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Front Page » November 11, 2010 » Carbon County News » Fencing at Viking Park followed correct procedures, ECC a...
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Fencing at Viking Park followed correct procedures, ECC attorney says

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Sun Advocate reporter

A fence installed at Viking Park, which was a main topic of discussion at a previous city council meeting, followed the correct procedures and was completed within the guidelines of the city, according to the East Carbon City Council and City Attorney Jeremy Humes.

Humes said that the fencing job was paid for with money from a private insurance company. Because it was paid for with private funds, the job was not subject to the normal requirements for a job in the city.

"This is different because it was a private person's insurance company that was paying for the job to be done. They requested that bids be gathered by the city. The city chose a bid and submitted it to the insurance company and they then cut a check to the city for the job," Humes said. "So this being private money, not public money, is not subject to the normal requirements of a contract."

Stephen and Terri Manzanares from Castle Country Fencing went before the city council for the second time to discuss their issues pertaining to the fence work and how it was handled by East Carbon City. They read a lengthy prepared statement describing the events that took place leading up to the fence being put into place, conversations with City Maintenance worker Darwin Christiansen, how they thought the bidding process was not done correctly and provided suggestions on what the city should do about the situation.

The Manzanares said that there was never a valid signed contract and the fence was installed without going through the proper procedures and channels. They were upset about not being told about the fencing project job in advance, only finding out about it when they were mistakenly called by Christiansen who was looking for someone else.

Because they felt the the process was not done properly, the Manzanares suggested that the city remove the signs on the fence advertising the business, Southeast Fencing, on the fence.

"That job was not awarded to them and it wasn't awarded to us, so no one should be able to advertise," Terri Manzanares said. "We believe in all fairness, the job should belong to both of us or neither of us."

Councilman Darrell Valdez, who was serving as Mayor pro-temp, said that the city would not take down the signs.

"We will not be taking down the signs on the fence," Valdez said.

Included within their statement, the Manzanares said the city should compensate them for the labor costs associated with the work because they thought they were the lowest bidder, although they both said they have yet to see the contracts from the job. They also suggested that because Mr. Christiansen may have overstepped his job related boundaries he could be subject to a reprimand by the city.

"Maybe Mr. Christiansen should consider apologizing to ECC, to us and anyone else that he has embarrassed in this particular incident," Terri Manzanares said.

Councilman Andy Urbanik intervened asking if the Manzanares were done presenting their facts.

"Are you done with the facts?" Urbanik asked. "We're not going to sit here and let you bash Mr. Christiansen."

The Manzanares then requested that the city compensate Castle Country Fencing for labor costs they would have made on that particular job.

"We realize we didn't install the fencing, but the fact remains that the other bidder didn't have the legal authority to install it either. We lost the job innocently and through no fault of our own. The job was not publicly advertised, the required procedures were not followed, no valid contract with the city was ever in existence, hence the project was not awarded or denied to either one of us bidders," Terri Manzanares said.

Councilman Valdez said the job was completed and the council was ready to discuss other issues on the agenda.

"The job is done and the job is going to stay that way," Valdez said.

The Manzanares also questioned whether the money for the project went into the city's funds. Humes said that just because money is transferred through a city account does not mean that it becomes public funds.

"Public funds are those generated by tax monies, levies on the citizens. That's not the kind of money that this was," Humes said.

If the city was building a new fence on city property then it would need to go into the normal bidding requirements like any job would be, Humes said.

"The city in this case did what it needed to do to have this job taken care of," he said.

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November 11, 2010
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