Following a challenge to the award of a contract for city services, Dunwoody officials have decided to put its parks and public works services out to bid again.
“We made a mistake in our process and this is how we’re going to solve it, by throwing out the bids and starting clean,” said Dunwoody City Manager Warren Hutmacher. “The mistake we made was procedural and not substantive. …. We’re taking the extra step of going out and rebidding it so there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind.”
At its July 25 meeting, Dunwoody City Council voted to approve new contracts for finance and administration, planning and zoning, permits and inspections, information technology and public relations and marketing.
The council voted to defer the contracts for public works and parks and recreation due to the challenge from Lowe Engineers.
Hutmacher said Lowe Engineers was the top-ranked bidder by a small margin based on the point system used by a committee to score the bids. The committee chose to recommend the city award the contract to the No. 2 ranked firm, Clark Patterson Lee, because the firm had been awarded other contracts for city services and would provide a discount if it won multiple bids.
“The reason we did this this way is the RFP [request for proposal] had a technical provision that said the city shall negotiate with the highest ranked bidder,” Hutmacher said. “More from a practical standpoint, it didn’t make sense to have a negotiation with a firm we didn’t plan on recommending.”
Hutmacher said the city will now scrap the current bids for public works and parks and recreation and expects to put a request for proposals out by next week.
Dunwoody outsources government services to different vendors for a fixed fee.
The contracts with private firms that provide some city services will expire in December. Following a formal bid process, a committee of four city staff members and three City Council members appointed by Mayor Ken Wright make recommendations to the council.
Wright said he doesn’t have any concerns about the city rebidding the contracts.
“I think it’s a good decision, a smart decision and a careful decision,” Wright said. “The committee and staff have worked tirelessly to be above board and I think they have. I think we can rebid it and move forward.”