Friday, 21 August 2009 10:19The Glen Cove school board meeting of Aug. 17 was, in part, a discussion about boilers. It seems that our engineering and architectural firm, BJLJ, who was unfortunately rehired for this year, has, I believe, made many mistakes and been untruthful in the past. Among other things, they said that a new boiler for the administration building, Thayer House, should cost $70,000, and we budgeted for that amount. However, it was revealed that estimates received for this project were far in excess of even the $70,000, which itself is an outrageous amount, considering it is for a boiler not much larger than would be used for a modest sized house, which after all, is what Thayer House is. As anyone who has installed a boiler of this size in their home knows, such projects cost generally between $10,000 and $15,000. There may be other factors which would elevate the price, but not nearly to that degree.
By way of explanation as to why these bids were coming in so high, after the board voted to reject them all, board member Joel Sunshine offered his analysis: “collusion,” he said. He said that it is not uncommon for companies doing business with schools everywhere to engage in this illegal practice. Hello?! So why have we been the victims for so long by so many companies. Mr. Sunshine suggested that this is a matter for the attorney general. I and another audience member suggested the same thing at the bus company presentation several weeks ago. Is it up to individual citizens to contact the authorities? Is that not the job of the school board and administration? Mr. Sunshine is an attorney, which he promoted as a great advantage in his campaign for school board, and should be helpful in these matters. So why hasn’t he or anyone else done anything about it? Why is the public left to fend for itself and be left to be taken advantage of?
Rather than publishing obscure notices to attract bids for a new boiler, I suggested that we do what any of us would do when needing a service or product, and that is to contact qualified plumbers ourselves, which is exactly what I will do. We have a number of very fine plumbers right here in Glen Cove, and we should offer them the opportunity first. Since they pay taxes here, I feel that they will have a vested interest in doing a good job for the best possible price, and enable speedy maintenance and service in the future.
We should have a policy which says that we will try first to use local businesses before we deal with outsiders, both in contracts and employment. To do otherwise is, I feel, unfair and even suspicious.