GeoStar to pay $10,000 back to the county

Firm missed on guarantee

WARREN — GeoStar has agreed to return $10,000 of the $42,000 Trumbull County paid it to find at least $62,000 worth of savings by auditing the county’s spending habits and contracts.

The company’s representatives and Richard Jackson, director of human resources for the county, will be scheduling a meeting soon to go over some new ideas GeoStar wants to present, Jackson said.

The company agreed to return the $10,000 after an exchange of letters in May.

“Well over a year ago the board of commissioners entered into a guaranteed contract with GeoStar Professionals in hopes that significant savings would be realized for the taxpayers of Trumbull County,” states a May 10 letter signed by commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa, Frank Fuda and Dan Polivka. “If the savings were not realized, GeoStar agreed to ‘refund all fees paid by the county.’ GeoStar has failed to provide any savings opportunities acceptable to the county anywhere near the guaranteed savings amount.”

The company was hired in January 2018.

Commissioners were “patient and allowed GeoStar to make good on their guarantee” even after a year passed, states the letter, which requested a response by May 17 or a full refund.

On May 16, Michael Orbovich, president of the company, wrote back.

“Due to several circumstance that were out of our control due to employee turnover at Trumbull County which have been documented as well as communicated to (commissioners), we were not given anything to actually work on even though we made several visits and attempts to collect the necessary documentation needed in order to start the analysis for several months. We did not receive our first bill to analyze until July 31 of the year in question and all we did receive on that was the county’s cellular bill,” the letter states.

The turnover the letter refers to was in the county administrator position — held for four months in 2018 before the position was dissolved and Jackson became the point of contact for the company.

GeoStar did save the county $3,000 on cell- phone bills the letter states, and the county didn’t take other suggestions GeoStar recommended.

The company claims it has made $300,000 worth of recommendations, but the others included ideas that required the county to spend money to save money — like taking on a new telemedicine service or adopting a new virtual payment system. And, the county is under contract for other other services GeoStar recommended switching. The recommendations often require the county to enter new contracts with specific companies GeoStar names. Oborvich said previously the company doesn’t gain anything from those companies if the county takes on contracts with them.

GeoStar in January was given another chance to keep trying new ideas after Fuda suggested the company’s contract be terminated and the full amount refunded.

Jackson said the company is writing the $10,000 check to the county as a measure of good faith and he will schedule a meeting soon to go over new suggestions.

However, Cantalamessa said the company has had ample time to come up with recommendations and today he plans to ask the county prosecutor’s office to look into asking for the full amount to be returned.

It is unclear if GeoStar had access to the contracts and bills it requested in January, but the letter from them does not state they are still waiting for anything. It is unclear how often they met with county officials since the January discussion.

The company requested in May three to four more months to work on suggestions and stated Jackson is a good liaison.

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