A public records request by Tallahassee Reports has resulted in documents that indicates that a high level city official provided the City Commission with incorrect information about the bid process used to select the vendor to pave roads in the Capital city.
At the November 12th, 2014 City Commission meeting, the City Commissioners were discussing a dispute that had arisen about the staff recommendation to award a $5 million asphalt paving contract.
The dispute involved extremely low bids provided by one of the vendors for a service called “spot milling”. Commission policy states that unbalanced bids, either high or low, can be thrown out of the process. However, in this case, the vendor with the low bid for spot milling was recommended by the City staff.
During the discussion, there were questions about the process and the effectiveness of bidding on services, such as spot milling, that are rarely used.
Previously, the contract was awarded on the basis of bids for services most often requested. However, this time city staff required that vendors bid on 30 service items.
Gabe Menendez, Director of Public Works, informed the City Commissioners that “the quantities that you see in this contract are examples of what we have spent in the past…those quantities are based on actual usage.”
See video below from meeting.
The City asked the vendors to bid on 3,000 square yards of spot milling per year in the most recent bid package.
However, a public records request by TR revealed that over the last two years, the City has actually requested 314 square yards of spot milling which equates to an average of 157 square yards of spot milling per year.
The amount of spot milling requested in the bid package is approximately 20 times the amount requested and paid for by the city over the last two years.
Why the discrepancy and what is the impact?
In an interview with TR, Mr. Menendez said that the information given to the City Commission was “not entirely correct.”
With regards to the spot milling quantities, Mr. Menendez said the quantities were derived from “estimates of future use and historical usage.”
As far as the impact, if the quantities for the spot milling had been consistent with what had been actually requested over the last two years, a different vendor would have had a lower price for the three year contract.