To the Editor,
With our sheriff weighing in against it, the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court decided to cast aside private jail management. I think that was a good decision for many reasons.
I was the only member of the court to serve in a voting capacity on the committee that reviewed the relative merits of the two companies that responded to our county’s request for bid for possible private jail management. By law, the detailed results were available to the commissioners for the most part. Only a summarized numerical score was available to the general public, due to the vagaries of state law. I think the relatively low scores are definitive. I also believe public record as related in multi-media news reports easily accessed and too numerous to mention weigh heavily in favor of our decision.
Moreover, our new purchasing agent Kim Gould did a great job administering the bidding process and committee. The committee included members who were both very skeptical and very supportive of the private jail management, as well as those in the middle. Regardless, we did what we were asked to do. Give a relative valuation of the two bidders that responded. Ms. Gould was hired before I was sworn into office, and I believe her hiring was a good decision by the commissioners court at that time.
The frustration of dealing with the bidding process which was evident at Thursday’s commissioners court meeting was largely caused by the requirements of state law and the insufficiency of it in balancing transparency with protecting the integrity of the bid. I support encouraging our state legislature to rewrite parts of the law and re-balance it in favor of more transparency.
Ellis County Commissioner
Paul D. Perry,