sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Friday, January 21, 2005

I have no idea where to start with tonight's county commissioners' meeting, so much went on.

I'll start out with the good stuff. The board dealt with the Dr. K. matter out in the open. Commissioner Steve Arnold, saying "our public boards need to be held accountable," made a motion to stop payment on Dr. K's $60k severance and begin recall of Board of Health members who may have acted improperly. The motion failed by a 6-5 vote, but I'm sure Scott Yost, my former Triad Business News colleague, will continue to pursue the story. Scott's a prolific writer with an outgoing personality that's perfect for dealing with these guys.

What was interesting is board chairman Bruce Davis went on the defensive, claiming the health board had "the advice of a lawyer to keep us within the law."

He also took a swipe at Yost, saying "I'm sure Mr. Hammer pays you to chase down more than one story."

Then there was the retreat in Chapel Hill. The commissioners will meet at the School of Government, which was decided by a 6-5 vote.

The legal issue was commissioners are not allowed to vote outside the county. So then the commissioners had to figure out if they could get anything done without voting.

"I've never been to a retreat with a board where we didn't take a vote," said commissioner Trudy Wade.

"I think we can accomplish some serious business without taking a vote," replied fellow commissioner Paul Gibson.

It got funny when commissioner Billy Yow, after announcing he would not be attending the retreat, brought up the touchy-feely theme introduced earlier by Arnold.

Davis came right back.

"As far as touchy feely goes, at least you won't be there to get touch and feel," he said.

The architects' contract for Northeast Park was a fiasco. The $387,000 contract with TFF of Greensboro included design for a community building, park gatehouse and future pool/bathhouse concession building complex.

Yow raised the issue of the bidding process, saying the job could probably be done with less expense to the taxpayer. County attorney Jonathan Maxwell explained the bidding process with bond money was based on RFQs,(requests for qualifications) instead of RFPs. In other words, the county gets the best qualified company, then talks price.

While he didn't totally diss the RFQ process, Arnold pointed out "We're not trying to duplicate St. Paul's Cathedral."

There seemed to be a simple solution: Maxwell pointed out that although RFQs were a state statute, the board had the power to change it to a regular bidding process. It wasn't clear if this meant for just this project or all future projects, how many businesses should make the first cut and whether or not enough minority businesses were included. A confusing round of motions and substitute motions took place.

Finally, it was worked out where a regular bidding process would begin on this particular project with the goal of including between 10 and 20 percent minority businesses.


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