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MailTribune.com
  • Medford rejects firm's protest over Adroit contracts

    S&B James, which lost the job by a thin margin, argued there were issues with city scoring committee
  • The Medford City Council on Thursday shot down a protest from contractor S&B James about a nearly $9 million construction job on three fire stations awarded to Adroit Construction of Ashland.
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  • The Medford City Council on Thursday shot down a protest from contractor S&B James about a nearly $9 million construction job on three fire stations awarded to Adroit Construction of Ashland.
    S&B James complained to the council about an array of discrepancies in the award of the big contract to Adroit, but after lengthy, convoluted debate, the council, with no dissent, said the city's scoring committee did a good enough job of assigning the right points to each of the two high bidders and the contract should go forward.
    The $8.96 million contract provides for replacement of Fire Station #2 on West Eighth Street. It will be rebuilt on West Stewart Avenue so it can handle multiple vehicles and crews. Fire Station No. 3, on Highland, will be rebuilt and could be moved further south, away from the roundabout. Fire station No. 4, on Table Rock Road, will be rebuilt with an expanded drive-through bay and larger living quarters and office.
    Lawyers for both firms battled it out for an hour and a half on several issues, including naming of key personnel and their qualifications and the amount of time they would be working on the projects. S&B James lawyer Jerry Shean of Medford also faulted the city for interviewing the firms while missing one member of the scoring committee. He questioned whether that affected the outcome.
    The two firms scored in the mid 80s, with Adroit 2.3 points ahead, a narrow enough margin, said Shean, that the disputed issues could have swung the award to them.
    Councilman John Michaels said he was on the fence about supporting the Adroit award, but the committee "had a tough job. I knew this was going to be a problem going into this ... let's be strict next time."
    Councilman Daniel Bunn echoed the thought, noting, "The process is not perfect." Councilman Chris Corcoran also said he was divided on the issue, adding, "If (the rule) is in writing, we should stick to it."
    Council members tossed around the possibility of remanding the bidding process back to the committee, but decided against it.
    Adroit lawyer Jeremy Vermilyea of Portland told the council, "This process is very transparent. It's as good as it gets. It was done with high integrity and followed statutes. The appropriate result came out of it."
    S&B James had the lowest cost proposal, argued Sheen, a Medford attorney, saying, "This is especially frustrating ... I don't know how you justify it ... You bet it's favoritism.
    "The city needs to re-evaluate it in a consistent manner ... This will diminish competition for contracts, and some contractors will stop bidding," he said.
    City staff members told the council that the $8.96 million price tag was not a guaranteed maximum price, but would be after some negotiations.
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