COVINGTON — Commissioners approved Tuesday night a bid by LB Recycling and Waste Services to purchase and collect scrap metal at the recycling centers and landfill, but there are questions about the legality of the bid.
LB Recycling bid 9 cents per pound, with a rate locked in for two years and the option to renew for an additional two years. Oconee Metal Recovery offered the higher price at 9.6 cents per pound, with a locked-in rate for one year. However, LB Recycling also offered to beat any competitor’s price or bid by 2 percent.
Commissioner Nancy Schulz asked County Attorney Tommy Craig if such a bid is legal.
Craig responded that he’d not seen that approach before but he would research the matter.
“I am studying the issue for the Board of Commissioners. I have not yet issued a ruling, but I have serious concerns about that form of bidding,” Craig said Friday.
“We feel like the way that this was done, it invalidates the bid process, and we’re happy that the county attorney is looking into it,” said Paul Bacon, general manager for Oconee Metal Recovery. “At this point, we’re going to let the process go through. We feel like they’re looking into it and handling it the proper way.”
Craig told the board Tuesday it could go ahead and vote, with approval contingent on his findings, or table the matter. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the bid. Commissioner Levie Maddox recused himself and left the room.
Maddox later told the Citizen he works with sales and marketing for LB Recycling. He said he is not an owner in the business, and declined to give the owner’s name.
Maddox’s brother, Jason, is listed as the owner of the company on the occupational tax records on file with the city of Covington. Jason Maddox declined to comment for this story.
“LB Recycling is one of two local players that can handle those services for Newton County. I do work for one of those two companies,” Levie Maddox said.
Maddox said he won the county account for LB Recycling two years ago, resulting in the county making an additional $31,000 a year.
But, “Whether LB signed that contract today or two years ago, my salary was not affected,” he said.
Maddox said that the account with the county was given to another salesman during his campaign for county commissioner and that he was not involved with the company’s bid.
“I promise you pains were taken to make sure that I absolutely had no conversations with anyone on either side of the fence,” he said.