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Commissioners' decision lands county in court

In common pleas court today, TP Mechanical Contractors Incorporated tried to prove that county commissioners abused their discretion by rejecting the non-union company's bid of 4.3 million dollars, and instead giving it to an out of state union company.

Nick Soulas is representing the county in the lawsuit. Soulas says the commissioners were just following rules which prevent the county from hiring a company that exceeded a certain number of safety violations. Soulas says TP Mechanical fell into that group.

"They simply don't meet our quality contractor standards that have been in place since 2002," he said.

The commissioners cited concerns over safety violations and prevailing wage law violations as reasons why they chose to award the bid to Pennsylvania-based W.G. Tomko but lawyers for tp mechanical said today most of the violations were minor and promptly resolved. The county's director of public facilities Richard Meyers testified he had no "prerogative to decide between minor and major violations."

TP lawyers tried to show at least one commissioner wanted to know if the violations were deliberate. They presented records from January 8th's board meeting where Mary Jo Kilroy said the commission should look to see if the violations were "willful".

Both parties are still in court and a ruling is not likely until monday of next week.