Thursday, May 5, 2011

Procurement committee babysits Hinds (Video)

Unbelievable describes what took place at a meeting of the procurement committee of the Mississippi Wireless Communications Commission. Hinds County Supervisor George Smith attempted to obtain approval for the county's $113,000 purchase of EF Johnson police radios for Byram. Committee approval is required for all radio purchases over $100,000.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted on March 7, 2011 to purchase the radios for Byram. The county issued a purchase order on March 9 for the EF Johnson radios even though Byram wished to purchase Motorola police radios, and had obtained approval in February from the commission for Motorola radios. Hinds County did not apply for approval from the commission even though it is required by law, until this website and WLBT reported two weeks ago no such application existed, nor had Hinds County contacted the commission.

Hinds County submitted an application last week, nearly sixty days after issuing the purchase order. The Hinds County application was the first item on the agenda today. However, no one from Hinds County appeared before the committee. The committee finished all other matters within fifteen minutes. A commission employee finally contacted George Smith twenty minutes after the meeting began. Mr. Smith arrived at 2:35 after the committee recessed and waited for fifteen minutes.

Committee members present were Willie Huff (MDOT), Keith Harkins (MDEQ), Quincy Marcaro (MS Municipal League), and Jay Ledbetter (present on the phone, Homeland Security). Bill Roach, Executive Director of the commission was present as well. Mr. Smith strongly urged the committee to approve the purchase, claiming it did what was requested by Byram. Mr. Huff, Chief of Enforcement at MDOT, repeatedly pointed out Hinds did not follow the rules. Byram representatives were present, as they sought approval to purchase three police consoles (permission was granted). The commissioners included them in the discussion.

The discussion grew raucus at times, as Mr. Smith would not quit trying to get the committee to approve the $113,000 purchase, even though Byram had already purchased police radios. Mr. Smith repeatedly said Byram never notified the Board of its wishes, even after Chief Luke Thompson informed him and the committee Byram did not want to receive the EF Johnson radios. Chief Huff and Mr. Harkins told Mr. Smith the committee did not operate in a vacuum and was well aware of what was reported in the media concerning the Byram purchase. Chief Huff put forth a motion allowing Hinds to resubmit its application with corrections after Mr. Smith said the county wished to purchase the radios, even if they were not given to Byram. Mr. Smith fought the motion and it died for lack of a second. Mr. Ledbetter later hung up before any further action could be taken. The meeting adjourned for lack of a quorum.

Watch the video, especially parts three and four, as there are some lively exchanges and the discussion grows heated more than a few times.

Watch the last five minutes of this video:

Supervisor Smith shows up. Now the fun starts. Worth watching.

Fireworks continue.


Anonymous said...

There is a key distinction KF mentioned in the first clip as they were discussing a purchase by Harrison County. The $100,000 purchase approval requirement is cumulative on an annual basis versus a per transaction basis hurdle.

Anonymous said...

Smith "guarantees" that TDMA will be provided for the Johnson radios at no cost to the county. Well then why not include the functionality now George?

Anonymous said...

What do you surmise is George Smith's endgame here Kingfish?

Anonymous said...

Maybe I dont understand but what appears to be happening is that Hinds County is asking for approval to purchase radios which have already been purchased, possibly illegally, and the Board is Helping Hinds County out in trying to figure how to get around what has already happened. State Government at its best.

Paul Mitchell said...

Someone needs to inform Supe Smith that it is pretty tough to DIG out of a hole.

While they are informing him of that, they also need to tell him to take that ridiculous Bluetooth thingy out of his ear.

Video quality is good, though.

Anonymous said...

So, in clip #3 at around the 37:45 mark, Smith says that the radios HAVE NOT been paid for. Hasn't he stated on numerous other occasions that the radios HAVE been paid for?

Unknown said...

It didn't meet the requirements. End of story. Meeting over! This is the problem with politics. Nobody is willing to say what needs to be said. This is not about feelings people. Next

Anonymous said...

The question remains why is Robert Graham going out of his way to feather the nests of Hargrove and Stowers?

It is also curious why Quincy Mukuro is so eager to help Smith gain his approval.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not the radios have been paid for yet is irrelevant. The issuance of the purchase order obiligated Hinds County to pay for the radios within 45 days of delivery.

Hinds County had better find a way to return the existing radios since the purchase is illegal. You've already got the State Auditor looking into the matter. Approval by the MWCC after the fact isn't going to help.

Anonymous said...

Can a county dictate how a city spends its money or what a city buys? Seems like at the beginning of this deal, the chief did his due diligence and ask two vendors for quotes for radios and specifically ask for specifics in each. The Motorola radio was $10,000 less than the EF johnson radios. The county broke purchasing laws and also there was a conflict of interest. The only reason this was not approved was the simple fact. THE CONSULTANT OF HINDS COUNTY SOLD THE MORE EXPENSIVE RADIO. If the county is so worried about it, why didnt they vote on the less expensive radio? GUESS.. they wanted to make sure their consultant got his commission on the ef johnson radios so that he could pay his car note on his Porshe SUV. UMMMM

Anonymous said...

Smith is a bumbling idiot.

Anonymous said...

Smith is as you say but the bright light of this investigation needs to be squarely on Sup Graham.

Anonymous said...

The Hinds Co BOS needs to be investiagted entirely if that was a majority whire BOS they would be in some federal prison. Look at the Pal Jones case several yrs back he did nothing compared to this BOS.

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