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Parks Director Neu Suspended 3 Weeks; Keeps Job

The Bismarck Park Board has voted to suspend Director Steve Neu without pay for a period of 3 weeks, in response to failing to follow proper bidding procedures for the purchase and installation of the biomass heating system at the newly constructed BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center. A letter of reprimand will also be placed in Neu’s file.

A state law requires that bids be sought for all publicly funded projects priced at $25,000 or more, which Neu failed to do for the $600,000+ project. Questions about whether bids had to be sought have been debated since 2008, before the biomass heating system had been installed. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem had, at that time, said that the Aquatic Center was excempt because it was being funded by Streamline Foundation, a private organization; however, since the biomass heating system was funded by the Parks District, it was under the bidding requirement.

Last February, the Park Board had been split in what action to take against Neu for his alleged misstep. The final decision on Neu’s fate had been postponed until Stenehjem made a determination if the state’s bidding law was indeed compromised. Stenehjem announced his opinion yesterday, stating that the bidding law had been violated.

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