County agency bypasses lowest bidder | News
Trinty, Florida -- Wouldn't it be great to pick and choose which Florida laws you want to follow and which ones you want to ignore? Well, that's what the Pasco Mosquito Control District seems to be doing.
Florida law states that when a government entity puts out a bid for anything, the bid is supposed to be awarded to the lowest bidder. Pasco County decided not to follow that law.
"I said if you look at this it could appear there is collusion and someone not doing things on the up and up."
That's what Perillo said he thought after the bids were awarded for construction of a 5,000 square-foot storage facility for the Pasco Mosquito Control District.
Putting together the bid for the new storage facility for the Pasco Mosquito Control District cost Randy Perillo time and money. He said when the consulting firm hired by the district decided he had the lowest bid, he thought it was all worthwhile, because he would get to do the project.
But it didn't work out that way.
"We were the lowest by $3,000 and we are a licensed, certified state contractor with a commercial plumbing license and an underground utility license. We met all the qualifications," said Perillo.
Despite the fact Perillo has done work for the Pasco County School board, the Lakeland Housing Authority and just finished a 37,000 square-foot building for the Florida Department of Transportation, the consultant helping with the bid, Spring Engineering said, "After care and deliberation, the district has chosen to award Bandes Construction the contract."
"Our committee determined Perillo was not best qualified. You should realize this decision was not taken lightly," said Sandra Applefield, the Chair of the Mosquito Control District.
What taxpayers should realize is that state records show the consulting firm, Spring Engineering and Bandes Construction have a joint venture limited liability corporation together. When taxpayers see a lower bid and see the people who made the choice have a business relationship with that firm, some might say that something is funny here.
"So they said they are not doing this job under a joint venture," said Perillo. "I said, 'I don't care whether they are doing under joint venture or not.' Number one, I don't know about it and number two they don't have an arm's length relationship apart."
The Mosquito District Director Dennis Moore is an elected official, and thinks taxpayers shouldn't be concerned about the apparent conflict.
"If this is the issue he [Perillo] is trying to make about this project, it is a non-issue. It's not even newsworthy," says Moore.
Perillo disagrees and said all he wants is a good explanation on why the bid didn't go to him, the lowest bidder.
"They don't feel like they have to give one, because they are the government and they don't have to answer to us, which is completely ridiculous."
So Bandes gets the contract, and the taxpayers get the short end of a contract that was supposed to go to the lowest bidder.