Macomb Township deviates from procurement policy to settle ambulance bidding process – Macomb Daily
A medical emergency caused the Macomb Township Board to deviate from its purchasing policy and relaunch its tendering process for ambulance services.
The motion, moved by Treasurer Leon Drolet and seconded by Trustee Nancy Nevers at the regular board meeting on December 21, passed by a 4-3 vote, with Trustees Frank Cusumano and Peter J. Lucido III voting no. as well as the clerk. Kristi Pozzi.
The discussion about the deviation from the purchasing policy arose from an unusual circumstance. Macomb Township Purchasing Specialist Janet Solomon said the township’s current ambulance services agreement with Medstar expired in July 2021. She said the company continued to provide ambulance services. ambulance in the township on a monthly basis.
“On November 23 of this year, a request for proposals was issued to enter into a five-year agreement with an ambulance service provider,” Solomon said. “The deadline for receipt of offers at the Clerk’s office was December 15, 2021. An offer from Universal-Macomb Ambulance Service Inc. was received at the Clerk’s office before the due date and time. An opening of the folds was carried out in town hall immediately after the due date of the folds. Approximately 15 minutes prior to bid opening, Medstar contacted the Clerk’s Office to advise that the person providing the Medstar bid response had a roadside medical emergency and was awaiting ambulance transport to hospital. .
Medstar’s offer was delivered to the clerk’s office at 12:51 p.m. on Dec. 15, according to Solomon.
“Based on the situation, the supervisor’s office has requested a procurement policy waiver to allow the township to run the bidding process with both bidders or multiple bidders,” Solomon said. “Keeping the intent of the purchase policy intact, the Clerk’s Office is requesting a board discussion and vote to consider a waiver due to unusual circumstances.”
Solomon said that to his knowledge no one in the township had reviewed the contents of any of the offers. However, she recommended that the township follow the purchasing policy as written and reject the late offer, only moving forward with the offer received on time. Solomon described the risk as a misperception of bidders. Solomon also said that if his recommendation were adopted by the board, the process would be carried out the same regardless of the number of offers received, including the use of a selection committee.
“It’s a risk, to not comply with the policy and are there ulterior motives. It’s always a risk. But beyond that, you know, it’s not a , it is not a service that we are generally billed or billed for, it is generally, at least under our current agreement, debt service is provided to the township for zero dollars to the township, for the costs of the township , and all revenue generated is generated through insurance company billing,” Solomon said.
Tim Tomlinson, the township attorney, was also asked to weigh in on any potential risk to the township.
“Ms. Solomon has always done very well in her bidding documents and specifications. She clearly reserves the right for this body to reject all bids, or waive any formality or anything of that nature. nature,” Tomlinson said. “And I think that’s what this council does. And you’re allowed to do that if you, as a council, feel it’s in the best interest of the township. And we We’ve heard some of you talk about this fact, which you think is that it can open the door to more than one offer, it gives you a greater opportunity to provide the best services to the community, so we have in our offer specifications a language that allows us to take action such as this where even if the offer was open and it was determined somehow that it was simply out of By the way, you should always wait to reject it and go to auction.
Tomlinson said that didn’t happen and the process was stopped immediately when the concerns were raised. He also said he believed the township had taken every corrective action possible to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Drolet said there are two responsible and reasonable ways to approach the current situation with the bidding process.
“The first is to agree with the purchasing manager, which I think is a reasonable position, that the other bidder failed to meet the requirements of the bidding process in obtaining the bid at time, regardless of his personal medical situation,” Drolet said. . “And I think that’s a reasonable approach. However, I believe another reasonable approach is our goal is to have as many bids as possible for the services that the township provides. So hopefully we can , select the offer that benefits the residents the most. I hope that if we go through the bidding process again, given that we have only received one offer under this existing offer, we attract other bidders.
Drolet also said the township was not harmed by the resumption of the bidding process. Solomon said she doesn’t think the township is likely to get more than two offers if the process is restarted. Supervisor Frank Viviano said he understands Solomon’s position and appreciates it, as his job is to protect the integrity of the process.
“But the procurement policy also allows us as a council to make decisions that are in the best interests of the township, and I think in this unique circumstance, that the integrity of the closed bidding process has been preserved, that we can relaunch the call for tenders. process,” Viviano said. “And I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll have at least, you know, two competitive bids to consider, and then we’ll be in a better position to choose what will best serve our township when it comes to ambulance service. So my advice is to restart the bidding process.
He also said his personal view was that accepting a late offer would be more detrimental than restarting the process.
“I think starting from scratch actually preserves not just the integrity and the process, but in the spirit of the procurement policy, making sure we get competitive bids,” Viviano said.
Viviano said offers received during the initial process would be discarded as they had not been read and the process would begin again. Trustee Nancy Nevers said neither offer was opened, so she was inclined to vote to start the process again due to the medical emergency. Solomon said offers should be left out for at least 14 days and the offer could be released as early as December 22, with an appropriate expiry date determined based on that. Viviano said he explained the situation to Universal and they did not object to the process. Pozzi said that in the future, if a situation arises that is not due to an emergency, offers will be rejected and the policy will be followed. Her downvote, she said, was due to her position as a clerk and the need to ensure the offers remained intact.
“The clerk’s office is, it’s our responsibility to maintain the integrity of the process,” Pozzi said. “And I’m just afraid that if we allow a late offer, whatever the situation, it would set a precedent. So I will be voting no on the diversion. With all due respect to the person who had the medical emergency, I understand that and I hope they are well, but to keep the integrity of the process, I will not be in favor of it.
Lucido asked if the township could compare the universal offer with the current services.
“Personally, I don’t like setting a precedent by making special considerations. I am sensitive to a personal emergency. If there is another way to reopen it without doing any special consideration or consider both offers without doing any special consideration, that’s just my opinion on it,” Lucido said.
Solomon said that without a Medstar offer, the township could not know certain prices that would be charged and could only deviate from current fees and a recent fee schedule. Cusumano said he believed Universal acted in good faith during the bidding process.
“They submitted their bid, they followed the rules, and what is the outcome of the proposal to reopen the bidding process? Are there any ramifications for not following the procurement policy rules and submission specifications that have been laid out? And so I will vote against the motion,” Cusumano said.