County lacks vendor appeal policy

by Carol Thompson

Despite both written and verbal protests from a vendor, Oswego County awarded a contract to a company for trucks that did not meet bid specifications.

Documents obtained from the county and from Stadium International Trucks of Syracuse, show a trail of complaints from the time of the July bid opening through mid-September.

The Oswego County Legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee awarded a bid to Tracey Road Equipment of East Syracuse at the July 26 meeting in the amount of $81,248. Robert Carson of Stadium had been lodging complaints of unfair bidding practices both verbally and in writing prior to and proceeding the contract award.

According to county Purchasing Director Fred Maxon, there is no appeals process in the purchasing policy.

“We don’t have that in our policy,” he said, adding that he would take something to the committee in November to consider.

Maxon said he will draft an appeal policy after reviewing those of other counties and give it to the county attorney to go over before presenting to the jurisdictional committees.

New York State Office of General Services, the department that handles the contract procurements for the state, has a vendor protest policy that states interested parties may submit a formal dispute in writing and request a ruling within 10 business days of specification release or a contract award.

“The Contracting Officer will consider all information relevant to the dispute, and may, at its discretion, suspend, modify, or cancel the disputed procurement action prior to issuance of a formal dispute decision,” the state guidelines note.

A protester has the right to appeal a decision made by the state and a final determination is issued within 20 business days of receipt of the appeal.

The state’s protest policy does not preclude a vendor’s right to seek and pursue remedies through the judicial process.

The Infrastructure and Facilities Committee rescinded the bid award to Tracey Road Equipment at the Sept. 25 meeting following an executive session without public explanation.

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