More of the Same?

I must start by thanking The Voice for making us all aware of the recent problematic $35,000 Detention Center roof bid that was not put out as a competitive bid.

The purpose for my writing to the editor and citizens of Fairfield County is to highlight the unacceptable actions, spending and manipulation of what is supposed to be a “Procurement Process.” Our interim administrator has touted a new Procurement Process intended to avoid the pitfalls that happened with over 8 million in taxpayer dollars going to one vendor with little or no oversight or accountability, let alone a quality job.

Our county administration put out a request for proposal (RFP) which was three sentences long for a repair or replacement of the roof on the above mentioned Detention Center. That RFP was in my opinion one of the most unprofessional Requests for Proposal to ever come out of a government office. No letterhead, not signed, vague in request and worst of all, was issued by email to one handpicked vendor and by phone call to two other vendors, one of which appears to not even be on the approved vendor list. The bids were issued on three different dates ranging from Jan. 2 to Jan. 16.

Why was this project not put out for competitive bid according to the procurement process that is in place? It was budgeted for well over the requirement for a competitive bid. Why and how were the three vendors selected?

The RFP was, basically, for an assessment of the roof project and how much it would cost to fix it. The highest bid with the least descriptive scope of work for that assessment was $20,000. Another company bid $3,725 for the assessment and also included extensive testing plus an estimated price for the roofing job. A third bidder, for $17,375, would not only assess the project, but also provide engineer drawings and assist in the bid process, which were not included in the $20,000 bid. What is our county doing by not following its own processes? The accepted bid had vague language and not much other substance nor detail regarding what the county would receive for its money. Are we headed into another money pit?

My concerns are that we have already paid this winning vendor $74,816.50 to assess projects previously done by S2. The resulting report, with 17 assumptions, appeared to be not as thorough as we should have expected for our money. It’s time we get our bid process together in this county so that it is fair and transparent for all.

Beth Jenkins



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