KINGSTON, PA – Luzerne County officials have discovered another purchase that should be bid out — routine maintenance of the county transportation department vans. Pompey Dodge in Kingston has been handling most of the routine maintenance since the 1970s, without a bid, said county Chief Clerk/Manager Doug Pape, according to

Pompey Dodge was paid about $144,000 in 2006 for maintenance, including oil changes, inspections, battery, and brake repairs. He did not have a 2007 figure available. The county’s purchasing policy requires bids for purchases that exceed $7,500 — a mandate that is tougher than the state bidding law threshold of $10,000.

Pape said he and other county officials had already been looking at the possibility of bidding out the work before the county’s recent discovery of piecemealing at the county prison. The maintenance work will be bid out before the department’s next fiscal year, which starts Jul. 1. Pape is not sure if the county will seek bids or requests for proposals for the maintenance. Either way, the county would have to set several bid selection conditions, such as proximity to the transportation department’s main garage in Forty Fort. Pompey is in Kingston.

The county might end up choosing multiple companies that bid the lowest on specific services, such as oil changes. Pompey also gives the county a reduced rate for parts because the county has been a customer for so many years.

Eventually, Pape wants to explore the possibility of rolling the entire county vehicle fleet into the bidding or proposals request package to get a better rate. However, that might not be ready for Jul. 1 because the county is in the process of implementing software that tracks oil changes and other maintenance information about county vehicles. Also, the maintenance of road and bridge department vehicles is handled by that department’s in-house maintenance workers, according to

Pompey Dodge originally received the transportation department work because the county had purchased 15 Dodge passenger vans when the department was set up after the 1972 flood, Pape said. The department now has 53 vans, ranging from those that hold eight passengers up to 16-passenger vehicles.