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.