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."