Court Records Action Under Fire

Action by Sheridan County commissioners to approve a contract to digitize district court records has come under fire from a Sheridan man who maintains the project never went through a bid process, and no local vendors were contacted with regard to the project.

Local Businessman Mark Thoney raised these concerns in a recent email received by Sheridan Media. District Clerk of Court Nickie Arney said there was no formal request for proposal, but she did seek bids for the project.

Arney said she also checked the Internet for local vendors or someone in Wyoming to do the work, and she checked the directory.

Arney said she initially received bids for between $3 and $4 million. She said that's when she narrowed the project to just juvenile and probate records, which still came to around 900,000 documents. Reducing the size of the project led to the bid that she eventually recommended from Christi Rolston, for $257,300. That's the bid that Sheridan County commissioners approved on Nov. 15.

Nadine Gale, owner/operator of AlphaGraphics of Sheridan, said her company was never contacted about the project, and she feels pretty sure her company could have done the job. Gale said before AlphaGraphics, she co-owned Cloud Peak Scanning, a company that did a lot of scanning work for attorneys in Sheridan. She said AlphaGraphics has the scanning equipment that formerly belonged to Cloud Peak.

In an email to Arney, Thoney asked why the digitization project wasn't promoted locally. Arney in an email to him said there was no attempt to hide the project, but her knowledge of computers and the digitizing process is limited. She said she relied on others to help her find local as well as outside vendors.

The contract was awarded to Christi Rolston, who's the daughter of County Commissioner Bob Rolston. Arney said she considers Christi Rolston to be more of a broker in the process. Arney said the company doing the work is Centurion Discovery, and Rolston isn't affiliated with the company. Centurion was one of three companies that Rolston secured bids from on Sheridan County's behalf. Bob Rolston recused himself when the commissioners voted on accepting the winning bid.