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Martin wiped from janitorial job
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Members of the county’s Financial Management Committee voted to award a janitorial services rebid for the Warren County Health Department to Darron’s Do-All Commercial Cleaning Service.
The measure passed 6-0. Voting in favor were County Executive John Pelham, chairman, County
Commissioners Terry Bell, Wayne Copeland, Billy Earl Jones and Hershel Wells, and Highway Department director Levie Glenn. Absent from the meeting was Director of Schools Bobby Cox.
At the meeting and voicing discontent was County Commissioner Michael Martin.
“I think this needs to be rebid,” said Martin. “I’m going to call Nashville and see if what they are doing is right. I don’t think it is.”
The area of contention lies, says Martin, in the bid amount of $24,439.92 being higher than what the Health Department had in its budget for the service which is $15,895.
“That’s an overbid,” said Martin. “I’m trying to figure out how you can award a contract to somebody who overbid by $8,000. I can’t figure out how you can award a contract bid when no approval has been given to move money around to make up that $8,000 difference.”
Health Department director Andrea Fox was made aware of the situation by telephone during the bid award meeting and she opted to move some money around in her budget and increase the $15,895 to the bid amount, says Finance Department director Linda Hillis.
“She was contacted and she decided to move money from one of her other accounts to make up the difference,” said Hillis. “It’s normal for a director to do that. She’s aware and she was called during the meeting. As the department head, she is allotted an amount of money. She determines how best to spend that money.”
This is the second bidding process for janitorial services at the Health Department. The first bidding process ended abruptly when Martin, who has been working as the janitor for the last four to five years, submitted the only bid received in 2014.
When Martin originally won the bid several years ago, it was prior to the county adopting the Financial Management Act of 1981 in June 2011. The act went into effect in July 2012.
The act combined the financial departments of Warren County government, Warren County schools and the Warren County Highway Department into one new department. However, the act also prohibits any employee or official to participate directly or indirectly in a contract or procurement when he or she or any immediate family member has a financial interest in the transaction.
Martin says he could have been made an employee of the Health Department rather than it being rebid.
“The law is clear, a county commissioner can’t bid,” said Martin. “I think the law is stupid. I don’t know who I’m benefiting on a sealed bid? How can anyone benefit on a sealed bid? There is more to the story. John (Pelham) told her she could make me a temporary employee. She didn’t have to rebid it. I can be an employee, but I can’t bid on the job. There’s more to the story. I know what goes on out there. It ain’t rosy out there.”
When asked if he feels this is a way to get rid of him, Martin stated, “Yeah.”
The county received three bids, one higher and one lower than that of Darron’s Do-All Commercial Cleaning Service. However, the lowest bid of$21,600 did not include all the required documentation in its bid package and it was disqualified.