Contractor Questions CTC Process

WINNSBORO – Although County Council’s Administration and Finance (A&F) Committee voted for the second time on Sept. 14 to recommend to full Council the selection of I.C.E. (Infrastructure Consulting & Engineering) as the engineering consultant for County Transportation Committee (CTC) dirt road projects, the man who caused the County to re-do the selection process claims it may have to been done yet again.

In a Sept. 17 letter to Interim County Administrator Milton Pope, Dan Dennis of the Dennis Corp., claims that one of the members of the selection committee, which ultimately made the recommendation to the A&F Committee, made a motion to award engineering work to I.C.E. at a Sept. 10 CTC meeting. That work, according to minutes from the meeting included with Dennis’s letter, was openly solicited by an I.C.E. engineer, was not advertised and included in the solicitation discussion of price – all of which violate state procurement codes, Dennis claims.

The Dennis Corp. was one of three finalists for the consulting contract recommended to the A&F Committee on Sept. 14.

The work solicited by the I.C.E. engineer, according to the minutes, was for projects to be paid for with more than $3 million in one-time, nonrecurring state funds, and is not related to the County’s dirt road paving projects.

While phone calls to S.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) officials were not returned to The Voice at press time, a DOT spokesperson said Tuesday that the process for solicitations for the one-time state money should be handled the same as any other solicitation – a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) should be advertised, a firm should be selected based on qualifications and a price should only be discussed after the firm has been selected.

According to the minutes included in Dennis’s letter, the I.C.E. engineer proposed that his company would “do the engineering and inspection on this project for the 7 percent fee that SCDOT would charge to do the work.”

“I don’t know if there are any red flags here,” the DOT spokesperson told The Voice Monday, “but we are looking into it.”

County Council Chairwoman Carolyn Robinson and District 6 Councilwoman Mary Lynn Kinley, both members of the A&F Committee, were in the audience at the Sept. 19 CTC meeting, and Dennis in his letter said they should have recused themselves from the Sept. 14 vote to recommend I.C.E. to the full Council.

“The vote from the Administration and Finance Committee was based on numbers given to us (by the selection committee),” Robinson said. “They had already met and put that together. They had already worked through that before the Sept. 10 CTC meeting. I did nothing wrong. The CTC’s decisions are not my responsibility.”

Efforts to reach David Williams, Chairman of the CTC, were also unsuccessful at press time.

County Council is expected to take up the recommendation from the A&F Committee Monday. If they vote to accept that recommendation, Dennis states in his letter that he “will have no choice but to file a formal protest with Fairfield County, SCDOT and the South Carolina Office of Inspector General.”

“We do not have a responsibility to Dan Dennis,” Pope said Tuesday. “We do not have a responsibility to I.C.E. But we do have a responsibility to accept a recommendation made in good faith. The only thing I care about is everyone having an equitable opportunity to solicit for work in the county.”


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