1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    25 NW of the GW

    Post ETHICS-Apparatus purchase

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Sunbelt Fire Apparatus violated state
    law by providing travel and lodging to representatives from the
    Houma Fire Department during contract negotiations for a fire
    truck, the Louisiana Board of Ethics has ruled.
    The board voted Tuesday to fine the Alabama-based company
    $1,000, of which half was suspended.
    "There is only one conclusion: There were two individuals in
    responsible positions with the Houma Fire Department. ... They got
    two quotes on fire trucks, and fours days later they traveled to
    Florida to be entertained and view the manufacturing plant. They
    then purchased one truck," ethics board director Gray Sexton told
    the board.
    C. Berwick Duval II, a Houma attorney representing Sunbelt, was
    unsure whether the ruling would be appealed in court.
    "We're talking about two tickets on Southwest Airlines. They
    didn't fly on a corporate jet or first-class. Southwest doesn't
    even have first-class. And the meals were Cracker Barrel and
    Outback. Nothing extravagant about it," Duval said.
    Sexton said the meals were not considered in the final decision,
    only the plane tickets, which cost $266 each, and the lodging at a
    condominium owned by Sunbelt.
    Records show that the two firefighters in question Chief Brian
    Hebert and former Capt. Paul Breaux were in Tampa, Fla., for less
    than 24 hours, most of which was spent at the manufacturing plant
    investigating equipment and being educated on the truck.
    Hebert and Breaux have already paid $250 fines each from an
    earlier agreement reached with the ethics officials.
    Board member Henry C. Ferret Jr. said the law is too vague.
    "By law, they can go wine and dine themselves for personal
    pleasure, at up to $1,000, as long as long as it's within a 50-mile
    radius, and that's OK. But if they go to Florida, it's not. I have
    a problem with that," he said.
    Sexton argued that in the end the trip was unnecessary.
    Since the bids were accepted under the state public bid law
    under which the lowest sealed bid is normally approved a trip to a
    manufacturing plant could not have swayed the outcome of a decision
    to buy a fire truck, Sexton said.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Richmond, VA


    I am not saying anybody was in the right here, but...

    In this day and age where there are people who get bilked out of their life savings, taxpayers get bent daily, and some big-biz CEO/CFO's have their own rule books...

    Enron, Worldcom, and Sunbelt Fire Apparatus? Oh yea, let's throw Martha in there too!

    I'll rest easier now knowing that Sunbelt Fire Apparatus has paid their just dues!

    "Well done is better than well said" - B. Franklin

  3. #3
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002


    When you read posts like this you always wonder was this posted by the losing bidder? So if you can't get even during the sealed bid you try to defame the other guy on the internet.

    A $250 fine, yes 250 bucks is all, must not be too big a deal. Their bid was not thrown out. No action was taken against the FD officials. So, maybe in that state, that is the cost of doing business within the law.

    You get the government you deserve.

    Here is a better example:

    Ethics Board says no to purchase
    NYT Regional Newspapers
    January 11, 2002
    Email this story.

    A local fire district cannot purchase equipment from a local company at which three of its department’s volunteer firefighters and its chief are employed, according to a recent Louisiana Board of Ethics advisory opinion.

    At its January meeting, members of the Board of Ethics concluded neither the Lafourche Fire District No. 1 nor its Volunteer Fire Department can purchase fire equipment from 5 Alarm Fire Appartus Inc., a local company at which the department’s chief, Glynn Comeaux, and three other volunteer firefighters work.

    Comeaux said his request for an advisory opinion came about after the department received a $47,181 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency late last year.

    As part of the Assistance to Firefighters Program, FEMA, through its U.S. Fire Administration, created and administered the grant program, which awarded 1,855 grants to fire departments and 31 grants to fire-service organizations around the country, totaling $96.6 million.

    The department was one of 25 Louisiana fire departments – and the only area department – to receive grant funding.

    "We applied for it and got it," said Comeaux of the funding to purchase new fire equipment. "Normally, the fire department doesn’t buy equipment. The district does, and we had a question as to whether the company I (and other volunteer firefighters) work for could even bid on this."

    Members of the Board of Ethics determined that the company could not.

    The Code of Governmental Ethics "prohibits a public servant from receiving compensation for services rendered to or for a person that has a contractual, business or financial relationship with the public servant’s agency or a person who has a substantial economic interest that may be affected by the performance or nonperformance of the public employee’s official duties," the advisory opinion reads.

    Should the company do business with either the district or the department, the fire chief and other firefighters would be prohibited from working there, the opinion continues.

    The Fire Department applied for the grant to purchase equipment for its fire truck – such as hoses, nozzles, axes and other items – to better the district’s fire rating and lower insurance premiums in the district, said Comeaux.

    The request for an advisory opinion on the matter was to ensure the department was handling the grant funding correctly.

    "We just wanted to make sure that if we got the federal money, we would use it in the right way, which we’re going to do," said Comeaux.

    Before the opinion was handed down, the department had already placed an order for the fire equipment with another company, Comeaux said.

    In other business, members of the Board of Ethics concluded that 23rd Judicial District Anthony "Tony" Falterman can use campaign funds to purchase an antique vehicle to be used for parades and other appearances.

    The Campaign Finance Disclosure Act, according to an Ethics Board opinion, says "campaign contributions shall not be used for any personal use unrelated to a campaign or the holding of public office."

    Purchasing such a vehicle for the purposes Falterman described would not violate that act, according to the decision.

  4. #4
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2002


    Getting sealed bids on fire trucks is almost a smoke and mirrors type thing. There is no way that you can specify a detailed list of equipment, options, etc. that all manufacturers and vendors can meet due to the fact that each produces something that is "a little different (or according to them) better" than their competitors. What we do is visit each manufacturer and see what they have available that will meet our requirements. Then we compare prices only after carefully reviewing performance reports, reliability reports and complaint/compliments reports obtained from departments actually using that type of equipment. If you do go the sealed bid way, the spec sheet can be skewed to lead the bidding to a preferred manufacturer.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Flanders, NJ


    When you read posts like this you always wonder was this posted by the losing bidder? So if you can't get even during the sealed bid you try to defame the other guy on the internet.
    If you had taken the time to do a little homework, you wold have seen that A16 posts numerous wire service articles on these boards every day. he has been responsible for stimulating some interesting discussion and bringing up some darn good info.

    Your brand new here, so I understand. But I think you owe A16 an apology.

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