Former city clerk files suit against City of Lapwai
A former city clerk and treasurer has filed a lawsuit against the City of Lapwai for unpaid wages and expenses.
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#1 Jan 8, 2013
GRANGEVILLE - Walco, Idaho County's main garbage hauler for almost 50 years, filed a tort claim against the county Monday for what it says are "illegal actions" in terminating the company's contract.
The tort claim asks for at least $1 million to recover damages. The Idaho County commissioners have 90 days to act on the claim, Idaho County Clerk Kathy Ackerman said.
Last fall, according to the tort claim, the county requested bids for a new solid waste contract. Walco and Simmons Sanitation of Kamiah both submitted proposals.
"Walco, a company that had faithfully served the citizens of Idaho County for almost 50 years," according to the claim, "submitted a bid that was complete in all respects. Simmons Sanitation submitted an incomplete bid that failed to satisfy the bid proposal in nearly all respects."
The claim alleges, however, that the county commissioners treated the Simmons bid as if it were complete, and rejected Walco's bid as incomplete.
"The board did so because it had pre-determined that, under no circumstances, would it work or deal with Walco - even if its bid was lower and its ability to provide the services was superior," according to the claim.
Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik said Monday the commissioners have not yet had a chance to review the tort claim, but would likely turn it over to the county attorney, Kirk
"It was a fair and open process that was done in front of the public," Chmelik said. "We followed procedure. The bids were sealed and they were opened in public and we proceeded with what we thought was the best option for the county.... I don't know what else you can do. You always have a loser and a winner and I don't know what you can do about it."
The claim alleges the county commissioners disclosed information to Simmons to assist with the company's bid.
According to the claim, "the board and Simmons, illegally utilizing Walco's proprietary information, created a contract that appeared to satisfy the bid proposal and appeared to be a lower cost. They did so to create the public illusion that Simmons was the better deal. In actuality, the contract is far more expensive and far less convenient for the citizens of Idaho County."
Commissioners also signed a contract that allegedly illegally doubled the term for which Simmons and Idaho County could sign a contract, according to the claim. The board is permitted by ordinance, according to the claim, only to enter into a five-year contract, but the Simmons contract is for 10 years.
"The actions taken against Walco were retaliatory, designed to prevent Walco from fairly competing for an extension of its contract and designed to ensure that a political ally of the board would receive a contract to which it was not otherwise entitled," according to the claim.
Walco's claim alleges the commissioners have caused Walco and the citizens of Idaho County to suffer significant monetary damages.
The claim is signed by Walco's attorney, Dennis M. Charney of Meridian.
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