When work is hard to come by these days, Randy Pelcher, owner of Rasp Construction in Bishop, said Mono County cheated him out of at least two jobs. Mono Public Works sent him a letter of intent
to award the bid to him to replace the roof at the Crowley Road Shop. He said officials never bothered to tell him they had decided two weeks ago to re-design the project and re-bid it. Then when a storm hit and serious problems developed at the road shop, the County called in a Nevada contractor to do an emergency roof job, not Rasp Construction. Pelcher said he had called the County daily to warn them if weather hit there would be an emergency at the road shop.
“It galls me,” said Pelcher, “that the County didn’t try to keep the project local for local workers.” Pelcher said he does most of his work in Mammoth and Mono and uses a Crowley roofer. He feels favoritism worked its way into this situation and cheated him out of the job. Pelcher said he turned down another job to do the County project in Crowley. Now, he has neither. He wonders why Rita Sherman, in charge of the project in Public Works, didn’t at least contact him.
Sherman, Mono Risk Manager and head of facilities under recent reorganization, said she inherited the Crowley project a few weeks ago. She claims she thought Pelcher was notified. Sherman said the project design was not good. She said she spoke with M&M Construction who had bid on a 2009 design that she preferred. 2009 bids had been rejected and re-designed. Sherman said she asked the County Counsel to cancel the most recent bids to start over with a less expensive plan.
No one in Public Works or other areas of the County informed Mr. Pelcher. In fact, Pelcher said he was calling the County daily before the storm last week to tell them he needed to go to work
immediately or there would be an emergency. He had started to order supplies to do the job he believed he had.
According to Mono County Counsel Marshall Rudolph, after the big storm, Rita Sherman inspected the road facility and found that it was “leaking like a sieve. Water was coming out of electrical sockets, and dry wall was falling off.”
Sherman recommended hiring M&M to do the emergency work. Why not have the intended contractor do the work? Sherman said the County was looking at a design similar to the one M&M bid on in 2009. Mr. Pelcher
said he’s on the County’s contractor list to contact for emergencies and that he could have done the new design easily for less money than M&M.
Rudolph said he doesn’t blame Mr. Pelcher for being unhappy, but he also said that legally the Board of Supervisors can declare an emergency and order immediate repairs, without a bid, according to public contract code. They did that last Friday. Rudloph said the Board was not legally required to hire Pelcher, and legally, Rudolph said, the County did not have to go out to bid for the emergency. Rudolph maintains Rita Sherman was “acting in good faith.” As another local attorney, not representing Pelcher, commented on hearing this story, “There are a lot of ways to screw people, legally.”
Mr. Pelcher said, “Morally, I don’t know why they did this, and they did not act in the best interest of the local taxpayers.” Pelcher said he has still not been notified of anything by Mono County. He learned of the sharp U-turn in the bid and emergency work Monday by way of a private tip from a county worker.