The $200,000 Brewster Hall repair warrant article was passed in March 2012. Four months later, as of July 11, no work had been put out to public bidding. I had been made aware of the situation by a concerned town employee. The Grunter and the Town Manager maintain that they intended all along to put the work out to bid. This page references the timeline and documents that show the town’s intent to go with favored single source providers.
April 6, here’s a memo from the Town Manager informing the Selectmen that Rob Houseman is pursuing replacement windows through the CEO of the NE Pella sales corporation. It’s crystal clear that Rob isn’t looking for help producing bid specifications.
April 23, a memo from Rob Houseman to the Town Manager indicating that:
- Rob has been meeting with Pella and is expecting prices shortly
- Is working with Knight security and is expecting an installation in late summer or early fall.
May 23, quote from Pella for 24 replacement windows installed totaling $49,474. This is a standard price quote that was to be signed and returned for acceptance.
June 18, LindaMurray about bidding from Linda Murray to acting TM Rob Houseman concerning Brewster Hall repair report. Here she says that it is her understanding that the items have been sent out to bid to three suppliers. That is, of course, not the case, and also a misread of the Procurement Policy. Only contract under $10,000 may be handled by selective bidding with three suppliers. When the estimated amount is greater, the work must be posted for public bidding. This memo is coupled with a later memo to the Town Manager instructing him to provide this to me as part of my outstanding Right to Know request. She seems to want to make sure that I know that she was unaware that the Town Manager had not been following the Town’s Procurement Policy.
July 12, the day after I laid out the case at the BOS meeting, Rob Houseman initiated action to produce specifications for public bidding on the alarm, carpeting, and windows. For the window specifications he provided the Pella quote to NCA Architects and asked them to turn it into a bid specification. You can see that here NCA Pella specs. So when the Grunter editorial says:
We think the assumption that the bids will be specifications only Pella could meet is unwarranted.
Maybe they should take a look at these documents and tell us why they think that.
I’m not saying that the Board of Selectmen was complicit in this action. The evidence is that the Town Manager bears all of the responsibility. Ironically, he is the only party involved who’s job it is to know better.