BRICK-Despite a drastic cost savings for the township after hiring former contractor Antonio Santos to a full time job with an $80,000 salary plus benefits, Brick resident George Scott said something didn’t sound right about the township’s recent announcement of a cargo van purchase.
“We paid $48,000 for a cargo van, that seems like a lot of money for a cargo van,” Scott said to the council. “So, what are the cost savings? I saw the purchasing agent’s comments, she did the calculation of cost savings, what are the cost savings? 48 grand for a cargo van is just mind boggling.”
“That’s what they go for,” responded Council President Paul Mummolo. “That’s not that outrageous of a price.”
However, a search for Ford vans on the Larsen Ford website, a local Ford dealer show otherwise. Their highest end 2017 Ford Transit Vanwagon had an adjusted sticker price of $42,600. The next lower models were being sold for around $37,000, before haggling.
Over at the local Pine Belt Chevrolet dealer, a fully equipped commercial grade Express 3500 service utility vehicle listed for $46,700.
“Who picked out this $48,000 vehicle?” Scott asked. “Who designated that it had to be this expensive vehicle over another cargo vehicle that would also carry the same amount of material?”
Mummolo said the Santos, the new electrician picked out the vehicle.
“Who did the cost savings on this?” Scott asked.
“This is in our capital budget,” Mummolo responded.
Things got heated as Mummolo dodged the question a second time.
“I don’t care about that, I’m asking you the calculations of cost savings, where are they?” Scott asked again.
Mayor John Ducey then interrupted the exchange, saying that the contractor Bahr & Associates was previously used to outsource electrical work for the township. The mayor chose a new vendor upon the expiration of Bahr’s contract, Antonio Santos.
Ducey said his town’s former electrician would sometimes bill as much as $600-700,000 per year for services.
“We then went out to bid, we awarded it to Santos Electricians, our bills were substantial, they were cut more than in half, to two hundred thousand something for a full year whole year” Ducey said. “Santos decided he wanted to become a township employee, um, and salary with benefits, pension and everything is much less than what his company billed in that year prior.”
Ducey said after the town’s electrical contractor wanted to become a full time employee with benefits and a pension, the township offered him a job with a salary in the $75,000 to $80,000 range. Ducey said the township also had to purchase tools and equipment for Santos, but then backtracked a bit, adding that Santos did bring some of his tools from his now defunct business with him.
“He picked a good one,” Scott joked.
“Great, ya,” Ducey responded.