Claremore Daily Progress

November 20, 2012

Thacker takes exception to recent editorial

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The Rogers County Commissioners meeting Monday started with fireworks as Commissioner Kirt Thacker read a very pointed statement regarding a recent editorial published in the Claremore Progress.

The item was not listed on the agenda and Thacker moved forward during the “announcements” to make his statement.
Thacker personally attacked Editor Randy Cowling during the public meeting, regarding the statements made in reflection of the recent decision by District 13 District Attorney’s office not to prosecute Thacker or Commissioner Mike Helm for alleged bid splitting in 2009 contracts with Time Striping.
In Thacker’s speech he referenced a conflict in information regarding the timing of Assistant David Iski’s employment with District Attorney Janice Steidley. 
Cowling had written that Iski advised Thacker and Helm on the 2009 issue. However, Iski was not employed at that time with Steidley. The Progress published a correction in its Sunday edition.
However, the commissioners did business with Time Striping as recently as June 2012 after the issue with the bidding had been resolved.
Thacker and Helm spent approximately $28,000 in 2011 and $45,000 with the company in 2012, using the correct bidding procedures.
Iski did not advise the commissioners on the four invoices that were investigated, but did offer advice during the time period of conducting business with the company between 2011 and June 2012.
 Iski also provided advice on a number of similar issues, including a purchase with Maxwell Supply and Canserv. Both of which Helm exceeded the statutory bid limits. Helm attempted to correct the problem with Maxwell earlier this year by returning a portion of the purchases product to bring the total below the $10,000 bid limit.
Iski provided a legal opinion on this issue with Maxwell in which he acknowledges that Helm did not follow the statutory bidding procedures. 
The District Attorney’s office took no action on the issue after the issuance of Iski’s opinion.  Thacker was clear to note that his opinion was simply his and not a reflection on the board.