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Brown faults county for long practice of no-bid contracts

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown is challenging the county’s use of a single firm for engineering services for the Fayette County Water System without seeking bids for individual projects instead.

Brown in a letter to the county’s water committee said he finds the practice “to be unacceptable and not in the best interests of our taxpayers and water patrons.”

The engineering firm of Mallett and Associates has been the consulting engineer for the Fayette County Water System since the early 1980s, and as such has “intrinsic knowledge of the system and all its component elements,” County Manager Jack Krakeel said Tuesday.

The county has used Mallett and Associates in lieu of having an in-house engineering staff for the water system, Krakeel explained.

If the commission wants to put the engineering consultant position out to bid, county staff will make it happen, Krakeel said.

At last week’s commission meeting, Brown objected to staff’s suggestion to have Mallett Consulting Inc. “prepare a bid package, including drawings and specifications, and to solicit bids for developing the recreation area at Lake McIntosh.” Brown said he preferred to put this work up for bid instead.

Brown argued at the meeting that he was not disrespecting Mallett’s work but he felt the commission was “kidding ourselves if we think there aren’t other firms in metro Atlanta that could do exactly the same job or experience the level of service we are receiving now.”

Commissioner Lee Hearn defended using Mallett for the recreation area work, since the company has “done a great job with our system” for more than 20 years, which he feels deserves merit and consideration. He also noted that because the project involves professional services, the county is not obligated to put the work out for bid.

Mallett is the lead project engineering firm for the Lake McIntosh project, Hearn noted, saying it made good business sense for it to handle engineering work for the lake’s recreation area. Krakeel noted that Mallett and Associates won the bid for the Lake McIntosh engineering work, which was not part of its consulting engineering agreement.

Commissioner Robert Horgan also defended the decision to award the recreation engineering to Mallett, noting that the move was the recommendation of the county’s water committee. Noting the committee’s experience, Horgan said he felt the commission should “lean on them for their advice.”

The vote to award the Lake McIntosh recreation area work to Mallett Consulting was 3-2, with Brown and Commissioner Allen McCarty voting against.

“In the midst of a horrible economy when the county is engaged in deficit budgeting with equipment and maintenance issues left wanting, we need every county department and constitutional officer doing their utmost to control costs,” Brown wrote in his letter to the water committee.

The county is not obligated to seek bids for professional services, but it does seek bids for all materials purchases over $20,000, Krakeel said. For material purchases under that threshold, county employees are required to get three quotes to insure the county gets the best price, he added.

“I think we try to do the best we can in making sure we get the lowest possible price for the services we engage in, or the products we procure,” Krakeel said.



How many are there and what is their expertise? How do I get to be on the "water committee"? What is their function? When and where do they meet? How many live in PTC? Sounds like a job for The Citizen's investigative unit, don't it?

This land for the recreation area for Lake MacIntosh is county land. Accessed only one way in, same way out. TDK Blvd. in Peachtree City. How much input does PTC get to have on the development there? Are our city planning dept. and city engineer and public works dept. being consulted in any way, considering the impact this park will have on PTC? Are our PD and FD and EMT's involved in the planning and design process, since they will be involved directly in security and safety of this park?

"Intrinsic knowledge", that sure can mean a lot of things. Especially when you are the only show in town for 20 years. That's way longer than our elected officials. Is this county so devoid of talent in the engineering and consulting fields that there is not one other possible bidder out there to compete with Mallett?

Hey pothead about "leaning on" what's best for the county? Such as competitive bidding?

Holyman Hearn..did you say it makes "good business sense" to use a company that has been up sucking up the water ratepayers' dollars of this county for 20 years with no competition? Speak into the microphone again, louder, and say that, please. For the benefit of all to really hear you.

"The county is not obligated to seek bids for professional services" says the man-in-charge, Jack Krakeel. "We try to do the best we can...," Krakeel says. Well gee, Jack. It's a new ballgame out in the real world, in case you hadn't noticed. And seems to me, your obligations to do your best just aren't good enough any more. Let's say we get us some bids, not just for consulting work, but for county administrator, too. Just might find some fresh blood out there that could save us a ton o' money, honey.

Someone said since they put in a sprinkler system for their new sod that their water and sewer bill has tripled!

Sprinklers don't go into the sewer lines but are they allowed to charge you for that anyway? He siad bill was about $200 a month.

$200 a month seems ridiculous!

You actually said something that made sense.

Just vote. Citizens have given their lives for that right. Stop spending money we do not have. myself

It did make sense. Most everything I say makes sense---just think about it.

NUK_1's picture

This isn't rocket science here.

It may well have turned out that after competitive bidding that everyone decides that Mallet is the best firm for this project and their overall bid the best one. It also could mean that since Mallet knew other firms would be bidding that the County gets the same work by the same firm they like at a little lower cost. Or, a new firm. You don't know if you simply sole-source the project. What just about everyone in America should know is that competition tends to lower prices, not raise them.

This is yet another decision in a long line of them by The Stooges where they proclaim without hesitation, facts or anything resembling intelligence: "we know what's best for you." They have shown over and over they have no clue about that.

ginga1414's picture

Competition does help lower prices.

Competition also helps the economy in the broader sense because all jobs won't go to one firm.

birdman's picture

It should be a law that every project that requires outside firms should be put out to bid, as should counseling services, etc. This was made most obvious when the Bush Administration gave Haliburton an un-bid $30 Billion contract to rebuild Iraq. We all saw how that worked out (except Chaney's "blind trust"). But here is the problem.
First the sewer costs. As you may or may not remember when Logsden was Mayor the Council considered a request to put (I think) around 5,000 homes in Senoia on our sewer system. The sewage authority stated that without these homes the sewage cost would double. The people whined unendedly that it would cause huge development on our border and it was rejected. The result? A doubling of our sewage costs. Good job guys.
But as to the "big 3," here is the problem. Steve Brown is the most ego driven, arrogant, self-serving person we could possibly have elected. His goal has NEVER been the betterment of the community, but the advance of his pathetic political career. As such he has, and will continue, to advance himself by trying to publicly destroy ANYONE that dares to speak against ANYTHING he proposes. We are seeing that weekly as the Commission election approaches. His goal is simple: He wants to be Commission Chairman, and needs one more patsy Commissioner (like McCarty) to win. That will happen (then the fun will begin). But here is the point of my disjointed rant. Because Brown works in a public "purge" like manor, he alienates those who he must work with. He has attacked the "big 3" unendingly for years. When he was Mayor he attacked the Commission because, under Roberts Rules of Order (the rule book for public meetings) he was denied the opportunity to speak. Brown hates to be denied anything so he began his tirade on the Commission. So now that he is a Commissioner, he needs to win over 1 vote to get a proposal passed. Trouble is, HE will NEVER vote with the Big 3, and THEY will NEVER vote with Brown. As such we now have a 3-2 vote on EVERYTHING. The egos are ruling. The Commission is totally ineffective. Brown does NOT compromise. He dictates. It's HIS way or he'll attack via the Citizen, rants at meetings, etc. Brown could have been effective if he would have made even a small concessionary gesture when he first was sworn in. Instead he went on full attack. That's how he does it. He comes to his first meeting, as the junior Commissioner, and DEMANDS to be Chairman. Outrageous. He is the "new guy." His only claim to fame? 4 failed years as PTC Mayor. Why would the senior Commissioners elect the new guy? Why would the senior Commissioners EVER elect Brown? So he began the battle. Since then there has not been a single (to my knowledge) action passed by other than 3-2.
The bid idea is a good one. Problem is that the Big 3 know they will not likely be re-elected. They are now simply be anti-Brown. They understandably HATE him. Brown doesn't want them re-elected so he will simply be anti-Big 3. The only way Brown will get something voted in is to propose the opposite. If Brown had proposed an un-bid contract, the Big 3 likely would have passed putting it out for bid. But Brown's ego will never let him do the right thing. Notice how everytime "his" proposal is rejected he writes unending attack articles.
Solution? Easy. RECALL THE LOT OF THEM. Get rid of the Big 3 AND Brown AND his puppet McCarty. It's time to get a Commission that will work for the betterment of the County before it's too late.
Oh, mark my word, when Brown is Chairman, hold on. His record in PTC:
2 law suits (both lost)
2 Ethics Violations (by Brown),
$50,000 investigation of the Development Authority(finding: No fault)
22% tax increase
Loss of 750 jobs when Photo Circuits shut down (Brown did nothing to keep
them and cheered their departure)
Addition of un-needed PTC Govt. jobs and pay raises for City employees at a time when our tax base was dropping.
Near downgrading of our insurance rating due to being 6 fire-fighters short (he was increasing the un-needed jobs instead of hiring fire-fighters)

Etc. Etc. Etc.

So when he wins Chairman, expect the same. He micromanages, surrounds himself with "yes" men, purges those who he sees as a threat, etc.
Oh,yeah...the fun is just beginning.

NUK_1's picture

What Brown and Haddix don't seem to realize is that you have to work with and build consensus with the other elected officials and others who disagree with you, not just let loose tirade after tirade in letters to the newspaper, blogs, your own press conferences, etc. Or, you can keep doing the same old same old and be on the losing end of votes over and over and no one benefits.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Politics is the art of compromise. Leadership getting people to work together toward a common goal. Throwing bricks is, welllll, throwing bricks. You have pegged Brown perfectly. Haddix too, come to think of it.

Live free or die!

Anutter one for "no bid" contracts for the good old boys! Won't change until a stir raised!

If you don't raise hell, the good old boys will continue to issue no bid contracts, etc.

I never got to go to the Beach.

Nuk_1 do you really think if Steve Brown went up to Herb Frady and kissed up that Herb would change his vote on the West Fayetteville Bypass? Don't be stupid. Birdman is bad enough.

Some kind of rant! What did he do to you or a friend?

So you want the authorities to have "bid" contracts, and so does Steve Brown----the only one to bring it up officially---but Brown did it wrong.
Is that about it? (sounds like a Haddix complaint, doesn't it--did it wrong but it needed doing).

As to Photo Circuits leaving---they went overseas. Maybe Mr. Brown also knew they were putting out terrible poison into the streams and into the air (Chlorine and heavy metals). No one will touch those buildings or land.
One day the feds will have to pay for clean-up. No one in Fayette County will.

I understand your sewer and water complaint. That has been mishandled and some made rich.

However the rabble will rise when they start charging for sewer treatment
on water used for plant irrigation~! Do they do that at PIKE? Or is it just the little guy they screw?

KraftyFla's picture

Is there some magic number, Birdbrain, that when you keep on repeating falsehoods they become true ? Seriously. Development Authority no legal violations ? Wow, that's a whopper. Read the Independent Counsel report.

The Development Authority (Made up of the lender and a lawyer) borrowed a zillion dollars to spend on Tennis Center---then screwed it up and now Peachtree City is paying for it, even though the loan was illegal!
The Pro left rich for a better job. Some resigned, some quit the DA.
Then we gave it away.
No more development authorities full of good old boys!
They are just a crooked way to keep us from voting on something.

I don't need an airport, a tennis center, nor an ize rank!

Oh, did I say the Tennis Center leaked---built by another good old boy!

with the Unholy Three on all the underhanded, unscrupulous things they have voted on? What would that make him then?

You don't understand!
Brown is like Haddix when it comes to any idea they have-----"they are doing the correct thing, but---they are doing it hatefully! I hate them anyway!"
Kinda like President Obama: Will never do anything correctly, propose anything right, and we will fight him to the death, before we end up agreeing with him anyway. It is the way to get reelected! signed: Boehner!

ginga1414's picture


Mallett Consulting seems to have acquired a monopoly when it comes to consulting/engineering services here in Fayette County.

Mallett Consulting is responsible for the Fayette Forward Plan which works in conjunction with The Atlanta Regional Commission’s Atlanta Forward Plan. The ARC paid for 80% of Mallett’s fee to devise the Fayette Forward Plan.

According to Mallett's website, the company was the project manager for

1. The Fayette Justice Center
2. The South Fayette Water Treatment Plant
3. The Dams and Reservoirs at Lake Horton and Lake Kedron
4. Fayette Senior Services Center
5. The Renovation of the Sheriff’s Office and Multiple Fire Stations
6. Fayette County Jail
7. Expansion of Fayette County 911 Call Center
8. Kenwood Park
9. Management and Construction for Jimmie Mayfield Blvd. Widening Project
10. Multiple Intersection Improvements
11. Waterline Extensions
13. Lake McIntosh Dam and Reservoir
14. Project Manager for Over 60 Miles of Asphalt Resurfacing & Roadway Rehabilitation

Mallett Consulting entertained some of the commissioners with a lavish dinner and other entertainment during a trip this summer to Savannah. Was that dinner a token of appreciation for all the jobs Frady, Horgan, and Hearn have thrown Mallett's way?

KraftyFla's picture

Most of the good ole boys are gone. Mallett is one of the last few. Krakeel saying "but he has so much background" is a bunch of crap. He's an engineer not a school historian. Eric Maxwell got in to office and tossed Bill McNally the lawyer out on his rear end. He overbilled us by a huge six figure amount every year for years. No one could figure out how much because he billed each department separately. Good job by Ginga in pointing out the jobs in Fayette by Mallett.

NUK_1's picture

Your pal Eric Maxwell lacks any sense of ethics whatsoever and was also a huge proponent of the WFB fiasco, so there actually has been no cost savings at all from dumping McNally or anything Maxwell ever did as a commissioner, only a waste of many more millions. He deserved to lose and did.

You hate Steve Brown so much you can't see straight!

This is Steve's first year as a commissioner and he's fighting his tail off to get the three idiots to do the right thing and you're going to blame Steve for the idiots ripping us off? That's the dumbest thing I ever read.

Sean Hannity was dead on when he said the liberals are so far out of touch with the people they can't even spin their way out of their troubles. Birdman is so far out in "left" field no one's going to take him seriously.

suggarfoot's picture

"Mallett Consulting entertained some of the commissioners with a lavish dinner and other entertainment during a trip this summer to Savannah. Was that dinner a token of appreciation for all the jobs Frady, Horgan, and Hearn have thrown Mallett's way?"

No doubt they made sure the commissioners didn't walk to Savannah as well.

When is this kind of thing going to ever stop? I really have a hard time understanding how those 3 can look themselves in the mirror, much less sit there and spout BS about how it is best to hire Mallett and not get bids.

One day these guys will have to answer to a higher person for their actions.

Even if we are unable to do anything about it right now we know who to make sure to keep out of office!

also serving on the Fayette County Water Dept. water committee?

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