Contractor files protest over rejected bid

PRESCOTT - B's Contractors has filed what may be an unprecedented formal protest with the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors after the three-member board threw out the company's low bid on a county construction project Thursday, citing missing information on the bid application.

The project is the County Facilities Office/Warehouse job. B's, a local company, submitted a bid of $1,449,000, which was the lowest. However, the forms sent with the bid included the phrase "available on request" on the Qualification Statement, which includes a financial statement.

District 2 Supervisor Tom Thurman acknowledged that B's might have submitted the form without the information on purpose. "They're all getting scared now about putting out this personal information."

That was precisely what B's had in mind, as the information would become public if submitted. "We don't like to put out financials - there's some information people don't need to see," said Brian Bombardieri of B's Contractors.

Jim Holst, county capital improvements coordinator, said that such information was needed to make decisions on whether a company was financially able to handle a job, and pointed out that other contenders for the job had supplied it.

The supervisors decided that the omission made the bid ineligible for consideration.

Bombardieri said the company had made past submissions in the same way and didn't understand why the board called this one incomplete.

"We have done it this way for 20 years. We remodeled the Camp Verde Justice Center and filled it out exactly the same way," he said. "Those three board members awarded us that contract."

District 1 Supervisor and Board Chair Carol Springer said, "We may have done that, but I will tell you the reason is that it was not brought to our attention before." She said staff prepares the bid presentations to the board, and if they do not tell the members about missing elements, the board does not know.

The protest, filed by B's Construction's attorney, presents a new situation for the Board of Supervisors, which, as far as anyone seems to know, has never had a bid decision contested before.

"We don't have a formal protest policy," said Dave Hunt, legal counsel for the board. "They would like us to review and, hopefully, reconsider the decision the board has made."

And if the board does not reconsider or again decides against B's? Bombardieri said he isn't sure what he will do. "At this point, it is hard to say," he said. Legal action might be next, but "I would hope not."

"A lot of contractors are up in arms," he said. "We just want some answers."

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