Reviewing bids for a contractor to repair a heating and cooling system is normally a mundane affair for the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, but that wasn’t the case Monday.
Ward 3 Alderman Rev. Gregory Robertson and Ward 4 Alderman Dr. Jack Varner argued over the process, and the board ended up not hiring anyone for the job.
The board reviewed bids Monday for the repair of the heating and cooling system at the police department. Of three bids received, Building Inspector Russ Carter said only two were acceptable because one of the bidders, McCoy Electric, did not have required licensing.
Robertson took issue with McCoy Electric, which had the lowest bid, being disqualified. Robertson said he didn’t understand why McCoy Electric had been able to do jobs in the city before without any issues and now it was a problem.
Carter said that he didn’t know that McCoy Electric didn’t have a business license to operate in the city.
Jeremy McCoy, owner of McCoy Electric, told the board that he was unaware of the requirements being discussed. McCoy said that all requirements for a job are normally listed in the solicitation for the bid, and he met all of the requirements the city had asked for.
Varner said that McCoy’s bid was invalid, and made the motion to award the contract to Taggart Electric, which he said had the lowest acceptable bid.
Robertson suggested tabling the vote to give McCoy time to get any licenses that were required.
“The building inspector told you it’s not an acceptable bid,” Varner said.
Robertson said he was not convinced that McCoy’s bid wasn’t acceptable.
“Bull____,” Varner replied.
“I have nothing against the others,” Robertson said.
“Jack, you shouldn’t attack a person for the way they vote,” Mayor Diane Delaware said.
“It’s not that,” Varner said, adding that the deadline for the bids to be in had passed.
Varner and Ward 1 Alderman Ron Johnson voted to award the contract to Taggart Electric.
Robertson and Delaware voted against it. Ward 4 Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. abstained, creating a tie.
Varner continued to argue that the board should have accepted the lowest “legal” bid.
“The vote is the vote,” Delaware said.
Robertson said the qualifications that were disqualifying McCoy were not previously required. Robertson said McCoy said he can meet all of the requirements.
“It doesn’t matter if he does or not; go ahead and award it to him,” Varner said. “That’s what you want to do. Don’t beat around the bush about it.”
“You can’t tell people what they want to do Jack, you’re not inside their heads,” Delaware said.
“Unfortunately I can’t award it to him because I only have one vote,” Robertson said. “Only this board can award it to him.”
The board will have to advertise for the bids again.