Commissioner: Contracts awarded fairly in Eagle County
Eagle County, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Eagle County commissioners deny a charge made last week by a commissioner candidate that they awarded contracts without the proper competitive bidding process as pay backs to builders.
In a question and answer article with the Vail Daily last week, county commissioner candidate Debbie Buckley, a Republican, implied that county contracts are not awarded fairly. The current board of commissioners awards no-bid contracts as pay backs to people in the building industry, she said.
Buckley did not mention specific examples and could not be reached for comment by phone on Monday.
However, Democrat Peter Runyon, a current commissioner who is running for re-election against Republican Dick Gustafson, called the accusation completely untrue.
The county has a policy that any contract more than $15,000 to $20,000, depending on the type of service, must go to a public bid.
“I’m satisfied that we’re fully above-board in the bid process,” said Runyon, who is running to keep the upvalley commissioner seat. “(Buckley’s accusation) is not true at all. If she’s aware of something that’s truly no-bid, I’d be thrilled if she’d bring it to my attention, because that’s not the policy.”
He said he thinks Buckley, who is running for the midvalley seat against Jon Stavney, was referring to the construction bid for the $24-million Justice Center expansion, which was awarded to FCI Constructors, Inc.
In that case, said County Manager Bruce Baumgartner, the county went through a “modified bid-design” process, where the county made preliminary designs of the expansion, then had several rounds of bidding that took into account both price and qualifications.
In a more traditional bid process, the completed design would be submitted to companies, who would then competitively bid for the project.
“The bottom line is that it saves you a pile of money to bring in the contractor before plans are completely finished. You get more accurate cost estimates, and you avoid (design) changes at the end,” Baumgartner said.
Other commissioners and county officials have also said they feel the county has done its “due diligence” and did look for the “best deal.”
Runyon defended the process in choosing FCI Constructors as the general contractor for the Justice Center expansion, and said that other county contracts also go through a similar bid process.
“She doesn’t understand the design-build bid process,” Runyon said of Buckley. “That’s how every corporation and private company builds now.”
He also took credit for pushing the county to adopt a formalized bidding process ” something the county did not have when he took office, he said.
“I was kind of surprised,” he said. “We have one now, and there’s not a single major contract that hasn’t gone through the bid process.”
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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