Preston administration: 'Oversight' on county jail resolution

By Perry Russom

January 30, 2014 Updated Jan 30, 2014 at 7:22 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A Broome County legislator is accusing the Republican majority of slipping a no-compete contract into a resolution on jail renovation work.

The Preston administration has called it "an oversight," but the county's minority democrats want to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Broome County Legislator Jason Garnar said Thursday he found out a no-compete bid contract last week that was improperly placed into a resolution.

"We never thought we had to check and make sure something was done according to county charter," said Garnar. "We assume that every time a charter comes out that it's bid properly, that it's not in violation of county charter."

He said the contract is worth about $1 million for architectural and engineering work on the Broome County Jail expansion.

This is how far the improper bid process went without being detected: It was drafted, put in the resolution cycle and made its way through three committees.

The resolution to award the contract was put on hold once the no-compete was brought to attention.

"I don't think it fell through the cracks," said Garnar. "I think some people knew exactly what was happening and I think it was an effort not to get people all of the information we needed to know."

The democratic minority in the legislature is asking the Preston administration to give them a list of all documents and emails in relation to future contract work.

"There was an oversight in our resolution and language was omitted from the resolution that should have been included," said Broome County Commissioner of Public Works Dan Schofield.

The democratic minority submitted a resolution to add a disclosure to the bidding process.

It would require that anytime a contract goes out for a bid, it goes to them for review to make sure it's being sent out the right way.

The Preston administration released a statement calling it an oversight but acknowledged language was omitted from the resolution that should have been included.