Canastota: Board rejects truck bid

The village board rejected the only bid on the new fire truck the department plans to purchase to review specifications and find out what can be done to refit existing equipment.

The fire department's chairman of the truck committee, who was instrumental in preparing specifications for the truck, is employed by the manufacturer that bid on the truck. Ethical questions arose when other manufacturers didn't bid. Mayor Todd Rouse asked the committee to contact the other manufacturers to find out why they didn't bid.

Lyle Chafee, a member of the fire department and on behalf of the truck committee, attended the village board meeting on Nov. 17 to discuss the $361,000 bid and submit letters by three of the other manufacturers that didn't bid.

"They basically all said the same thing," Chafee said. Because of the specifications, a bolted body for one, Chafee said, the other companies didn't want the work. "It's a 'rough-industria,' everybody does it," he said.

Chafee also wanted the board to know that the committee would never have allowed the person that worked for the manufacturer to be so involved in the bidding process.

"Myself and I believe other guys on the truck committee would never have approved of this," Chafee said. "We weren't trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. I'm a taxpayer in this community and so is everyone else."

Trustee Chuck Sweeney appreciated Chafee's honesty and said he didn't feel they were knowingly deceptive.

Rouse told Chafee the department made a bad judgment call in appointing the committee chair and explained to him that it was a lesson learned on how it "appeared."

"What is the status on the remount on the other truck now?" Rouse asked.

"We contacted some manufacturers and they are going to take a look at the truck," Chafee said.

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