Thursday, April 12, 2012
Commissioners for the Midway Fire Department threw out a bids for a new firetruck after companies complained a commissioner had written the specifications to give his company the contract.
Phil D'Angelo, the Midway commissioner, is a salesman for Garrison Fire, which sells trucks made by Rosenbauer America. He wrote the specifications for Midway, and the companies argued the details on how the truck was to be made were so specific that only Rosenbauer would meet the standards.
Faced with the objections, Midway commissioners decided last month against buying the $500,000 truck. D'Angelo recused himself from the vote.
Four companies asked to submit bids said they declined to do so because the specifications were clearly written to cut them out.
Wayne Tyler, owner of Tyler Fire Equipment of Elmira, wrote, "your specifications were written around another manufacturer's product."Tyler added the fire commissioners refused to give the company, which has previously sold trucks to the department, a chance to discuss the issue at a meeting.
"We feel your biased decision and specifications speaks volumes of your intent," Tyler wrote to fire commissioners in January.
Bill Schmitt, one of Midway's commissioners, said the department sent the specifications to Emergency Vehicle Response, an independent firm, to review.
"We did send it out to a third party to make sure it was a competitive spec," he said. "In the past, what was the practice is you go to the dealer, you see something you like, and you order it."
In the past, Midway bought trucks made by Pierce Manufacturing and sold by Tyler Fire Equipment, he said, and one could argue that practice limited competition.
"We thought we were making it as competitive as possible," he said.
Jack Clark, attorney for Midway's board, said a second firm, Crimson Fire Apparatus, submitted a bid. According to minutes of the March 19 meeting, a motion was made, but not seconded, to declare that firm not a responsible bidder.
A subsequent vote to approve giving the contract to Rosenbauer failed 2-1 when three votes are needed for approval.
"There has been no purchase made," Clark said. "The fire district hired an independent consultant whose job was to genericize the specifics so more than one company would bid."
read full story at: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Firetruck-bids-tossed-after-criticism-3473021.php#ixzz1rm1rGoOM