The Sandy Springs Tennis Center operation contract is set to remain with Groslimond Tennis Services – but only after the latest in a string of bidding controversies.

The city-owned Tennis Center at 500 Abernathy Road is a large and popular facility. On Dec. 5, the City Council will consider a proposal to award a rebid management contract to Groslimond for a base fee of $6,000 a month.

Groslimond first won the Tennis Center management rights in 2012 for an annual fee of $60,000. At that time, another bidding company complained that the bid evaluations were inaccurate and biased, but the city went ahead with Groslimond following an internal investigation.

Last year, with the contract set to expire, then city parks director Ronnie Young proposed giving Groslimond a three-year, no-bid contract extension with annual reviews, with the company offering a 10 percent fee increase in return. That idea sparked debate among members of the City Council about the virtues of competitive bidding versus experience and stability in a city founded on the idea of outsourcing most government services. Apparently left squeezed for time, the council compromised on a one-year, no-bid extension to give time for a rebidding of the contract.

This year, the city rebid the contract. According to a city staff memo, four companies submitted bids, of which three were invited to formally present and compete. An internal evaluation committee selected Groslimond as the preferred bidder.

However, the memo adds, the bids had to be reevaluated after one of the companies, Universal Tennis Management, sent a letter noting that the city had incorrectly reported its pricing in the evaluation materials. The memo says that the committee stuck with its choice of Groslimond due to the more important technical scoring.

“The Evaluation Committee determined that consistency and quality customer service for the citizens was more important than a slight income differential and kept their recommendation awarding to Groslimond Tennis,” the memo said.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.