Contractors protest Medford plan to pick high bid for police project

Three prominent contractors have protested a recommendation by Medford officials to accept the most expensive bid to remodel the police evidence locker that houses everything from drugs to guns.

Batzer Construction, Vitus Construction and the Ausland Group sent the city letters charging the process wasn't fair and officials ignored the public's best interests in choosing Adroit's bid of $474,000.

Vitus' bid is $424,300, Ausland's is $441,777 and Batzer's is $459,420.

"What possible reason could there be in a contract as straightforward as this one to charge the taxpayers of this city the additional amount..." wrote Richard Stark, a Medford attorney representing Vitus Construction. "The tentative award of bid to Adroit Construction simply is not fair."

Stark stated that the construction firms bidding on the project are respected and successful enterprises that have operated in Southern Oregon for decades.

The City Council Thursday will consider whether to accept Adroit's bid, which was reviewed by a committee that rated the qualifications of each contracting firm. The committee was made up of deputy police chief Randy Sparacino, building safety director Chris Reising, maintenance supervisor Greg McKown and police Lt. Scott Clauson.

The committee rated the proposals on qualifications such as key personnel, track record, approach to the project and rates and expenses. Overall approach to the project received the most points followed by qualifications of key personnel, then rates and expenses and history.

Adroit came out on top in the scoring because it received the most points for qualifications, approach and track record, even though came in last on rates and expenses.

The city is claiming an exemption from the competitive bidding process because it wants to have the contractor design and build the additional space for the evidence locker.

The city explained in a legal notice published in the Mail Tribune that the project was "to be awarded to the respondent who proposes the most beneficial proposal to the public and the city of Medford."

The contractors who sent letters to the city each had slightly different reasons for protesting awarding Adroit with the bid.

City attorney John Huttl responded to each of the protests in a document that will be reviewed by the City Council Thursday.

Huttl said the city chose to exempt the project from the competitive bidding process because a design-build project would save the city staff time and could result in an overall cost savings for the project by having one contractor.

— Damian Mann

Read more in Wednesday's Mail Tribune.

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