Carbon County should see a savings on maintenance of essential equipment at the 911 Communications Center.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board opened bids for basic infrastructure, phone, radio and tower site services; as well as maintenance. The apparent low bidder was TuWay Communications of Bethlehem, the current maintenance provider, with a three-year contract totaling $341,514 $102,078 for year one; and $119,718 for years two and three.

Other bids received were from Radio Maintenance Inc. of Reading, who submitted a three-year total bid of $362,482.99 $117,658.72 for year one, $120,011.90 for year two, and $124,812.37 for year three.

Prior to voting to turn the bids over to Gary Williams, director at the 911 Communications Center, for review and recommendation in two weeks, Commissioner William O'Gurek, voiced his concern over the low bid.

"That's the same company that we asked two months ago to reduce our monthly fee because we put $192,000 into the communication center and their answer was 'no, we're not going to get a reduction," he said, noting that TuWay is currently charging the county over $12,000 a month or nearly $147,000 a year for maintenance services. "Now we get these bids at $102,000 and I look back at what happened to us, when the tree of us asked for some type of help from this company because we sank almost $200,000 into the place. It offers some suspicion."

O'Gurek added that the county was told by TuWay that its equipment at the 911 Communications Center was outdated so officials completed a project, upgrading all equipment.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said that he thinks the original "no" from the company was because they new the county needed service and they had that service so they were able to set their own prices. Now with competition, the company must adjust those prices accordingly.

Robert Crampsie, county controller, said he commended the board for making the decision to put this out for bid because it now created competition and the county was getting a better price.

In other matters, Carbon County has settled a lawsuit that alleged officials were responsible for the welfare of a former inmate that claimed he was assaulted while incarcerated.

The board voted unanimously to ratify a settlement agreement between the county, prison and former Warden James Youngkin, and Leonard Cerami of Greensburg relative to a civil action that commenced on Nov. 1, 2010. The county agreed to pay Cerami $3,000.

According to the lawsuit, filed with the county prothonotary, on Nov 1, 2010, Cerami alleged that on May 28, 2008, another inmate assaulted him, stabbing him in the face and right bicep areas; as well as struck him in the face.

Cerami stated that he reported the attack to prison personnel, but did not receive treatment immediately, causing him to bleed throughout the night.

The following day, the lawsuit states, the plaintiff was taken to St. Luke's Hospital, Coaldale, where he was told too much time had elapsed to stitch his wounds.

The lawsuit states, "As a result of the attack, the plaintiff had large, conspicuous and permanent scarring to the right side of his face and his right bicep."

O'Gurek said that the county denied all claims in the suit to be accurate, but defending the case would cost more than the settlement.