids had never before bid required, a statement Hurst denied, noting that the bidding process in the township was long-standing.

“It has always been our policy,” Hurst reiterated.

Bowman then claimed he received three bids from contractors for the work as instructed by Finance Director Scott Holtz, “and now you want sealed bids. I’m done with it, do what you want,” he told the board members.”

Oddy reminded Bowman that it is the township policy to present a detailed description of the purchase or work to the board for approval and then advertise for sealed bids. He suggested that with no motion for approval of the expense presented for a vote, the meeting could continue with no action.

“It’s always been our policy,” Hurst said. “We have to advertise.”