BY JOHN LEOPOLDO
It’s seems like just yesterday that the Rockland County Legislature was ready to approve almost $3 million to wash county buses. The county executive was outraged as was the general public. The resolution quietly disappeared and Brega Transport did not get one penny extra for bus washing. Fast forward about a year. The county has since decided to end its TRIPS Maintenance contract this summer with Brega DOT Maintenance. Why? Partly because of the inexplicably high $835 oil change that Brega was going to charge the county. The TRIPS contract brought in on average $20,000 a month to Brega.
This week the Legislature brought a resolution to the floor to pay Brega Transport over $560,000 for maintaining the county buses fareboxes for about two years. The fareboxes were installed early in 2014. Why would the county pay for something that was already included in the contract that Brega signed? The only difference from the original bid specification was that the contractor did not have to supply the fareboxes but would still be responsible for the maintenance of them. Besides, the boxes were under warranty for at least the first year. So again the Legislature has come up with a way to get Brega the funds they desperately need due to underbidding the contract in the first place.
Like the bus wash resolution lets hope that Mr. Day does not approve this thinly disguised attempt to appropriate undeserved funds. Why would this not have been put out to bid anyway if indeed the farebox maintenance was not included in the contract? The money the Legislature is ready to pay is almost equal to the funds lost from the TRIPS Maintenance contract, coincidence?
The county bus fareboxes were not meant to be an ATM for anyone!
Former Rocklander John Leopoldo is the fleet maintenance superintendent of Broward County, FL and a former service manager of Brega DOT. He continues to watchdog transportation issues in Rockland County from his home in sunny Florida.