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Monday, June 09, 2014

Westport Rotarians Aiding Nicaragua School Project Image
Seven Westport Rotarians are in Nagarote, Nicaragua this week building classrooms in a barrio called Sonrisa de Dios (which in Spanish means “Smile of God.”) Posing with the active volcano Momotumbo in the background, they are (l-r) Westport Rotary Club members Sam Carpenter, Alan Bates Steve Lewine, Maury Hill (from the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club), Jane Sherman, Westport Rotary Club President Tony Riggio, and Richard Epstein. They are joined by nine other volunteers as they expand classrooms in Sonrisa de Dios, which has a population of about 1,200. Working closely with NicaPhoto, an after school program in Nagarote run by Norwalk-native Ronnie Maher, the new classrooms will double the existing capacity in the barrio and allow twice as many children to attend school close to where they live. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

06/09/14 02:46 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkDigg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon
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To avoid the type of confusion that occurred when the… by Clarissa Moore

For the record, all five Petitioners of the new proposed… by Kristan Hamlin

Thank you Westport now for publishing this.  I do not know whether you misquoted or misunderstood Mr. Kotchko, or whether he made a misleading statement in saying:
We had five (bidders), he said, adding that “former Parks & Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy might not have conveyed that fact.” It is not true that there was a competitive bid at the time of the RTM vote—only after I protested the price gouge.
    At the time Mr. McCarthy presented the $308k bid to RTM, he had only one bid, and it was for $308k, a price that would have gouged our town.  Only after (1) I, the lone dissenter, objected that his sole-sourced bid violated “Government Ethics 101” and (2) then wrote an email to the Board of Selectman telling them to make sure the pool went out to bid despite the RTM approval of the $308k contract, and (3) only after I forwarded to them a published decision from a case I handled as an Asst. US Attorney, which made clear that providing an unfair advantage to one bidder violated the law, the Town THEN, and ONLY THEN, went out to bid. Unfortunately however, the unfair advantage provided to Connecticut Custom Aquatics (CCA) was not eliminated, because the other subsequent bidders were given only a very abbreviated time to bid during winter when there were many feet of snow on the ground so they could not properly analyze the pipes.  That caused one bidder who said he otherwise most likely would have come in hundreds of thousands less to decide not to submit a bid because he could not properly analyze the pipes in the snow.  All the other companies who submitted a bid AFTER the RTM already approved the CCA’ s bid for $308k submitted bids that were significantly lower than CCA ‘s $308k initial bid.  This caused bid pressure on CCA, which then submitted another bid $75k below its first $308k bid (which had been approved by the RTM). Even though the other bidders had submitted even lower bids, McCarthy still advocated for CCA, which received the awarded bid but at a lower amount after my objection to the gouging. I am glad my objecting saved the Town that money. If you listen to the RTM tapes from that evening, you will see that Mr. McCarthy initially represented to the RTM that he had put the $308k contract out to bid until I questioned him closely.  I did so because it was very clear to me that such a number ($308k) could not be the result after a competitive bid.  After some assistance from Clarissa Moore in questioning him closely, he then returned to the podium and admitted that he had not put the $308k repair contract out to bid, but only put out to bid a separate earlier $15k pool cleaning contract.  This is all on tape and not subject to the historical revisionism which claims that McCarthy had put it out to 5 bids before the RTM approved it.  Most importantly, the unfair advantage that CCA had in analyzing the pipes during the warmer months was never cured, because of the time of the year the competitors were required to bid on the pipe work with feet of snow on the ground, without the ability to see the pipes. The above-described shenanigans is what our ordinance is trying to cure. We Petitioners want clean government and we are trying to protect the Westport taxpayers against inflated prices. Hopefully folks will play fewer games with a law than they have with a waivable policy.

by Kristan Hamlin

Such a gorgeous picture to start the day with.
by Janet Beasley


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