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Three firms to tender for the library add-on

THREE companies remain in the race to secure a contract for the $5.5 million H.B. Williams Memorial Library extension. An attempt to get another Gisborne company back in the process failed.

The council has been told that after the original evaluation and an extraordinary meeting last month, it was found that three other Gisborne companies had incorrectly made submissions at the request for interest stage but these were later evaluated and were not successful.

The request for tender process will proceed with three companies involved — Naylor Love Construction of Hamilton, Currie Construction of Gisborne, and Watts and Hughes Ltd of Mount Maunganui. Requests to be included from Dawson Building, D. Stevens and Electrinet were declined.

The council was told the Electrinet bid was submitted incorrectly and the other two tenders did not meet an 85 percent non-price threshold. An attempt by Graeme Thomson to have McCannics added to the request for tender process was unsuccessful.

'We need to have another look at this'Somehow the council had got an outcome that was not quite what they meant, Mr Thomson said. If some of the tick boxes used by the council kept perfectly capable people out of the equation, then something was wrong with the boxes they were ticking.

“I just think we need to have another look at this and say there were two or three people who were left out who were perfectly capable of doing the job. I have absolutely no doubt, and I think most of us here are of the same feeling, that they are capable of the job.”

The dollar figure set for contracts that tenderers had previously carried out was prescriptive.

“I would like this to be reconsidered.”

Rehette Stoltz “absolutely supported” Mr Thomson but said the rationale for winning a tender meant they would be put to the expense of tendering when it was unlikely they would be successful.

Political interference?Chief executive Judy Campbell said the council had created the procurement process, which included a request for interest stage. It had agreed to narrow down the workload. Because tenders were an expensive process, they would call for expressions of interest and narrow it down, telling companies it appeared they could do the job and to tender.

“One of the comments I made last time, and I will make again, is that your policy is very clear about political interference. My main question is when will this end? When you say to reopen expressions of interest, are you really saying that we must take your feelings into account at the tender stage as well?”

Otherwise the panel reviewing the tenders was likely to use the same methodology as guided by the office of the auditor general to make the tender decision.

“It is not a dollar figure, it is a level of experience and relationship between the size of the job we have got now, and the size and experience and jobs that people have done before. I think you are on a very slippery slope if you force the issue of opening up expressions of interest.”

They would be saying “don’t worry about experience, take anybody regardless of experience into the tender process and give more regard to locals than others” — which councillors had already weighted the points-scoring system towards. Mr Thomson said they had been told it was about money — there was a dollar figure of $5 million.

Common sense needs to prevailBill Burdett said it was local people for local jobs. Common sense needed to prevail at some stage. He seconded Mr Thomson’s motion. Mrs Campbell said she questioned councillors becoming involved and challenging a process that had been correctly done by the evaluation panel, made up of qualified engineers and an architect.

“I have no opinion on the companies myself, I defer to the panel because that is what the policy says. None of you have even seen the paperwork involved, so how can you make a judgement on suitability?”

Andy Cranston said the council had taken the right path by going back to look at its procurement process. While they would like to see local companies get jobs, that should not be the 100 percent criteria. The council was on a slippery slope. Alan Davidson said he would like to know what the staff flaw was in the process — he had not heard anything.

Roger Haisman said he shared some Mr Thomson’s frustrations but agreed with Mr Davidson. He felt $5 million was not a big contract and everybody should be allowed to tender. People would only tender if they thought they had a show of getting it.

Mr Thomson’s motion was lost on a voice vote and the motion to proceed with the request for tender process was carried.