BOC sticks with lawncare contractor

COVINGTON -- Once again, county commissioners approved Durden's Lawn Maintenance as the provider of landscape services to the county by a 3 to 2 vote Tuesday night.

The discussion regarding Durden's contract was nearly identical to the one commissioners had a year ago, with Commissioners Nancy Schulz and Lanier Sims standing by their assertions that the county should put out a request for proposals, given that the contract has not been put out to bid since 2006. Commissioners Mort Ewing, J.C. Henderson and Tim Fleming disagreed.

Durden has held the contract for nine years. In January 2010, commissioners renewed his contract for five years, with an option for four annual renewals.

The contract approved Tuesday night, at a cost of $98,116, is the first renewal option exercised by the board.

Durden will provide lawn maintenance for the county's 11 recycling centers, the landfill, animal control, the community center in Mansfield and several other offices.

Ewing made the motion to renew the contract; Schulz then offered a substitute motion to renew the contract provided that the board issues a Request for Proposals in August. The contract includes the requirement of a 90-day written notice if the board decides to terminate, along with a 60-day severance penalty. The issuance of an RFP in August would allow the board time to make a decision on whether to terminate or renew the contract prior to the renewal date.

Sims seconded the Schulz's motion, which failed 3 to 2. Ewing's motion then passed 3 to 2.

Ewing said that he's had no complaints regarding Durden's work and, "I see no need to go through the Request for Proposals process when we have a contractor that's doing a good job."

Schulz responded that, "A lot has happened in the last six years, and I would like to have reassurance that we are getting the best price for those services."

She added that she has heard complaints regarding Durden's performance that she passed on to County Manager John Middleton. Chairman Kathy Morgan confirmed that departments have complained about Durden's quality of work.

Fleming said Durden has reduced his costs in response to the county budget crisis during the last few years and that he has done a good job and, "I think he deserves the business."


Frustrated 3 years, 5 months ago

I guess Mort wants to go out showing he can still control things. Maybe when he is gone the Board will get back to actually following procedures and request bids for this type of thing. Its about time the "good ole boy" way of doing business with the county comes to an end.


HonestAbe 3 years, 5 months ago

How can you cut cost and insure you are getting the best deal for the taxpayers if you do not allow competitive bidding?. Under the current economic conditions how do you know someone would not do this job as good ,or better yet cheaper if it was bidded?. How do you know that Durden would't do it cheaper if they had to bid against others? How can you look the county employees you have laid off and took holidays from in the eyes and at the same time not use bidding as a way to cut cost? Ever service Newton County contracts shoud be bidded because that is just good government. I believe even the county attorney services should be bidded out. You as county commissioners have the responsibility to insure tax dollars are spent wisely. To not use the bidding process tells me as a taxpayer that you don't care how my tax dollars are spent. How much longer are the voters going to put up with this abuse of power by these 3 commissioners?If complaints are being made about this service providers and these 3 commissioners doesn't know about them- than it kind of proves they are out of touch with the citizens or just don't care.


will 3 years, 5 months ago

Mort has shown us his true ignorance time and time again and his two flunkies who can never think for themselves are doing zero for Newton county. This contract should be put out for bid. With the economy the way it is I bet this county could get a better price. Mark Patrick please run for this seat.


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