As I read about the continuing saga of the swing bridge contracts, I can’t help but wonder if the Authority is receiving regular and competent advice from those experienced in the public bidding process. I note the reference to advice solicited from Susan Churuti, who, based on my on-line review, seems competent in this area. While the Authority may have had the right to reject all bids in October if the RFP clearly specified it could do so, several actions and decisions reported in the Boca Beacon (my only current source of information) suggest that the Board is not always obtaining legal advice and/or following it.
- The initial bidding with 75% complete plans apparently went ahead because the Engineering Committee so recommended. That alone is not a reason to do so absent legal input on that decision to protect the Authority if a bidder later protested after all bids were rejected, meaning the Authority and other bidders had a free look at the competition.
- If GLF was permitted to make a later special presentation to the Authority regarding its bid, I believe (and the law may require) that the others should have been given the same opportunity.
- GLF’s initial bid was inconsistent and, thus, I wonder if counsel provided any advice regarding the implications of the discrepancy between the written and CD version.
- That the Board actually “relied” on GLF’s counsel assurance that no other bidder would protest if GLF was awarded the contract is almost a laughable – why would he/she say anything else on behalf of his client trying to secure the job?
I have no doubt that the members of the GIBA are trying to do the best job possible, but acting without competent advice based upon the recommendations of the Executive Director or the Engineering Committee is not fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to the residents, businesses and visitors who, one way or another, will have to pay for the possible litigation, and almost certain delays, resulting from the bidder protests. The Authority should take a step back and get competent legal advice before proceeding.Sam TiltonRochester NY/Sea Oats, Boca Grande (seasonal)
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