Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Did the Jackson City Council admit that Denali offered a lower price?

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood refused to issue an opinion to the Jackson City Council on whether Jackson followed the law in issuing a sludge removal contract.  What is interesting is that the City Council's request apparently states that the partnership of Denali/Socrates Garrett offered a lower bid.  The opinion request states:

In fulfillment of this agreement (EPA consent decree), the City of Jackson advertised a request for proposals for biosolids screening, loading, transportation, and disposal City Project No. 15B050091 pursuant to Section 31-7-13(r) of the Mississippi Code of 1972 as amended.  Only two proposals were received.

(1) A proposal in the amount of $16,965,850 from a joint venture from Denali Water Solution LLC & Socrates Garrett Enterprises, Inc.

(2) A proposal in the amount of $15,540,000 from Synagro-WWT, Inc. and Fisher Construction. 

Based on the price negotiated and the factors used by the evaluation committee to rate the proposals, the Department of Public Works recommended that the governing authorities contract with Denali/SGE for $15,456,100
So it seems the Denali offered a higher bid but had the permits to remove and store the waste in Mississippi while Synergo has no MDEQ permits but will instead transport the sludge to Alabama.  However, some negotiating brought down the price offered by Denali so it had the lowest bid.  The city council twice rejected the bid from Denali.  

The Attorney General opined that he had no opinion as the EPA consent decree is a question of federal law.  The AG only issues opinions on matters of state law.  The AG also said that the city council should consult with the municipal attorney on whether it complied with the consent decree and "procurement of contracts" under the consent decree.



9 comments:

John Dough said...

I'm not sure what the controversy is supposed to be here.... State law requires award to the "lowest and best" bid. That does not automatically mean the low bid. However, I am aware of no authority for negotiating with a bidder, except with the "lowest and best bidder," and then ONLY if the bid exceeds the project budget by 10% or less, and then only if such negotiations result in a contract (for the same work as bid) that is within the project budget. If the bid(s) did not exceed the budget (by 10% or less), I see no authority to negotiate.

The AG, as I understand it, properly refused to issue an opinion on past actions, as the AG always does. That is a matter for the courts, although I presume he could/would issue an opinion strictly on what the City could/should do next.

Anonymous said...

Synagro's best-and-final-offer, with the City paying tipping fees, was $13,603,500. Denali's BOFO, again with the City paying tipping fees, was $15,013,850. That makes Synagro's proposal $1,410,350 cheaper.

Anonymous said...

8:05, don't let your silly little facts get in the way of the KF agenda.

Anonymous said...

John Dough - Well, if they had just solicited bids it would be one thing, but the point of an RFP is that it is supposed to be more qualifications-based, with price one of several criteria considered. It even says that in the minutes excerpt KF posted.

Anonymous said...

Reply to John Dough at 7:53. Section 31-7-13(r) requires advertising for proposals, not bids. Such proposals for solid waste contracts have allowed for negotiation once the proposals have been advertised and received. The language quoted at 7:53 regarding negotiation and 10 percent of the project budget applies to construction bids and does not apply to proposals for solid waste disposal contracts.

John Dough said...

Thanks for that clarification 10:51. Of course that indicates that the city is on even more firm ground to pick the not-low proposal.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor should thank Socrates for his support, but go ahead and propose the contract the council will accept for a vote (which happens in the end to be cheaper also) so that EPA deadlines can be met. We need a change up from the usual suspects anyway.

FrankMickens said...

John Dough
Your analysis of the limitations on negotiations is correct if bidders were proposing on a fixed and well defined scope of work such as construction plans and specs. From my limited understanding this procurement was a request for proposals where the bid was to achieve a result and not a defined scope of work. Each bidder/prosper submitted their respective plan of work. The evaluators looked for holes in the proposed plan of work to be sure that the proposer could achieve a be required results (trust but verify). One might say that even if the proposer had holes in his plan of work take his price and let the chips fall as they may and I he proposed bear the added cost. This attitude may not have been in the best interest of the City of Jackson because of he falling chips may have delayed completion beyond the EPA deadline. Please keep in mind that line the rest of you I have see neither the RFP, the proposal nor the negotiation notes.

Anonymous said...

Alright, I think we have beaten the distinction of competitive bids vs RFP to death at this point. It seems like the more interesting question should be, what is so specialized about hauling shit sludge to a dump that would require going through an RFP process instead of just soliciting bids for the work?

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