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Friday, December 7, 2012

MY TAKE - Zandri’s lamppost probe cut short

Here is the rest of the ongoing story regarding this morning’s article in the Record Journal

This was my request to the Law Department to make a ruling on whether there was any violation of the Charter or the Ordinance:

RE: Review request of the possible violation to the Charter and / or the Purchasing Ordinance

Pursuant to the agenda item at the November 13, 2012 Regular Town Council meeting where the discussion was made regarding the Purchasing Ordinance, the Code of Wallingford and the Town Charter of Wallingford, I am formally requesting that a review be performed by the law department in order to make a determination if there was a violation to the Charter and / or the Purchasing Ordinance.

During the discussion regarding agenda item 9 “Discussion regarding Ornamental Street Lamps” it was uncovered that the working lights were taken down and cut up for recycling. At no time was there any discussion regarding following the Purchasing Ordinance procedure as outlined regarding the paperwork that should have been filled out.

Additionally, the assets never appeared on the surplus list for consideration of anyone that makes bids from that list. To the best of my knowledge neither the purchasing agent nor the Mayor signed off on these items, the Ornamental Street Lamps, to be cut up and recycled for their scrap value, which in my determination should not have occurred before they were put up on the surplus list for sale.

It is in my estimation that these assets were “removed / retired” in a manner inconsistent with the Code of Wallingford and the Wallingford Charter and opposed to the way outlined within the Purchasing Ordinance and I am seeking a determination of this formally.

If there is any additional information that is needed of me to officially make this request please advise as I would like to have an answer to this for future reference and in an effort to set a procedure to avoid problems like this in the future.


So it was from this that the final ruling was made:



This ruling was made based on the determination that 39 working lights were scrap not on the fact that 39 working assets were handled in a way inconsistent with current procedures of most of the other town departments.

So if this discretion is going to be given in this manner as latitude, it would not be unheard of someday for a department to indicate a troublesome pickup truck of theirs to be designated as follows:  “We don’t consider (it) suitable. We do not want to perpetuate the use of (it). ... We consider (it) truly to be scrap,”  “It’s not something we have interest in at all.”

That is all that is required to get around the rules. Make that assessment and you do not need to follow the procedure of contacting purchasing to handle the offering to other town departments for reuse or in the event no other department wants them, the sale to eligible private individuals that are qualified purchasers via the surplus list.

Just say they are scrap and you can have it handled under any open recycle contract the town uses.

The detractors can put all the spin they want on this – at the end of the day working lights were taken down and cut up for recycle material when they clearly had more value.
There are still lights of the old style left that other departments in town are responsible for; when they need parts for them and come asking the Council for money to buy them people are then going to wish the ones that were cut up and disposed of were properly put on the surplus list for consideration of other departments like the purchasing ordinance calls for.
Wallingford lost out on an opportunity to recover money against sold assets and / or the ability to leverage used parts from the removed lights for the ones that still remain.

That is a loss of recovery revenue and it will impact your taxes effectively twice over.

We did not receive proper value for these retired assets in their sale so that is an income loss. No money came in from a sale because the sale never happened.

We will need to make additional purchases to repair and / or replace the remaining original style lights and that is an outbound expenditure.
Generally speaking, Wallingford does a good job at managing expenditures / assets and for being fiscally responsible.

This entire event was neither and all the posturing has made it worse.

An admission “a mistake was made and here is how it can be avoided in the future” was all that was needed to get us right back on the rails but that was nowhere to be found and it is still being resisted today.

Let’s see what, if anything, useful comes out of the Ordinance meeting on the matter.

On the surface I am doubtful because the original ordinance was skirted in the first place – what good it is to modify an existing ordinance or create a new one when we do not enforce or follow the ones in the way they exist today?

I’ll leave it at “guess we’ll see” and go from there

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