Council authorizes orders, grants for Fire-Rescue-EMS

Published 3:43 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS Department is seeking a $49,400 grant to help pay for replacing the department’s SCBA-breathing air fill system.

The City Council, during its Nov. 14 meeting, authorized the department to apply for the grant. If the grant were approved, the city would be required to contribute $2,600 toward the replacement cost.

Such a system is used to fill air tanks worn by firefighters with compressed air, which they breathe while fighting fires and/or dealing with hazardous/toxic materials that might injure or kill them.

In a related matter, the council approved spending $29,946.58 for a Phillips cardiac heartstart monitor from Southeastern Emergency Equipment. “This purchase is in accordance with our replacement schedule for cardiac monitors used at the paramedic-level of care. We are purchasing the Phillips brand which is consistent and compatible with our existing cardiac equipment, supplies and accessories,” reads a memorandum from Robbie Rose, the city’s fire chief, to the mayor and council members.

In other business, the council authorized spending $96,157 with McClean Engineering and $24,490 with Tech Products Inc. for the GIS mapping of the city’s electric system. The city’s budget includes $169,000 for the first phase of the GIS mapping project and $15,000 for maintenance of the database.

Earlier this year, just one bid related to the project was received, resulting in the council making it clear it wanted more bids on the project.

During its Aug. 22 meeting, the council instructed city staff to seek those multiple bids after the lone bid on the mapping project was received. That $169,000 bid was submitted by Booth & Associates, which has a history of performing work related to the city’s electric system.

Jeff Clark, director of the electric system, told the council the lone bid is the result of Booth & Associates being the only company that has “records” and data related to the city’s electric system. Councilman Doug Mercer asked why that is the situation, adding it makes sense to him to provide that data to other companies and solicit bids from them. Doing that could result in a lower bid from another firm qualified to do the work, he said.

“I have a real problem with spending $169,000 and saying it’s going to a company because they have our information,” Mercer said at the Aug. 22 meeting. “That information belongs to us. If that information is needed by someone else to do this project, that information should have been made available to them, and we should have multiple bids on this project.”


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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