The lawyer for commissioners says they acted properly.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
WARREN -- A doctor who was denied a contract to provide medical services to inmates in Trumbull County Jail is suing the county, contending sex and race discrimination.
Dr. Sharon George, a Warren osteopath, was jail physician from 1995 until 2001, under a contract that paid nearly $200,000 a year. A staff of seven worked for her at the jail from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dr. George, who is black, says the Trumbull County commissioners acted improperly by not renewing her contract in May even though she was the lower of two bidders.
Her lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
"I was the lowest bidder initially, and they didn't award it to me," she said. She has subsequently laid off the licensed practical nurses who worked for her in the jail.
Details: Dr. George's bid was to continue providing the service for $280,000 each year, a 40 percent increase over the old contract.
The other bidder, Correctional Medical Services Inc., said it would provide services for $395,000 each year.
"We thought if we bid it again we could get better numbers," said Commissioner Michael O'Brien.
In the meantime, they hired Dr. Philip P. Malvasi, another Warren osteopath, to provide jail medical services on a month-to-month basis for $375 a month less than Dr. George had been paid.
Dr. George refused to work any longer under her old contract rates, O'Brien said. She did not adjust her bid when commissioners solicited offers a second time, he said.
"Of course, when they went out to bid again, everyone was under me," she said.
Commissioners eventually awarded the contract to Dr. Malvasi for $250,000 a year.
Two companies, Healing Arts Associates and Correctional Health Care Group, bid lower than Dr. Malvasi, and Dr. Frank G. Veres, another Warren osteopath who bid the same amount.
Commissioners unanimously awarded the contract to Dr. Malvasi based on the services offered and his response to questions in the bid package.
Assistant county prosecutor Jim Saker said the commissioners followed the proper legal procedure in awarding the contract.