Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

June 25, 2013

Reader concerned with process

The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Dear Editor,

I want to recognize council member Kevin Chaffee. He wrote in The Herald-Tribune indicating he was disturbed about the manner in which city officials recently awarded a sizable contract. Prior to going public with his concern, he recommended the city use the “usual and customary” competitive bid process.

The rationale for competitive bid processes is well known. To learn more, simply query legal sites for information on local, state and federal contract awards. In this situation, both the scope of work and costs involved deserve the protections and benefits provided by competitive bidding.

As a consultant working with engineering firms on projects across the globe, I believe that Mr. Chaffee’s concern is worth consideration. The process the city used to award this particular contract is unusual and suspicious.

Batesville is not immune to project management problems. In addition to the many well understood benefits of competitive bidding, it would have also provided local and area businesses the opportunity to bid, increase the chance of obtaining state or federal dollars in the event additional money is needed, and act as an additional tool to help keep projects on budget and much more.

I find more troubling that city leaders did not embrace the voice of citizens as presented by council member Mr. Chaffee. The project leader dismissed his concern without due process. Mr. Chaffee is an elected city official and experienced project engineer from a well-respected engineering school. I find it problematic for the city now and in the future to continue working in ways that dismiss the talents, skills, abilities and experience of all our elected officials and department managers.

For his selfless effort, taking risks and concern for our citizenry I want to thank council member Mr. Kevin Chaffee.

Michael Coleman, Batesville