The hospital’s board of directors agreed to purchase the beds at its December 19 meeting. Money used to purchase the beds came from a donation provided to the hospital by the late Jean Ricks. Her donation came with the stipulation that the hospital uses the money to purchase equipment.
The Cadiz Record asked Kentucky Press Association Attorney Jason Nutzman to research the legality of the purchase. His efforts yielded the Opinion of the Office of the Attorney General OAG63 1098. The 1963 opinion prepared by then Attorney General John B. Breckinridge concludes “The statutory requirement for competitive bidding in the lettering of public contracts is mandatory and non-observance will render the contract void.”
Between 1963 and 2008, the Kentucky Legislature increased the threshold mandating bids from $1,000 to $20,000.
While considering the purchase of the beds in December 2007, the hospital received a second quote from Hill-Rom Hospital Equipment for $123,452.
Nutzman said that when the competitive bidding process was impractical, publicly funded entities such as the hospital should obtain at least three competitive quotes, according to statue. The Chief Purchasing Officer of the entity must provide an explanation in writing as to why bid solicitation proved impractical to the purchase.
The Cadiz Record asked Hospital CEO Alisa Coleman to explain the purchase and why KRS 424.260 was not observed.
Coleman said in a January 14 email that the KRS in question did not apply to the hospital and called the OAG out of date. “OAG 63-1098 is a 45-year old Attorney General opinion that does not reflect the realities of operating a modern hospital or the relationships Trigg County Hospital has in place.”
Read more about the purchase and the law inside your Cadiz Record.