Letter: Wachusett Snow Plowing To Go To Out-Of-Town Contractor

  • Comments (10)
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To the editor:

One has to wonder after the recent problems within the Wachusett Business Office if anyone there knows what they are doing!

A couple of weeks ago a contractor from West Brookfield came to the central office wanting to give a price on plowing the high school and the central office in Jefferson.  The district has had a local contractor doing this work for many years without issue.  So the business office thought it would be a good idea to get prices for this work and asked the West Brookfield contractor to place a bid on some poorly worded specifications. This same person in the office asked the local contractor to do the same even though 2 weeks prior they had already submitted a detailed quote for the 2012-2013 season.  When the pricing came back the local company was clearly lower in all aspects and, in fact, 2 to 3 times lower.   The West Brookfield contractor asked to see the prices and was shown them by the person in the central office.  He said the specifications weren’t clear and wanted a do over.

At this point the local company requested to see the West Brookfield contractor’s quote.  A new quote form was sent to both contractors in the exact format that had been originally submitted by the local company.  So now knowing the pricing from the vendor that has done the work for many years, the West Brookfield contractor undercut the” per inch” pricing by $2.00 to $12.00 depending on the increment and also lowered their “sanding only” pricing from $770.00 to $440.00 to match the local contractor.

Based on a process that had poorly written specifications and then providing the high bidder with the low bidders pricing, the West Brookfield contractor was awarded the bid.  With the undercutting of the prices, the district will save at most, a couple hundred dollars a year.  This decision puts local people out of their winter jobs and gives the work to people that live many miles away.

In addition if the district wanted to get competitive pricing, which is always a good idea, wouldn’t you think they would ask the many qualified contractors that live and work within the Wachusett region? No other local company was asked to bid on this major contract, only the company from West Brookfield.

Before this job was quoted, there should have been very specific specifications written which should have included at least, proximity to Wachusett Regional 10 mile radius + - and a requirement of a certain number of pieces of equipment of various sizes.  If these specifications were written correctly and then advertised to anyone within the required radius of Wachusett Regional there would not be a problem or question. This was not the case, instead only the long standing local company and someone from 30 + miles away were asked.

When you think how much money in taxes, both business and personal, that any of the qualified local companies pay why would we send the business to a contractor so far away? When you consider that local people who make a living working for local companies are now not doing this work does that make sense?

One has to question if the recent changes in the business office were really a cure for what seems to be a bigger problem of decision making at all levels! One has to wonder if there should be wholesale changes within the central office business department  to bring some credibility back to our school district?

David White
Holden resident
Former Holden Selectman

  • 10
    Comments

Comments (10)

Aquitaine:

And I'm surprised the AG or Worcester Telegram or some ethics committee hasn't picked up on this yet!!!! Maybe they need a "head's up"!!

Badger:

So this is now over a week old! Are the school committee a BoS just going to accept this?

CathiS:

Yes, it will be interesting to see who has Quaboag District plowing. I was really hoping for a greater amount of feedback on this issue from others, but I guess everyone's still used to the "ol' same ol' " way of doing things here in Holden.

Unbelievable:

Does no one find it at least a little interesting that Mr. Scanlon was hired and a West Brookfield contractor (which is part of the Quaboag district) was also hired?

It would be interesting to see who has the job at the Quaboag district and if it's the same contractor.

Welcome to more corruption with Mr. Scanlon...

CathiS:

"...The West Brookfield contractor asked to see the prices and was shown them by the person in the central office." Clearly, this isn't how the bidding process works. That person in the central office should be reprimanded, and the West Brookfield contractor be off-limits to bid, as he clearly has the advantage of knowing what the low bid is now. I too hope that Mr. Scanlon can bring credibility into our region.

jeremywk:

Where was the Public Notice or Legal Notice? I am pretty sure it had to go out for bid and be posted in the local papers.

Maybe our new business manager Mr. Scanlon will be able to bring some creditability and restore financial best practices and standards.

A major area that business owners and home buyers look at are is the school system. They care about the performance as well as how the town supports them and how the schools support the town. This is just another clear example of the District not thinking about the region or its consequences for its actions. We need accountability in the district offices and our SC and failure to do so will start causing business and home buyers/owners to look at other towns/regions.

Here is a simple equation that the District and SC should follow Transparency + Accountability = CASH.

If you want the towns to continue to support you and grow then I would suggest that you become accountable and transparent.

HoldenMom:

Really?!? Obviously those that work there dont understand the rules. I agree its not too late. Send the plowing and sanding out to bid. Do it the right way.

CathiS:

I agree with Aquitaine.... ADVERTISE for a SEALED BID. Wachusett Region encompasses 5(?) towns. Why wasn't ALL known plowing/sanding companies and privateers within our region not notified? It is certainly not fair if someone can go in and ask to see the competition's quote. Throw that bid out and start over ... there's still time! I'm so disgusted that this even happens!!!
Reality Check? How about that snowfall that could have been cleaned up by 6 a.m. from a local vendor, vs. another day off from school because the contractor couldn't get out here until he finished his other road jobs.

Badger:

Is Al Tutela back? This a case for the AG!

Aquitaine:

You have GOT to be kidding! This sounds like it borders on corruption!! Aren't those supposed to be SEALED bids? Why on earth would someone in an office SHOW the COMPETITION the prices on the bid is so totally beyond me and WRONG, unless they have a friend or family member in West Brookfield they wanted to get the job! We live in town and firmly believe in supporting town business and contractors whenever possible. Throw out the current bid and re-advertize the job with new stipulations meant for locals first!!! Just a suggestion!

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