An unusually disputed copier lease contract was awarded to the lowest bidder by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, despite staff’s initial recommendations.
After one continuance and Tuesday’s back-and-forth discussions, the five-year contract was awarded to Digital The Fruth Group, which according to a report of the board, had a bid roughly $171,000 lower than Canon Solutions America.
The RFQ scoring was done by a committee of county employees which rated the proposals based on experience, corporation information, financial information and references.
Supervisor Jack Terrazas, who last week was told by staff that both companies offered the same product, asked if the county had to go with the No. 1 company.
“You do not because this isn’t a procurement practice that is fixed by ordinance,” responded Senior Deputy County Counsel Kyle Sand.
Supervisor Michael Kelley in turn, asked about the RFQ points, and the meaning of one criteria listed as value added.
Purchasing Supervisor Debbie Wray explained that value added in the RFQ is “anything that would be of value to the county, anything that could bump their proposal up and be of use to the county.”
Upon Kelley’s request, she also noted that Digital outbid Canon Solutions by roughly $171,000.
Representatives for Canon Solutions and Digital were once again present in the meeting and addressed the board.
Unlike the first meeting, where Digital and Canon Solutions briefly discussed the “local” quality of each company, this time the discussion centered on the RFQ.
While touting savings, Digital disputed the points received for under the experience portion.
“Our company won this bid outright and we are trying to figure out a way that we don’t have to give it to them,” said Charles Fruth, Fruth’s chief executive officer, to the board.
In response Canon Solutions’ Leon Moranville, who by then had noticed the boards leaning toward the cheaper option, said that “if you decide that if you want to go through and award this on price only, then I suggest (that) to stay out of any kind of legal situation (that) you allow us to go out as a request for bid.”
But Sand showed no issues in advising the board to move forward, in part because there was one point of difference in the RFQ, there was no ordinance addressing such issue and “I think the board has made adequate record as to why they are going (with) the number two bidder.”
Canon Solutions made one last plea but the board moved forward with a unanimous vote to Digital’s bid.
This for Terrazas means that Digital is “under a heck of a microscope, so I would tell you, you need to make sure that your service is up to speed.”
Here are three things that happened in Tuesday’s meeting:
1 — An agreement with National Corrective Group to establish educational and rehabilitative classes for eligible offenders accused of committing certain non-serious crimes was approved by the board. Participants are required to pay the fees, and this program has no impact to the county’s general fund, said District Attorney Gilbert Otero.
2 — A feasibility study to examine whether the Keystone Planning Area can be financed through a so-called infrastructure finance district was approved by the board. The study found that preparing this area for industrial development could cost as much as $194 million.
3 — A letter supporting SB 397, a legislation that would allow the use of enhanced driver’s licenses as travel documents, was approved by the board. State Senator Ben Hueso, who introduced the bill, have said that SB 397 could reduce border wait times by 30 about percent.
Staff Writer Alejandro Dávila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com