All day yesterday (Wednesday) I heard Jane Monnich reporting on 1400 KLIN words spoken by Mayor Coleen Seng to the effect that;
We should be thanking her for her decision to
Well Pardon me all to City Hall Madam Mayor but I don't think it is us that should be thanking you. It should be you apologizing to the citizens of Lincoln for what could be considered your malfiesence in allowing it to ever happen in the first place.
You should be apologizing for the massive waste of Lincoln tax dollars expended because you chose to ignore the experience of Purchasing Agent Vince Mejer.
Seng can not deny she did not know
City officials were warned of possible problems by the fire department’s Deputy Chief of Maintenance, Dennis Klein, and the city’s purchasing agent, Vince Mejer, before the trucks were even built.
You were aware of the problems during the first round of the bidding process because Vince Mejer, whose job it was as Purchasing Agent made you aware of it.
But Seng took Mejer out of the process during the second round of bidding, in part because EDM officials felt Mejer was biased against their company.
By all accounts Vince Mejer is one, if not the most stalwart stewards of our tax dollars that serve the people of Lincoln;
Mejer is well aware of his reputation, but the way he sees it, he’s advocating for taxpayers.
“I’m very particular and I’m very in tune with doing things per the law,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that think they can do purchasing because they buy things for their home, but we have laws and regulations that we have to follow. And so I’m very picky on that.”
Police Chief Tom Casady speaks highly of Vince Mejer;
Mejer is the city’s most experienced purchasing employee with a “well-earned reputation as a stickler for specs and adherence to contracts,” Casady said.
Asked in an interview Monday whether he thought the firetruck purchase would have gone better if Mejer hadn’t been taken out of the loop, Casady said, “I don’t think we’d be here.”
“Obviously some of his concerns in the first bid process really did happen,” he said. “I think Vince was trying to look out for the best interest of the city.”
“Some people find Vince difficult to deal with,” Casady said. “I don’t personally.”
Doing the Job he was hired to do
From the very start of this as he always has Vince Mejer was doing the job he was hired to do. A job he has earned a reputation for doing very well. Mayor Coleen Seng purposely took him out of the loop in deference to a Chief Spadt;
Casady noted, however, that Seng was relying upon the advice and judgment of her department head, Spadt.
A "Department Head" that did not have the knowledge and experience of purchasing contracts and the associated law. A "Department Head" that did not have the reputation and knowledge of Vince Mejer.
No Mayor Seng we do not owe you one iota of gratitude.
Ok I'll try;
Thank you so very much for ignoring the reputation and experience of Vince Mejer. Thank you for defering to Chief Spadt and EDM and removing Mejer from the process and allowing them to sell the city a "Bill of Goods". Thank you oh so very much for allowing hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to be wasted on a flawed process and inferior equipment. Thank you for all of the dollars that have been spent by the Police Department to investigate the situation.
As a side note Mayor there is probably a reason that EDM doesn't like Mejer and think that he is biased against their company.
In March, EDM President Jeff Mellen objected to Mejer being allowed in on a meeting, saying in an e-mail, “Vince has been disruptive and argumentative toward my company not only on this deal, but on every single fire truck and ambulance purchase in the 12-year period since 1994.”
If as Mayor a potential contractor told me that my best purchasing agent was baised against them I would suspect that they did not have the best interests of the people at heart. If Mejer was/is biased against EDM it is with apparent good cause.
What did Mayor Seng know and when did she know it?
What did the Mayor have to gain by not only discounting Vince Mejer's experience and reputation but removing him from the process entirely?
One possible explanation for the Mayors decision rests in the past.
Former Mayor Don Wesley allegedly appointed Spadt Fire chief as a reward for delivering the firefighters vote in his bid for Mayor. (Spadt was head of the firefighters union at the time.) Possibly Spadt was poised to "deliver that vote" to Seng should she have chosen to run again.
Another nagging question that needs to be answered and has not because Spadt invoked his rights under the fifth amendment and refused to be interviewed is;
What did he (Spadt) have to gain by allegedly working outside normal channels to allow Emergency Vehicle Dealership EDM to deliver substandard equipment at the expense of Lincoln tax payers?
Whether he committed a prosecutable act or not it seems apparent that for unknown reasons Chief Spadt conspired with a private contractor to provide the city with inferior firefighting equipment.
Now that he is unemployed one can only wonder if EDM will offer him a job, a job that could have been promised to him upon his retirement from the Department in the first place.
The persons we should be thanking are Vince Mejer for his commitment to the Citizens of Lincoln and City Coucilman Jon Camp for his persistence in making this fiasco public.