Procurement Process Needs To Be Updated

To The Reader’s Forum:

It is not often anymore that construction and redevelopment efforts occur in the Jamestown area or Chautauqua County.

However the taxpayers of our region and state often frequently fund large and continuing construction projects at our region’s schools, municipal facilities and hospitals. Too often though these taxpayer funded agencies and governments are skirting the bare minimum required process to procure the services, contractors and materials required for these projects. It is in the best interest of all taxpayers of Chautauqua County that our elected and non-elected officials commit to a public procurement process for these projects that encourages the usage of local companies, lowest priced submissions and bids, and the selection of the most qualified firms.

New York state as a whole has a very mismanaged, unclear and contradictory laws and regulations on the procurement processes. This is something that needs to be taken up by our representatives in Albany (Andy Goodell and George Borrello) to ensure that local taxpayers are getting the most for their dollars, but also those dollars are being committed to creating and sustaining local jobs. Very often in our region and state the procurement process is just another means to encourage nepotism, cronyism and back-handed deals that fleece the tax payers.

However until that time comes that real change is made in Albany, we need to implore our local officials that a better and more inclusive procurement process is used for all local development and construction projects. This starts with Dr. Kevin Whitaker and the Jamestown Public Schools that are on the precipice of another long term capital project, and along with Mayor Eddie Sundquist and the City of Jamestown who will be receiving almost $30 million in stimulus dollars for infrastructure projects. If our elected officials cannot commit to representing our community and tax payers then let us remember that next election day, and at the Jamestown Schools referendum vote May 18.

Michael McMaster



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