City to Redraft Solicitation Process for Tree Service Contract

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By Shawn Raymundo

The city will try to rewrite its application process for a new tree maintenance contract, as council members unanimously decided last week to turn down offers for a multi-year service contract again.

City councils turned down offers from the San Clemente-based Rod’s Tree Service and the West Coast Arborists, who had made the lowest bid, on Tuesday, June 2, placing the Anaheim-based company as the top contender for the five-year contract.

According to the city’s report, the west coast base bid was $ 274,560 a year. With a 20% contingency for the first year of the proposed contract, the city set a maximum price of $ 330,000 for the coming fiscal year.

During the public hearing in the council’s discussion of the contract, WCA noted its position as an industry leader in tree care, noting that the family-run company is currently under contract with neighboring towns of Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Mission, Viejo and San Juan Capistrano as well as the Integrated School District of Capistrano.

“WCA is committed to providing San Clemente with professional and superior tree care,” Company President Patrick Mahoney wrote in a prepared statement to the council. He later added, “WCA values ​​our reputation. At the same time, as contractors, we understand that we are an extension of the city and the agency, which is why we also have to protect your name. “

Rod’s, who have been with San Clemente for more than 40 years, currently has a one-year contract with the city that will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, June 30th. The local company has submitted a base bid of $ 343,860 on the company’s five-year contract.

“Working with and in the city of San Clemente is one of the greatest accolades over the years,” wrote Rod’s Tree Service in submissions to the council. “The trees on our streets are more than another tree or another job. These trees were planted by our grandfather and family members. We grew up with these trees; The safety of our community and the health and beauty of our trees are personal to us. “

On the instructions of the city council last year, the city issued a tender for a competitive bid as part of a public construction project, according to which the city must award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, “unless the city council rejects all offers,” so the city in their report.

The two companies’ offers for a three-year contract were originally submitted to the city earlier this year. However, during the city council meeting in late April, she voted to turn down both offers and instructed employees to reapply for a five-year contract instead.

Both times, the West Coast Arborists’ offer came under Rod’s Tree Service. For the three-year contract, Rod’s put in a bid for $ 424,700, while West Coast put in a bid for $ 304,000.

“Why couldn’t we have entered into a personal service contract where we could consider things other than just the bid – just the low bid?” Asked James.

Bonigut replied that this was done at the behest of the council, but that it could change course.

Prosecutor Scott Smith went on to say that it was the responsibility of the council to decline all offers and reformulate the application process. However, he warned that a bidding process for personal services would not necessarily mean that it would work for the incumbent contractor.

“The council reserves the option of always rejecting all offers and then one can regroup and, as in some cities, consider a qualitative process to do this as opposed to a bidding process,” he said. “Regardless of the track record and history, there is no way to reward the incumbent for simply being the incumbent. We want you to understand. “

Smith went on to say that a personal service request is “qualitative and also very objective”. City staff would have to repeat and revise the request in order to later submit the criteria to the council for approval.

Employees are expected to present the qualitative criteria for the personal service process to the council at its August 16 meeting.

In response to the impending expiration of Rod’s current one-year contract, the council also voted to instruct employees to sign a monthly contract with the local company.

Shawn Raymundo
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in global studies. Prior to joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as a government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the US Territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow the San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.

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