Question of no-bid contracts raised by trustee
Plymouth Township Trustee Bob Doroshewitz
May 4, 2015 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
New Plymouth Township Supervisor Shannon Price, officially sworn into office for a second time last week just prior to his first official board meeting Tuesday, has already made some changes in the township.
Following his taking of the oath of office from Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra during private ceremony, Price chaired his first meeting of the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees.
The only issue of contention during the meeting was a request from Treasurer Ron Edwards for approval of a $40,000 no-bid contract for fireworks for the annual Fourth of July picnic in the township.
Trustee Bob Doroshewit criticized Edwards’ request saying he felt there was a continued practice of awarding contracts in violation of the purchasing policies established in the township.
Doroshewitz and Edwards worked together for several years on the annual township picnic until the two had a falling-out regarding what Doroshewitz claimed were missing records of donations solicited by Edwards and a lack of proper accounting for the financing of the event.
The picnic is a township function but is funded by donations solicited and collected by Edwards, who also hosts a lavish private party for “donors” as part of the event.
“This will be the third no-bid contract in three months, Doroshewitz said.
“The snow machine was a no-bid contract, the financial system was a no-bid contract and now this will be another.” The township board approved the purchase of a snow cannon Edwards requested for the new park recreation area for about $22,000 and also agreed to his request for a $219,275 contract for new financial computer software without requesting bids, which violates the purchasing policy of the township that stipulates bids are required for any purchase in excess of $15,000.
Doroshewitz said he found it absurd that the board members would ignore the established policy.
“This should not be permit- ted, if we have a purchasing policy we should follow it and not have a double standard and continue to put on the pretense that we’re following it.”
Edwards argued that officials have the right to bring an item before the full board claiming board members can approve the purchase even if it does not follow the established policy.
Board members approved two motions, one for the award of the contract to Zambelli Fireworks Manufacturing Co. of New Castle, PA, not to exceed $40,000 and another to approve the permit for the fireworks display, both by a 5-2 vote with Doroshewitz and Trustee Chuck Curmi casting the dissenting votes.
Despite his vote in favor of the purchase at the meeting, Price reportedly changed his mind late last week and has made a decision to seek bids for the fireworks next year, following the township purchasing policy. He reportedly said he felt the bids were necessary just to ensure that the township was getting the best deal possible for the fireworks but that time constraints prevented bidding this year.
At the meeting, Price made some changes in the seating arrangements at the board table, moving the supervisor’s seat next to that of Edwards and seating the two often dissenting trustees, Doroshewitz and Curmi, next to each other at the far right side of the table. He had the podium relocated to the center of the dais so that those who spoke at meetings would now face the board members.
He also announced that a camera would be installed behind the board table so that the speakers facing the board would have their images captured on the video recordings of the proceedings.