‘Low bidder loses out to county workforce’

Victor Joecks

Just another example of government efficiency at work.

In what one Clark County commissioner called a classic example of the sometimes ridiculous way government operates, the county solicited bids for a project only to decide Tuesday to do the work in-house at a higher cost.

But the part that really threw Commissioner Steve Sisolak – the only commissioner who voted against doing the work in-house – and the bidders was the admission by Richard Mendes, Clark County Water Reclamation District general manager, that he intended to contract for manhole inspections only if the bids were way below in-house costs. He said he sought the bids to establish a baseline cost.

Mendes contended that because government expenses rise more slowly than private sector expenses, it would cost the district less in the long term to do the work itself.

Sisolak, a businessman, scoffed at that. “This is the first time I’ve heard someone make the argument that we can control our costs better than outside companies,” he said…

The district will need to buy the equipment and plans to promote two people to do the inspections, leaving two entry-level positions to be filled.

Hoffman Southwest Corp. submitted the lowest eligible bid to do the first wave of inspections – $394,835, or $216 per manhole.

Mendes said the county’s in-house cost is $238 per manhole.

No wonder Nevada’s city and county officials recently gathered at a Local Government Summit to try and figure out how to make it easier to raise your taxes. If you’re trying to support waste like this, you can never have enough (of someone else’s money).