County Executive Vetoes Awarding Of Bus Contracts

The legislature has 30 days to vote on the veto.


Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell announced at Wednesday’s meeting that County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef officially vetoed the legislature’s awarding of the county bus contracts to Brega Transport Corp. in Valley Cottage.

The legislature awarded the bid to Brega at a meeting two weeks ago, with Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan the only legislator voting against it. She said the veto from Vanderhoef was “not surprising.”

Low-Hogan said she didn’t vote in approval of the bid because all three final bidders -- Brega, MV Transportation and Coach USA, which owns the Rockland Transit Corp -- had variances in their bids.

“I wouldn’t have voted to award the bid to any of the three companies,” she said. “Until the procurement department comes forward and says we have a lowest qualified bidder, I don’t see how we can vote to award the bid.”

In a letter to the legislature explaining his decision, Vanderhoef wrote the New York State Law and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulations require the county to evaluate bids in response to the specifications set in the request for bids (RFB).

“By awarding a contract that materially varies from the bid specifications, the county legislature is altering the specifications after the bidding process and is giving the successful bidder an unfair advantage of permitting that bidder to calculate its bid on a basis different from that afforded to the other companies,” Vanderhoef wrote in that same letter.

Vanderhoef stated that “it is in the opinion of the county attorney that it would be unlawful to proceed with an award of the contract to Brega Transport Corporation on terms that materially vary from the RFB.”

Going against the RFB might also have other consequences, Vanderhoef warned in his letter.

“Most importantly, as you know, our public transportation system is primarily funded by the federal government through the FTA, which requires that we comply with federal government rules,” he wrote. “Our Department of Public Transportation advises that funding for this essential public service may be jeopardized by any violation of these federal regulations and laws.”

Cornell said the legislature has 30 days to act on the veto and vote whether to agree with it or override it. She said she’s not sure when the vote will come, and added it could come as early as the legislature’s next meeting, but nothing is set yet.

Mark Neumann October 04, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Mr smith Mr. Smith please explain how our legislature approved this bid (or any other for that matter) if what you say is true and/or the reason given by our executive for his veto is correct. Perhaps @Ed Day can shed some light on this
JLeo October 05, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Mark...the legislature never had the bids submitted to them by the purchasing department. They simply thought they could skip that step, don't know why. Brega was found to be not responsive to the bid, Brega was not going to have the drivers union contract in his bid, but he can not do that, it was part of the bid specifications. By not having the union contract it was easy to lower his bid by $7,000,000 over 5 years. The Bregas have never had union workers in the 50+ years the family has been in business and this Brega is no different. The county executive had no choice but to veto, and I doubt the legislature would be crazy enough to overide it, because the county can kiss the FTA funds goodbye, that's a fact. The feds also own the bus fleet, I doubt Rockland County could afford to buy them at $500,000 to $700,000 a copy times 60. It's a no brainer the contract should go to Coach USA or MV TRANSIT, two companies with vast resources of capital and experienced employees at every level. Both companies already have the ATU for their drivers.
Mark Neumann October 05, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Bill (hope I can call you that) thanks for this information. My problem, if you can call it that, is not with who gets the contract it is with the incompetence of our Legislature. If Low-Hogan was aware of the bidding problem it seems the entire body should have been. Thanks again! Mark
JLeo October 05, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Bill is fine...My hope is that if the Legislature REALLY wants to get this thing done, that they will put politics aside and truly listen to the purchasing department. Mr Brennan is a smart man and has all the facts they need...but they have to talk to him first, and that seems to be a problem.
JLeo January 16, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Well its January 2013 and the contract is still in Coach USA's hands. Brega will win by default, because who in their right mind would do business with a county that can't get a bid done in 2 years!


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