To drop back 10 and punt

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Second-term McLennan County Judge Scott Felton runs a tight ship when it comes to control of information, public info requests show

Waco – So, the County Commissioners replaced Dr. Wells as the attending physician at the County Jail after he resigned in a huff over the objections leveled by intern nurses in the local community college training system.

That’s part of the story, but only part; we’ll save the rest for later.

Dr. Hodges of a local medical service, Compleat Physicians, PLLC, “submitted the proposal with the best cost to the County,” according to an announcement. The price: roughly the same as the rate at which Dr. Wells worked – $330,000 annually – for a period of three years.

What’s more, the existing medical staff will be retained under the employ of McLennan County.

Competing proposals varied wildly, but none came anywhere near the status quo of roughly one-third of a million per year, as experienced with Wells, as did the bid of Compleat Medical.

Correctional Medical Care of Blue Bell, PA., turned in a proposal for $1,138,858 per year. Southwest Correctional Medical Group of Monterey, CA., proposed an annual fee of $1,943,645 with a $1.89 per diem charge for each inmate over the population of 880, and the University of Texas Medical Branch of Galveston bid $2,363,524 per year with an additional per diem charge of $0.97 per inmate in a population of more then 900, in addition to a 2% increase over the next year.

The unsuccessful bidders would have replaced existing county employees with their own staff.

One must be very careful what term is used to describe a bid – especially when the bidders are responding to a Request for Qualifications, according to the legal staff.

County Attorney Dustin Chapman corrected a Legendary News Service Public Information Act request for information, saying, The proposals (not bids) were presented to Court yesterday… As to the proposals, much of the information is marked as proprietary.  We will have to contact each proposer to make a determination on what can be released—if we cannot get agreement for release of proprietary parts, we will have to notify providers of their rights and punt it to the AG. Thanks…”

Said his interlocutor: “I understand that once the bids are opened in court, the information is public. If, instead of awarded you intended to say opened, I understand the information is still excepted and the information is considered by requestor as excepted from the request. If that is the case, I am making application for the RFP. If the bids are opened and known, I need the bids.”

One can’t be too careful.

After all, it was just such a pecadillo that led to the medical shakeup to start with. Courthouse Security Sergeant Lionel McGee’s wife reported to him that the young ladies in training at McLennan Community College objected to something or the other Dr. Wells was doing.

He told County Judge Scott Felton, who responded by having his legal staff make a request to the college for just what the ruckus was about, and they turned records of the complaints over. Wells decided to resign his contract. When the Legendary News Service asked for clarification, Mr. Chapman of the legal staff punted the pig skin to the Attorney General’s Office, and they responded by saying none of the information so described is in any way part of the public record.

What in the world were they doing with it?

We of The Legendary News Service are still wondering what Dr. Wells did to the candy straipers, and can only say, “Get well quick.”

So mote it be.

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