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Letter: Tree service hiring was badly done

Trucks with the Looks Great Services logo are

Trucks with the Looks Great Services logo are parked in a lot in Huntington. (April 1, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Ed Betz

Regarding "Payment 'justified' " [News, April 12], as a lifetime certified public procurement officer and master instructor in government procurement, I'm outraged that Nassau County awarded a no-bid emergency purchase order of this magnitude without legislative approval.

Emergency procurements are designed to cure the emergency with either the verbal or written approval of a governing body. Typically they have a dollar limit -- $6.7 million reaches the stratosphere of limits -- and are regulated by procurement codes and laws. Emergency procurements are not to be used lightly.

The quote by Frank Moroney, Nassau County's former chief deputy comptroller, that, "Emergency contracts are set up to evade the bureaucracy because the bureaucracy slows it down," is offensive to any civil servant or purchasing professional.

To further compound its poor judgment, the county also paid Looks Great Services in advance of approval, as the company claimed it was "in jeopardy of going out of business." This claim is typically a ploy to speed up payment used by firms doing business with government.

Typically, before awarding a large contract, government must review the financial health of a bidder. Had this been done, perhaps Looks Great Services would not have been given the contract.

I'd like to think that this situation will be investigated by an impartial body of procurement professionals and that a review of who issues emergency purchase orders will result in a revision of the empowering legislation. One can only hope.

Frederick Marks, Wantagh