Press release on clerk’s contract irks legislators

by Carol Thompson

A press release issued Friday to announce the awarding of a contract by the Oswego County Legislature to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool has the ire of some legislators who said they cannot recall the county sending out public notices of contract awards.

“They are using the county offices for political tools,” Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said upon receiving a copy of the release from Janet Clerkin of the Promotion and Tourism office.

“This is making it sound like the whole legislature approved this,” he added.

Several legislators said they were unaware of the press release until they received it via e-mail.

The release states, “The Oswego County Legislature on Thursday awarded a contract to Info Quick Solutions of Liverpool, NY for text and imaging services for the County Clerk’s Office.”

It continues, “The firm will use its own equipment to scan and record data for a variety of transactions, including property transfers, digitized maps, historical documents, pistol permits, court records, and other records which the County Clerk’s Office is required to keep or provide. Similar services are provided by all county clerks in New York State. County clerks keep and maintain records for the Supreme Court and County Court as required by the State Constitution and several state laws.”

The release continues with statements from Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley and County Administrator Phil Church.

“Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley said the contract review process followed strict procedures to make sure the selection process was fair and ethical, and that the final contract is in the best interest of the county and its residents,” it states.

“The county issued a request for proposals in February,” said Chairman Beardsley. “A bipartisan review panel, which included representatives of the Legislature and the system’s end-users, including the court system and land title industry, evaluated and scored five proposals. All identifying information was removed from the materials before the panel reviewed them. In fairness to the vendors and to protect the integrity of the process, members of the review committee were required to keep the information they received confidential.”

Church is quoted as stating, “Panelists conferred with each other to take advantage of each other’s expertise and perspectives, routed all questions to vendors through my office, and scored the proposals independently. The process complied with state and county procurement policy and law, and was augmented with additional safeguards that, although lengthy, were designed to provide the Community and Consumer Affairs Committee with proposal evaluations that are credible and insulated from real or perceived influence.”

The contract was awarded to IQS by a 15-8 vote following an often heated debate.

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