The contracts for Bill Brackeen Cleaning Service and Boyette’s Critter Getters will be extended for another year, rather than going through the bidding process after Monday’s meeting of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisors on Thursday discussed opening the contracts up for bidding after Joe Norwood, of District 4, pushed supervisors to do so.
Norwood stood firm on Monday, abstaining from the vote to extend the contracts because he said he didn’t want to vote on it at all.
“I just think anytime that we have contracts we should make it available to all of those companies, individuals and entrepreneurs who are interest in applying. I just think it’s competition,” Norwood said. “You get better service (when you put out for bids). “When we do what we did today, someone’s going to pick up the phone and call and say, ‘You didn’t give me the opportunity to bid.’ It has nothing to do with the people who have the contracts now, I just think that we need to make it available to those people who are interested.”
Supervisors changed course after Wayman Newell, of District 2, said he had concerns about how the cleaning contract could be negotiated with the planned expansion of the Lauderdale County Agri-Center. The expansion, which will include new office space for the Mississippi State University - Meridian’s extension services, will be completed in the next fiscal year but not in time for contract negotiations.
Chris Lafferty, the county administrator, assured supervisors that the contract’s hadn’t previously been extended.
But supervisors voted to extend the contracts last year after a disastrous reverse auction process, with Lafferty advocating in 2018 for Bill Bracken and Boyette’s as companies who had “tried to do it right” by going through the reverse auction process.
Lafferty said he misspoke following the meeting, thinking supervisors had asked if the contract had been extended for the last three years.
“The last time this was bid out was 2017,” Lafferty said.
Lafferty said that there were benefits to keeping a contract, which included keeping the price locked in for another year.
“If they’re offering a good service; doing a good job; they already know the buildings; they’ve got people who are already working in those buildings,” Lafferty said.
Josh Todd, District 3, was absent Monday. Newell, Jonathan Wells, of District 1; and Kyle Rutledge, of District 5, all voted to extend the contracts.