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Heltzel questions validity of contract



Published: Thu, October 26, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



There is a procedure to follow in awarding professional service contracts.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel says he thinks a 1.2 million contract with a Youngstown engineering firm isn't valid.

Heltzel said during the commissioners' meeting Wednesday that a contract with ES & amp;C International signed by the two other commissioners may not be valid because of an "irregularity in the process" in considering the company.

The contract was signed Friday by Commissioners Daniel Polivka and James Tsagaris. Heltzel said that the contract was signed with neither he nor commissioners' attorneys knowing about it.

The 6 million to 8 million project consists of installing sanitary sewers for a low- to moderate-income area in Newton Falls.

Atty. Ned Gold Jr., who represents ES & amp;C, told Heltzel and Tsagaris on Wednesday that the contract is valid. Polivka did not attend the meeting.

Gold said ES & amp;C wants to begin its work on the project.

Heltzel asserted that if the proper state statutory requirements for hiring professional services weren't followed, the contract is invalidated.

State requirements

In a Sept. 29 letter from Jason Earnhart, an assistant county prosecutor who represents the commissioners, Earnhart outlined what the state law requires: competence indicated by technical training, education, and experience; ability to perform the workload; having qualified employees, equipment and facilities to perform professional design; and a review of past performance.

Heltzel said that Gary Newbrough, county sanitary engineer, did not rank other engineering firms that made proposals for the Scott Street sewer work.

He explained that Newbrough admitted to him that Tony Carson, county administrator at the time, told Newbrough, an engineer, not to rank the companies if Tsagaris and Polivka wanted to hire ES & amp;C. Carson resigned July 25.

Heltzel also called attention to the contribution of Sat Adlaka, ES & amp;C president, to Polivka's 2005 election campaign. Gold countered that ES & amp;C's contribution wasn't the most donated to Polivka by an engineering firm.

According to campaign expense reports, Adlaka donated 1,500 to Polivka; Thomas D.Y. Fok of Thomas Fok Associates Ltd. of Austintown contributed 2,000.

In other business, commissioners approved a 189,000 contract with Tinkler Construction Co. of Warren to remodel the county board of elections. The work includes replacing the front windows, weatherproofing, and installing new doors with the entrances being handicap accessible.

yovich@vindy.com




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