Lehigh Valley

Northampton County Council debates bidding process with exec.

EASTON, Pa. - Council is at odds with County Administrator John Brown for apparently skirting Northampton County’s administrative code to speed up an RFP for the proposed county jail.
Brown sent council an executive order to accept the proposal of DLR Group, a design firm that had already planned a jail in Kentucky using the layout Brown wants for Northampton County.

Brown wanted the firm to review whether DLR’s building plan could overlap with the county prison’s functionality and programs before committing to a full engineering contract, he said.

Council Solicitor Philip Lauer said by not proving the service was unique enough to be unavailable via other firms, the executive order wasn’t within code.

Calling the RFP process a “waste of time and energy,” Brown said DLR’s expertise with this design already makes them the best choice for this pre-design work.

Council President Cusick acknowledged DLR’s expertise but insisted the county ought to follow protocol.

In other news, an amendment to the 2017 budget is heading to finance committee and on to a public hearing at the next Northampton County Council meeting on June 15.

Similarly, a newly introduced ordinance granting easements to Easton Suburban Water Authority will first go before the finance committee before being opened for debate at a public hearing June 15.

Also, fAnchorollowing county council’s decision to table bids for the farmhouse at Louise Moore Park, the general contractor being awarded the bid pulled out of the project.

Cathy Allen said the contractor decided not to extend the 30 day terms on its winning bid due to changes in seasonal schedule.

Northampton County will have to send the project out to bid again.


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