USA Fuel not happy with bid rejection

Chris Cooper Managing Editor

May 15, 2014

Magistrates voted on annual bids for the county at the Tuesday, May 13th fiscal court meeting. These bids are for fuel, rock, pipe, cold patch and blacktop. One of the bidders was clearly unhappy with the way the court handled the process concerning fuel services.

USA Fuel, which was the sole bidder for fuel services for the county for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, was rejected because magistrates felt it was an oversight that Max Arnold- who has placed a bid the past few years- did not. The court decided with a six to one vote to rebid the service, asking USA Fuel to just submit another bid. The court has historically voted to bring both on board. Magistrate Russell Poore voted no on the rebid, saying he felt it wasn’t fair to USA Fuel to reject their bid based on someone else missing the opportunity.

“To be honest, I don’t know if we will rebid,” said Robert Cates of USA Fuel. “I’ll have to talk with my father first. This isn’t fair.”

Magistrate Poore voted with a sounding “no” once again on two of the following bid proposals that came in Tuesday with only one bid. Rock and blacktop only drew one bid each, but were passed by the rest of the court.

“We wouldn’t accept one bid, but now you’re changing up,” said Poore when the court voted yes on two following services that only had one bid. “You all just made a statement that we wouldn’t accept one bid, now you’re turning right around and accepting one bid.” Poore said he was also concerned that opening the fuel bid, then rejecting it would give any other bidders a leg up.

Magistrate Jo Orange noted that sometimes there is not a choice to get more than one bid, such as with rock and blacktop. Hanson Aggregates Midwest Inc. on Morgantown Road is the only rock provider in Logan County, and it would cost the county more to chose someone who had to travel farther to bring it.

“I know it’s not feasible to go out of county to get rock or blacktop, but if your going to make one do it, you need to make all do it,” said Poore. “Let’s abide by one set of rules.”

Magistrate Poore says the county has two sets of standards when it comes to bidding and there only needs to be one.

“Either you say you’re not going to accept just one bid, or you say you will decide on a situation to situation basis,” said Poore.

Poore mentioned that earlier in the meeting Tuesday jailer Jim Ray had come to the court asking for a new computer system. Poore said he gave three quotes like he was supposed to do, but was turned down by the court and asked to get more.

“He did what he was supposed to do, but it wasn’t good enough,” said Poore.

Magistrate Orange had thought the quotes Ray received were too high, and asked the jailer to find out what programs other jails use, and he should keep getting quotes until the price was better.

Poore said he didn’t vote “no” on the bids for controversy, but to make a statement.

“I voted my conscience,” said Poore, who added he thought it was ironic that some people on the court are always fussing about spending money and now the county will have to spend money to rebid by advertising.

“I’m not against Max Arnold. I get gas there. I just feel like we advertised this and everybody that wanted to bid had the same opportunity. If you are interested in doing business, you make it a priority to know when the bidding will occur. USA Fuel was the only one that showed an interest,” said Poore.