If Utah County officials want to be fair in awarding service contracts to private companies, they need to take the subjectivity out of their selection process, says the president of a local janitorial company.
Robin Davis, president of R.B. Davis & Co. of Orem, said changes are needed in the way the county does business."What's happening is that it looks like an objective approach to selecting a bidder, but there's so much subjectivity that they can vote for who they want," he said.
R.B. Davis & Co. lost out last week to L & L Inc., Orem, in trying to land a contract to clean the Utah County Regional Government Center, county courthouse and health department building. Earlier this month, R.B. Davis terminated an existing contract it had with the county to clean the buildings because the contract was inadequate, Davis said.
On Sept. 7 Commissioner Gary Anderson berated R.B. Davis because certain areas of the new government center weren't cleaned to the commission's satisfaction. As it turned out, those areas weren't even covered by the previous contract.
Davis said he terminated the contract because it prevented his company from properly cleaning the buildings. He said it needed to be rewritten to enable a janitorial company to do a good job. As a result of the contract's termination, new contract specifications were drawn up for the new bid.
L & L's bid per month was $9,480 compared to $12,168 for R.B. Davis. L & L, whose previous work has not included buildings as large as the new state and county buildings, took over janitorial duties Monday.
In addition to R.B. Davis and L & L, four other janitorial firms submitted bids.
County Engineer Clyde Naylor said the selection of a new janitorial company was based on several factors, including quality of work, references, financial solvency, bid amount and company history.
"Gentlemen, this information has not been obtained from my company sufficiently," Davis told commissioners. "To me, it appears to be a subjective evaluation. That's my opinion, because information that only I'm privy to has not been obtained from me."
Naylor said information needed to make evaluations came from references, not the janitorial companies.
Naylor disputed Davis' claims "because the whole purpose of the evaluation is to go to the references and find out from references what companies did. He just didn't understand the design of what we were doing."
Referring to the evaluation, Davis said, "There is information here that could not come from references."
Commissioners expressed concern that L & L lowered its original bid by $2,000 rather than increase it after cleaning specifications were upgraded for the new contract.
"I think that as far as the price is concerned, they probably did it (submitted a low bid) to get the work," Naylor said. But the company had a good rating, and so far "they're doing an excellent job."