Weld County Public Trustee Susie Velasquez will now use the county’s bidding process for her legal advertising, Weld officials confirmed Monday, after a state official ordered her to do so.
Commissioners earlier this month sent Velasquez a letter encouraging her to use either the state or county procurement process after she announced she would reject the three bids she received for legal advertising, which is the publication of foreclosures in the county.
Kevin Patterson, a deputy chief of staff in the Colorado governor’s office who manages and oversees the 10 public trustees appointed by the governor, has been in regular contact with Velasquez and the Weld County attorney since the letter came out, said Eric Brown, spokesman for Gov. John Hickenlooper. Brown said Patterson told Velasquez she must use either the state or county bidding process.
“We will continue to stay engaged,” Brown said in an email.
The Tribune, the Windsor Beacon and the Fort Lupton Press originally bid for the legal advertisements to be printed in their papers, but Velasquez announced she would re-solicit bids with “revised specifications” in mind, telling commissioners in a response letter that the original bids did not meet the ”minimum requirements established by the bidding specifications.”
Velasquez did not answer an email asking what those specifications were.
If Weld commissioners wish to reject a low bid, they must give a reason why. The most common reason is to choose a local vendor instead of a company from out of the county, if the offers are competitive in price and quantity.
Weld County Attorney Bruce Barker said Velasquez told him she would like to use the county’s bidding process. He said she has expressed interest in holding a meeting with the bidders, which is a common practice in the county’s bidding process.
In the county process, Barker said bids go through the purchasing department and ultimately are presented to county commissioners for approval.
He said the county will pick up where Velasquez left off and all publications can rebid on legal advertising. Barker said Velasquez would like to request one solid fee for legal advertisements, no matter their length.
Velasquez said in an email that she has been in contact with both the Weld County attorney and the governor’s office regarding the bidding process.
“I met with the Weld County purchasing department to go over this process and together we will ensure that the process complies with fair bidding standards,” she said in the email.
Brown said the state tells trustees to follow county or state procedures, but each trustee would have to be contacted to determine what process he or she uses.
He said there is oversight of the public trustees through Patterson, although when The Tribune contacted officials with Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs several weeks ago, they were not aware of that oversight.