￼ Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland failed to get 3 bids for multi-thousand dollar contracts
Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland has cited the awarding of contracts without first getting competitive bids as reason enough to fire Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Jeff Kuhr:
According to an article in the 6/14/23 issue of the Daily Sentinel, titled “More turmoil on the Public Health Board,”
“At the June 5 public health meeting, [Mesa County Attorney Todd] Starr presented a largely one-sided view of a partial audit done earlier this year on the department, some of which said Kuhr hired contractors without going through a competitive bid process…” [Italicized emphasis added.] Rowland complained that awarding sole source contracts without first getting bids or going through review by County finance departments “puts the County at high risk because [the contracts don’t] go through a legal, risk or finance review.”
But she and the other Commissioners award high-dollar contracts without first getting competitive bids where such bids and oversight are merited, according to County policy.
Case in point: the county’s $49,000 contract with Hammer and Associates, the company the Commissioners hired to create the “forensic audit” that Rowland used to impugn MCPHD Director Jeff Kuhr.
Mesa County Procurement Policy (pdf) states that a contract of this amount must first be approved by the County’s Chief Financial Officer and requires a “Documented, competitive bid from at least three (3) sources”:
Mesa County’s current purchasing policy
But an Open Records Request for all three bids for this contract returned a response that there are no such bids.
Rather, instead of following these requirements, the commissioners chose to use a loophole, exception 4.9.11 in the procurement policy which is buried four pages in, that allows them to exempt “Licensed professionals such as attorneys, specialty engineers, architects, surveyors, and medical professionals.”
They didn’t have to use the loophole, but they chose to. They could have chosen the route that indicates they are being prudent with taxpayer money, but nope.
There are at least 3 or 4 CPA firms in the Grand Valley that do forensic consulting and could have supplied bids and done the work commissioners wanted, but instead the commissioners sole-sourced a Denver CPA firm, Hammer & Associates. Because of that, $49,000 of taxpayer money went right out of town.
Rich Tuttle, former Mesa County Prosecutor who now works for Dufford, Waldeck lawfirm. Rowland hired Tuttle to defame MCPHD Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr in front of the public at a Public Health Board Hearing on June 5
The commissioners did the same for the contract with the Dufford, Waldeck law firm which amounted to over $5,000. They retained Dufford, Waldeck to get former Mesa County Prosecutor Rich Tuttle to defame Jeff Kuhr in front of the public at the June 5 Public Health Board meeting.
So when the commissioners had opportunities to comply with County policy designed to assure taxpayer money was being spent prudently, they instead chose to use a loophole that circumvented their duty to actually be prudent when spending taxpayer money.
A screenshot of Janet Rowland from her 2020campaign video titled “Transparency.” Rowland says, “I believe transparency in government is absolutely critical…I believe that you, the taxpayer, should know what your government is up to, and how they’re spending your money.”