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IID directors award power construction contract

December 05, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

LA QUINTA — In a break from normal business, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors on Tuesday awarded a three-year, $12 million annual power construction contract to two companies.

What's different is that two weeks ago one of the bids was thrown out and the other company's bid was considered too high. A third company that was recommended to get the contract two weeks ago got nothing.

Division 2 Director Bruce Kuhn said the item was pulled from the board's action agenda two weeks ago because he found that power department staff had improperly recommended a higher bid for the work. He also found that the bid process failed to go through the district's contracts office and never went before the power consumers advisory committee for review.

In the end, and with a split vote, the board awarded to split the contract between Willow Grove, Pa.-based Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and Jackson, Miss.-based Irby Construction Co.


Asplundh was the lowest bidder, Irby was the highest and Blue Bell, Pa.-based Henkels & McCoy Inc. was recommended to receive the contract. Henkels was originally the second-lowest bid.

Kuhn said such a sharing undermines the bid process and does not result in savings because a higher bid will get half of the work.

He said the three board members who voted for the award "were led down the primrose path" by district staff who manipulated the bids.

Voting for the contract were directors Lloyd Allen, Andy Horne and Stella Mendoza. Kuhn and Division 5 Director Rudy Maldonado voted "no."

In a related matter, the board approved a $1.5 million contract extension with Irby for district work to be assigned through the end of the year.

In other business, the board:

· approved a request to hire an independent economist to study two separate reports. The first is the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation study of the economic impacts of fallowing and the second is the economic impacts of the water-conservation alternatives in the draft environmental study for the pending water transfer.

The amount is not to exceed $20,000.

The request was made by IID's community advisory commission, which also approved a recommendation that the IID board authorize a longer comment period, to 90 days from 60, for the draft environmental study, due out Jan. 11. IID Chief Counsel John Penn Carter convinced the board to not approve the extension because of how it might impact a required state hearing on the transfer. The hearing process must be completed by the end of 2002 to satisfy other quantification settlement requirements.

· approved a repayment request by the owner of the Holiday Inn Express and El Dorado Motel in El Centro for certain power construction fees. The owner will put up 25 percent of the cost, and repay the remainder during two years with interest. The total amount is $52,989.

· approved the development of a policy on choosing names for district facilities.

· approved the development of a policy on how to make budget amendments.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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