Board insists lucrative contracts be put out to bid

Debra Moore
Staff Writer

Plumas County supervisors want contracts pertaining to a water plan, which total more than half a million dollars, to be put out to bid.

The board directed Planning Director Randy Wilson to develop RFQs and RFPs (requests for qualifications and proposals) for assistance in developing the state-required Integrated Watershed Management Plan Update for the upper Feather River watershed.

Wilson asked the supervisors to approve seven contracts during their March 11 board meeting, but met with immediate resistance.

“What process did we use to select the contractors?” Supervisor Sherrie Thrall asked.

When she learned that a request for proposals had not been completed, she questioned how the dollar amounts had been developed.

“If we’re doing a good ole boy thing, that smells to me,” Thrall said.

Wilson explained that one of the contractors, Kennedy Jenks, had put the grant application together, and therefore was familiar with the project.

Of the others, he said, “The process was to look locally.”

His selections are as follows:

Kennedy Jenks, $163,132

Uma Hinman Consulting, $153,919

Plumas Corporation, $78,000

Deer Creek Resources, $56,899

Plumas Geo Hydrology, $34,000

California Indian Environmental Alliance, $18,860

Sierra Institute, $5,000

Thrall said that a competitive process might have resulted in “better service for a better price.”

Supervisor Lori Simpson understood Thrall’s concerns, but said that she and others had pressured Wilson to complete this process quickly.

“It wouldn’t have taken that much longer in the scheme of things,” Thrall said, and added that the board needs to competitively offer these opportunities to receive public funds.

Supervisor Jon Kennedy said that he had the same questions that Thrall had.

“It could be that every single one of these would get it,” Kennedy said of the contracts that had been awarded, but he agreed it was necessary to issue requests for proposals and qualifications.

“That little step is very important and should have been done,” he said. “Is there any possibility of getting it done so we can have a clear conscience?”

Wilson admitted that he wasn’t familiar with the process, but Public Works Director Bob Perreault estimated it would take 60 to 90 days, and offered to assist Wilson.

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