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Exception - thoughts about the City not getting competitive bids from engineering and architectural firms

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Eureka!!! - I think I finally understand Donny's Dictionary on Emergency Legislation and also on the City not getting bids on contracts! Thinking about the news article below is what finally turned the light on for me:

 

City hires firm for railroad overpass study
Tuesday, April 24, 2001

By STEVE MULLETT

stevemullett@sanduskyregister.com

SANDUSKY

The Sandusky City Commission on Monday approved a $160,000 agreement with TranSystems Corporation of Columbus to study its alternatives for a railroad grade separation on the west end of town.

The company will study at least four alternatives for the exact location of an overpass or underpass in the area where the Norfolk Southern tracks intersect Ohio 101 and U.S. 6, City Engineer Earl Wilkinson said.

TranSystems, a national firm, specializes in railroad-related projects, he said.

Commissioner Ed Feick said he thought under state law, the city was required to get three bids for the study, but Law Director Don Icsman said that's not the case because it's a "peculiar and specific" contract.

"It's hard for me to see us ignore a statute that definitely applies to engineers, and I believe there are no exceptions," Feick said.

"That's not correct," Icsman shot back. "There are."

 


I read the Charter of the City of Sandusky, then I pulled up Anderson's Ohio Revised Code. I searched under "contract", "peculiar", "bid", "bidding", "exception", "engineer", and "specific." I couldn't find the exception that Icsman refers to.  But then I started thinking about it. Think about the words: "peculiar" (1. of only one person, thing, etc.; exclusive 2. particular; special  3. odd; strange) and "specific" (1. definite; explicit   2. peculiar to or characteristic of something.  3. of a particular sort or kind.) 

If the City had a project and is was so strange that there was only one firm that even did that sort of work, of course, they couldn't get three bids for the project. It would only be reasonable for the City to hire that one specific company. So it MIGHT be possible that there is an exception as Icsman says. Let's assume that Icsman as right and there is such an exception.

Icsman pointed out to the Commissioners that THEY are the ones who decide what is an "emergency". It only follows that the Commissioners are also the ones who decide what is "peculiar and specific". If the Commissioners say something is "an emergency" or that something is "peculiar and specific" then the Courts will agree. The Courts assume that the Commission is made up of reasonable people who understand "dictionary English". And since the Courts cannot possible know all the details why a Commission made up of reasonable people would pass things as "emergencies" or decide a project is "peculiar and specific", the Courts would support the Commission in their decision.

So, City Commission, get out YOUR DICTIONARIES and START THINKING and TRUST YOUR OWN JUDGMENT!!!!! 

If there are three engineering firms that do railroad-related work from which the City could get bids for the study, then you would have to ask yourself if the project was "peculiar and specific". (Unfortunately, in the case of the above study, it does NOT fit the test. There are many more than three engineering firms who could bid on the work including some firms in Ohio. This work was NOT "peculiar and specific.")

It is the same for emergency legislation. The Commission members are the reasonable people who decide what is and what is not an emergency. 

 


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