Supervisors disagree on audit proposals

By Amanda McBride The Choctaw Plaindealer

The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors disagrees on whom to hire to perform the 2012 and 2013 audits.

The board previously received two proposals from Watkins, Ward and Stafford and Fortenberry & Ballard PC.

In the November 5 meeting, David Engel with Fortenberry & Ballard PC was there discuss the company and their experience. In a discussion, Engel said that Chambers called the company requesting them to come to the meeting. After a short discussion, District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers made a motion to hire Fortenberry & Ballard since it would be a savings of $15,000 for the two year price.

District 3 Supervisors Chris McIntire, also board president, said the board would grade the proposals.

While filling out the grading forms, Chambers and District 1 Supervisor Archie Collins asked Engel a few questions. McIntire said, “Legally we can only grade on the proposal.”

In an argument with Chambers, McIntire said Chambers was “stacking the deck” because Watkins, Ward & Stafford was not asked to attend the meeting. Chambers said Engel called to be placed on the agenda.

The board decided to finish grading the proposals later in the meeting. Engel left the meeting. Toward the end of the meeting, the supervisors finished grading the two proposals. Each supervisor graded each proposal, with a total 90 points possible each. Watkins, Ward & Stafford received 335 and Fortenberry & Ballard received 323 points.

District 2 Supervisor Larry McClain made the motion to award Watkins, Ward & Stafford the 2012 and 2013 audit. Chambers said if they were awarded the audits it would cost the county over $15,000 more than the other proposal. He said he was not against WWS but “I gotta cut where I can.” Chambers added that both companies are “equally yoked.”

McIntire called for a second. District 4 Supervisor David Carter said they need to save where possible. Steve Montgomery said that the comptroller (himself) receives some free services from WWS that they may be required to pay for from Fortenberry. McIntire then seconded the motion. District 1 Supervisor Archie Collins asked the board to look at the difference in quoted hours in both proposals. The vote was 2-3 to award WWS the audits. McClain and McIntire voted for the motion while Carter, Chambers and Collins voted against it.

Carter said he would like more time to look at the applications. McIntire said familiarity with the county’s system takes less time. WWS is currently doing the county’s audit and has done other audits for Choctaw County.

Chambers made a motion to hire Fortenberry & Ballard and to not to exceed $20,000. Carter seconded the motion. The vote was 3-2 with McClain and McIntire voting against the motion.

Also in the November 5 meeting, Lauren Williams, hospital administrator, presented the board with prices for external and directional signs for the new hospital and medical office building. She said the total is minus what Pioneer Health Systems will pay. The board agreed to pay for the signage except for the PHS name. No action was taken.

On a different matter, the supervisors discussed a request from Quantum Choctaw Power.

Previously officials with Quantum Choctaw Power asked the board for an agreement giving them a tax exemption. The county researched the issued and found that they cannot legally offer or help them on their taxes. Lori Fiebig, tax assessor/collector agreed.

“Nothing you can do for them legally,” she said.

The board briefly discussed possible changes to the county employee handbook with Fiebig. The supervisors took no action on the possible changes.

“I’m gonna adopt my own (personnel policy). I’m tired of playing games,” said Fiebig.

They approved to recognize the tax assessor/collector’s employee personnel policy.

The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors also approved:

-To transfer $52,800 to the General Fund. This amount equals 1 mil which is for reappraisal and maintenance. The state Department of Revenue released the mil allowing the board to transfer the funds. -To transfer $32,915 from the General Fund to the ambulance fund. -Jail inspection. -To observe days stated in the employee handbook for Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving and any days the Governor may declare. -To purchase a tag for the District 1 trailer. -To transfer $25,000 from District 2 to the General Fund for AS400 payments. Steve Montgomery, Chancery clerk, said the Chancery clerk budget cannot pay the 12 monthly payments for the new system so District 2 Supervisor Larry McClain agreed to lend the funds which will be paid back plus interest.

October 31 meeting Maxey Peterson with Pryor and Morrow Engineering attended the Board of Supervisor meeting with updates on the construction of the new hospital. He said that Pioneer Health Systems asked him for a price to rough in connections for a washer and dryer in the emergency room. The total cost is $1,340.

The board called Lauren Williams, hospital administrator, to ask her why it was needed. She said the washer and dryer would be used to wash inpatient geri-pysch patient’s clothes-when needed and also doctors and medical staff would need to wash their clothes when required to be there for 48 hours.

After a short discussion, the board agreed to go ahead with the change to add the connections. No action was required. District 4 Supervisor David Carter does not like all the changes or additions to the new hospital. He said the plans for the hospital were supposed to be final several times.

Peterson also presented the board with drawings of planned signage for the new hospital and medical office building. He said that PHS requested to change the name on the sign from Choctaw County Hospital to Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw.

The supervisors said they would not pay for the signage if Choctaw County was taken out of the sign.

While the board had Williams on the phone, they informed her of this. She said she would need to discuss this with her supervisors. She later attended the meeting, asking the supervisors to pay for everything except the Pioneer name and asked for proof of why the county cannot pay for the signage.

Steve Wright, board attorney, told her the law is called impermissible donation.

Also in the meeting, the board held a bid opening for LSRP-Maddox Road Project (box bridge). The engineer’s estimate for the project is $174,764.66. After opening the bids, the board took them under advisement. Then later approved the low bidder Ausbern Construction with a bid of $136,055.55, which is 22 percent below the engineer’s estimate.

Other bids received were: Anderson Contracting $185,149, Colom Construction $168,852.50, Dozer LLC $193,003.85, Endevco LLC $169,474.27, JJ Ferguson Sand & Gravel $168,441.40, J&M Inc $155,904.75, Magco Inc. $142,142.27 and Prairie Construction $168,032.08.

The supervisors also held a public hearing required for District 4 to apply to Rural Development for a partial grant to purchase a tractor and bush hog. Then approved to enter the minutes from public hearing into the board minutes.

The Board of Supervisors also approved: -To forward invoices totaling $38,803 from Amerson Construction to the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District for payment from the state. -Travel for Teresa Weeks, Justice Court clerk, to mandatory seminar. -For Kevin Null to recuse himself from the case against Stacey Johnson -Inventory deletions. -Solid Waste postage request, assessments and annual report. -To submit a pre-application to ARC for a grant for Reform Water Association for needed upgrades. -To pay engineer fees of $4,941 to Marty Crowder for work on the Pigeon Roost Project. -Set the public hearing date for the fire grading districts for November 19 at 10 a.m. -Final amended budget as presented. -Transfer $21,000 from the General Fund to the E911 Fund.