Gov. Riley fighting mad over lawsuit

Posted by: Eileen Jones - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Bob Riley is fighting mad, vowing to take on State Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) in court. Holmes is suing to stop a $13 million dollar no bid computer contract approved by the Governor. Friday, the Governor didn't mince words describing his displeasure.

"Before you buy it bid it." That's been the Governor's motto for the past seven years. That's why he says the lawsuit that State Representative Alvin Holmes has filed is shocking.  "This is absolutely ridiculous, absurd. It's beyond absurd."

The Governor explained that it's state employees in purchasing, accounting and personnel who decide if a contract needs to be bid or not. The committee decided Paragon did not because it was the only company that could do the work.  "They're in a lot better position to make that judgement than Alvin Holmes is," said the Governor.

The Governor also says it's the Director of Purchasing who makes the recommendation to the Finance Department and the Finance Department to him. "We're into the silly season of elections," he added.

The Governor explained that Paragon Source, a computer consulting company, has a sole service contract because the head of the company helped set up the state's computers 20 years ago, and because Alabama's computer system is like no other she's the only one qualified. "I don't know what went on in some of the other administrations but I've got a pretty good idea. I think I can say without any fear of contradiction there has never been a corrupt contract that went out of here that anyone in this room knew about. That's something we're really proud of."

But, the Governor and the company's attorney, Spud Seale, say there are human beings who are being hurt here. Seale said "And, her company has been hurt - and hurt when she has not done one thing wrong except try to do her very best. And every person in the state recipient of those services acknowledges that."

Because Paragon's attorney said the owner of the company has been hurt, he was asked if she is going to honor the contract and complete the computer consulting work. His answer was yes, but there's another problem. The state still has to find the money to do it.

State Representative Alvin Holmes says Governor Riley needs to quit misleading the people of Alabama. He says the Governor has one foot on a banana peel and the other in retirement and doesn't want to leave a bad mark on his administration.

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