Broome County legislature forces county to open bidding process on jail renovation

Derek Key/via Flickr
January 24, 2014

The Broome County legislature voted to open bidding on a contract to improve the jail, after the Press and Sun Bulletin reported that the contract was awarded without an open bidding period. 

Broome County officials had chosen LaBella Associates, an engineering firm based in Rochester, to complete the 800,000-dollar renovation project on the county jail. The contract was extended because the state Commission of Corrections told the county they had to make needed improvements to the jail or risk having it shut down.

Bijoy Datta is the Broome Deputy County Executive. Datta said there was a need to move quickly. So the county skipped the open bidding period to speed up the process.

“We’ve gotten at least 13 communications from the New York State Commissions of Corrections, saying you need to get this done, you need to get this done, you need to get this done.”

If the jail had been shut down, the county would have to pay to house the inmates in other facilities. The Press and Sun Bulletin first reported that the county waived its own laws to extend the jail contract.

Dan J. Reynolds is the member of the legislature who moved to have the resolution postponed.

“One thing we wanted to make sure is that this vendor here was the most qualified.”

The county has one month to gather other bids before the legislature votes on the resolution again.