County chooses self-reliance over outsourcing auto parts

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – County commissioners spent nearly an hour this week debating whether they should outsource its vehicle and equipment parts management and supply to NAPA.

“We thought we would for sure” save money by privatizing the work, County Administrator Joe Baird told commissioners.

Facing what could be an increase in cost between $45,000 and $100,000, commissioners chose not to hire NAPA for the job. Fleet Management currently spends approximately $500,000 to operate its department.

NAPA officials argued their case, telling commissioners that the list of prices for parts was skewed and not an “apples to apples” comparison with other parts providers.

The county’s Fleet Management Department has been operating by calling individual, local auto parts dealers to get the best price and quality parts it needs to get vehicles and equipment up and running again, the department’s manager, Mike Owens, told commissioners.

“I have no complaints,” Owens said of the current system.

NAPA representatives told commissioners that they were the only ones to respond to the county’s request for a proposal of taking over the parts management. That proposal, they said, did not address pricing.

The local NAPA storeowner told commissioners that if the issue is price, they could go back and tweaked their prices to match others.

“We’re saving you money everywhere you look,” he said.

Other NAPA representatives told commissioners that county staff did not follow through on meetings and visits as they had promised and did not believe the county had negotiated in good faith.

County Budget Director Jason Brown told commissioners that they have met and discussed the parts list and prices and have been providing NAPA information the company has requested.

He and County Engineer Chris Mora both told commissioners that they had visited NAPA’s facility in Bartow, as promised.

“I have to take exception to that,” Brown said of NAPA officials saying the staff had not visited.

One NAPA representative told commissioners that staff did not arrange the visit with him in tow and that was what he meant when he said they didn’t visit.

Baird took issue with the representatives’ claims and told commissioners that he has even less confidence than before that NAPA would be able to do the job.

Commissioners followed their staff’s recommendation and voted unanimously to maintain the status quo within Fleet Management and not bring on NAPA.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment