Petition against city gets new complaint

A government watchdog group on Wednesday added a new complaint against Augusta's procurement department.

The most recent allegation is that the city requested bids for playground equipment that was specifically certified for safety inspection, but the city bought equipment that was not inspected for safety.

The new allegation was added to the Richmond County Superior Court petition filed by the Association for Fair Government and community activist Woody Merry against the city of Augusta.

The city filed its answers to the rest of the petition Monday, countering that the petition is fruitless and lacking in any merit.

The initial petition was filed as a mandamus, a civil action seeking a judge's ruling that a government must perform a duty it is charged with.

The complaint filed by attorney Robert Mullins alleges taxpayer money is being wasted through Augusta's procurement department.

Wednesday's additional complaint seeks a judge's ruling that yet another contract should be voided for unfair trade practices.

Last month the city commission approved a $16,858 contract with ATD America Co. for playground equipment. The company's bid stated the equipment is not certified by the International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association.

In Monday's response to the petition, city attorneys said the city awards contracts legally and properly. For example, according to the city's answer, how a bidder scores on an evaluation sheet is not the only reason for awarding a contract.

The case is assigned to Judge Michael N. Annis. A hearing is set for Friday morning.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.