WHY IS A.P.E. SUING THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS OVER THE UNIFORM CONTRACT?
The Prices (Part 3)
Happy New Year! We hope you have as great a 2014 as we hope to have!
Just a quick post to cover one more aspect of what A.P.E. believes is a serious issue with the prices provided (or lack thereof) on the Signal 26 bid. Remember that the bid was put together like this:
This is just one category, but this was the structure throughout for multiple categories, and the grand totals were added up at the end for a "Total Bid" price.
Do you see the spot on the bid form for the post-discount prices? Keep looking; we can wait. Still can't find it? Because it's not there! In court, the city attorney said that prices could be determined "within the four corners of the bid." We haven't posted the whole bid here (although we could...), but rest assured, there is not a spot at another place in the bid where all of the discounted prices are listed. If the discount is applied evenly to each line item, maybe it could be argued that the final prices are contained within the four corners. However, as we stated in part 2 of this thread , the discounts are not applied evenly by Signal 26. Throughout the bid, some items were discounted a lot (as much as 80%) and some very little (0%- quite the discount).
Part of the public bidding process is for bidders to declare the prices to be charged on the face of the bid; part of the reason for that is to AVOID confusion and potential subterfuge (like creating a weighted pricing structure after the bid has been secured by an "apparent" low bid). Again, the city attorney said that prices will be determined from the "face of the bid". This is impossible. The bid should have been disqualified, yet for some reason, this sham was not only allowed to continue, but endorsed by the city.
One more note:
Part of the problem with this bid is the way the city structured it. If a vendor decided to list a discount, there isn't anywhere to put a discounted price for each line item. A.P.E. avoided this problem by not listing a discount and listing the absolute lowest price it was willing to sell items (in an upcoming post, you can see how A.P.E.'s prices are actually lower because, as we stated before there are items that Signal 26 doesn't have and will not sell).
As part of our public records requests, A.P.E. received a report from the New Orleans Inspector General's office. The office had reviewed the bid and stated in writing that the bid structure was flawed and that there would be problems determining the low bidder. What happened when City Hall got this message? Same thing that happened when A.P.E. voiced its concerns about the structure. Nothing.
Next up: A note about participation.
Be careful out there.