County to get new county agent; janitorial bid on county administrative building accepted

Published 1:17 pm Friday, May 27, 2011

Pearl River County supervisors on Monday accepted a janitorial services bid for the county administrative office building, 401 W. Lamar St.

The contract previously had not been let out for bidding — and had been held by the same company — for 24 years, according to officials.

In addition, supervisors requested that the state fill the Pearl River County agricultural extension agent’s position, which has been vacant for two years because of state budget cuts.

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Currently, one county agent, Eddie M.L. Smith,  is filling both the Pearl River County and Hancock County positions. He appeared before supervisors on Monday.

It was a routine request by the board, needed by the state to move forward with filling the position.

The same janitorial service company, Armstrong Cleaning Service, held the cleaning contract for over two decades. The board on April 11 voted to put the contract out for bid after the matter was brought to the board’s attention by Smith, whose office is located in the building.

On April 11, in response to a question by board president and supervisor Anthony Hales, Sr., Smith told the board he looked into the contract because his office is budgeted a portion of cleaning costs.

The administrative building houses mainly welfare offices and other state and local personnel.

Armstrong on Monday bid the same price the company has been charging the county, $985 a month, but three of seven other companies bidding on the contract underbid Armstrong.

The contract was awarded to Kathi P. Davis, who bid $875 a month, the lowest bid. The new contract stipulates it will run for one year only, at the end of which, it will again go out for bid.

Other companies bidding on the contract were: Elise J. Rester, $1,625; Top to Bottom Cleaning, $900; Lisa Powe Davis, $930; Crystal Clear Cleaning Specialist, LLC, $1,600; Coastal Building Service, LLC, $1,485; and Louisiana-Mississippi Building Services, $1,185.74.

All five supervisors — J. Patrick Lee, Joyce Culpepper, Hales, Sandy Kane Smith and Hudson Holliday — voted for it.

Eddie Smith told supervisors on April 11 that he had investigated the janitorial contract covering the administrative building and had discovered that the contract had been held by the same cleaning company for 24 years without being bid upon.

He told supervisors then that the contract probably should be rewritten, that some stipulations in the contract seemed out of date and probably shouldn’t be required.

Supervisors at the April 11 meeting also named Smith the building supervisor.

In the other matter concerning the county agent, supervisors passed a resolution requesting the state extension service fill the county agent position in Pearl River County.

It has been vacant for two years and Smith has served as the county agent for both Pearl River and Hancock counties. The state is in the process of refunding the position for Pearl River County, said Smith. He said applications for the position are being accepted.

The county agent’s salary is paid for with both state and local funds.

The board of supervisors has to spread on their minutes a request that the position be filled before state funding kicks in.