LeDuff: Ficano pal could get no bid contract

LeDuff: Ficano pal could get no bid contract

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Fred Berry could be awarded a no bid contract if the Wayne County Board of Commissioners approves. Fred Berry could be awarded a no bid contract if the Wayne County Board of Commissioners approves.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Sleek styling, plush leather and eight track stereophonic sound -- being chauffeured around in a Cadillac might be cool for the mayor of Las Vegas, but not the CEO of the most broke county in Michigan.  But there he goes again, Wayne County's top dog Bob Ficano trying to sneak one of his three chauffeurs on the payroll.

Look at it this way.  We laid off 26 prosecutors because we don't have enough money.  The county is $150 million in the hole.  The pension is only half funded.  The jail is over budget.  But Ficano never wants for a ride.

We told you last year he was paying his old pal Fred Berry out of Homeland Security to drive him around, plus Barry's pension, plus the cars cost you the taxpayer nearly $200,000 a year.  The president of the United States doesn't pay his drivers that much.

However, instead of cutting back like he promised on his appointees or his chauffeurs, Ficano is trying to get his old pal Berry paid from the Department of Children and Family Services.  Ficano says Berry will drive him around just three days a month plus get the oil changed, but most of the time he'll be supervising adults picking up garbage on the side of the highway.  Seriously.

How do I get a job like that?  $55,000 for nine months work on a no bid contract.

"In all good conscience can't give any money to people who are not necessary to do the work," said Ilona Varga, chairwoman of the Wayne County Public Safety Commission.

"So we're hiring chauffeurs and laying off prosecutors?" I asked her.

"That's the reality right now," she replied.

The full board of county commissioners is expected to vote on the contract this Thursday.

UPDATE: Fred Berry is no longer requesting the contract as of March 20.

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