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County contract questioned after campaign donation attempt
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The Board of Commissioners will vote on awarding a contact to a company that attempted to contribute to the Chairman’s campaign and hosted a campaign function for another commissioner.

Resurgens Risk Management was selected after the county put its insurance brokerage services out to bid and received eight bid offers.

The one-year contract would award a $60,000 flat fee per year instead of the typical 2-5 percent commission off the gross premiums, or about $100,000 - $250,000 with Rockdale’s gross premiums of about $5 million.

However, Chairman Richard Oden’s June 30 campaign finance report listed a $250 donation from Resurgens Risk Management.

According to county Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon, current insurance broker Tony Wilson of Nuvision also attempted to donate a similar amount. But both checks were returned several days later.

Resurgens also reportedly hosted a June 7 campaign event for Post I Commissioner Oz Nesbitt. No donations from Resurgens were listed on Nesbitt’s March 31 and June 30 campaign finance reports. Messages to Nesbitt were not returned by press time.

Pridgeon said putting the broker services out to bid was part of the Chairman’s efforts to create a more transparent, systemic method of determining county contracts.

Nuvision is coming to the end of its 15 month contract in December but had previously been with the county without a contract for about 25 years.

Upon closer inspection, staff members found some county contracts were indefinite, with only a 60-day advanced notice requirement, Pridgeon said.

Four county staff members evaluated the eight bids – Pridgeon, HR Director Darryl Bowie, Finance Director Roselyn Miller, Assistant HR Director Doris Patterson and Procurement Manager Tina Malone chaired the committee. Malone said last week in the work session that she typically does not perform the evaluations on the bids.

Resurgens Risk Management received the highest average score in the evaluation, 427.5, followed by Wells Fargo Insurance Corp. at 413.75 and Nuvision Financial Corp. at 412.25.

Pridgeon said eventually, the county hoped to do its own insurance brokering. “We hope in the long run we’ll be able to do most of it ourselves” with guidance provided by a consultant.

Critics such as Republican Post I Commission canididate Sam Smiley, who operates the BOC watch website, also pointed out a familial connection with Pridgeon’s son, Gregory Pridgeon, III, who had previously worked at Resurgens as an institutional wealth director.

Pridgeon said his son had quit working there in August 2011 after about two years and that the parting was not the most amicable. The bids from the eight companies came in around January 2012, he said.