GEO extension understood, but uncertainty a flaw

The Lycoming County Commissioners have an agreement with GEO Group to continue executing a reentry services program. Sort of.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to extend the agreement with GEO to operate a re-entry services program, choosing the organization over Firetree Limited, which also was contending for the contract.

The commissioners approved GEO, but chose to later negotiate a contract with the vendor. We would be a lot happier if the terms of the agreement were known before GEO.

That said, a committee was designated to grade the proposals of the two groups. GEO graded out at 175, and Firetree’s grade was 112.

That is a pretty large difference. If the commissioners were to overlook it, we would be asking why they asked for a professional evaluation in the first place.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said the grading committee had pre-conceived notions about GEO and was influenced by his supposed connections with Firetree Limited.

It’s pretty hard to prove pre-conceived notions. On the other hand, the reentry services arrangement with GEO has brought down the prison population in Lycoming County.

The county used to spend a ton of taxpayer dollars on transfers of inmates to other counties.

Now it is making money housing federal inmates.

The pertinent question would be whether GEO is doing that with smoke and mirrors or properly executing the program they were contracted to execute.

The grading committee evidently answered in the affirmative on that issue.

We would have preferred to know all the terms of the contract when the commissioners voted to extend the contract with GEO and hope the bargained agreement will not leave us and county residents/taxpayers regretful.

But based on the information at hand, it’s hard to argue against the commissioners’ opting for GEO to continue providing reentry services.