Sunday, May 11, 2008

Question on 3rd bid spec's (hotWatergate 16)

As I'm trying to sort my way through this mess, I continue to have two goals:

1) get to the bottom of hotWatergate; and
2) get a new boiler into Norton.

If for a moment, we ignore the Charter requirement for bids to be revoked by the Council and simply focus on the 3rd bid... we encounter a potentially critical issue in our effort to get a new boiler into my alma mater, Norton School.

Bids are supposed to be awarded to the lowest, qualified bidder. But one bidder questioned... are all bidders qualified?

So in an effort to help you understand, here's my explanation:

One of the key issues questioned by a bidder relates to some technical stuff... specifically, does the specified "add-on" (Fireye E-110) work with the specified boiler (Riello RLS-50).

The apparent low bidder contends that the "add-on" (Fireye E-110) is incompatible with the boiler (Riello RLS-50) and provided documentary evidence from the manufacturer on Riello letterhead:

Additionally, the same bidder provided documentary evidence from the distributor on Torrington Supply letterhead:

But then today... since I firmly believe that information has been intentionally withheld from me, I decided to continue my own "discovery" and called the consulting engineer*. He told me of this webpage** that apparently contradicts the assertions set forth in the two above documents. And FWIW, here's a split screen image:
of what appears to be the Riello website indicating that the town's specs do make sense and do work. That is... the spec'd "add-on" (Fireye E-110) does work with the spec'ed boiler (Riello RLS-50).


I was... until I started parsing the first two letters. IMO, they are very different letters. The first is apparently from the manufacturer. The second is apparently from the distributor. To me, the distributor cannot be expected to know all the details of a particular product. So I'm ignoring that one and focusing on the Riello letter.

I'm not going to get into the details, but if you parse the apparent manufacturer's letter as I have (and as one bidder has), you'll probably agree that there really is nothing in the letter that necessarily contradicts the information on the website... although at first glance, it appeared that way to me. And that's concerning. Inadvertent or not, I feel like it was written by Karl Rove or James Carville... a work of art... in a political sense... 100% factually correct, but not exactly forthright.

Of course, I don't know all the facts here. In fact, I can't attest to whether these letters and website are all speaking of the same "Riello RLS-50" burner. As I've been saying, I'm simply looking for information wherever I can... because information has been withheld from me and this matter is very serious. So I'm not going to simply walk into this meeting on Tuesday and be told "these aren't the droids you're looking for." No. That's not going to happen. And someone needs to get to the bottom of this.

For the sake of the town, I hope those who are so interested in understanding the phrase Request for Information, give this debacle even 1/10 the scrutiny.

Tim White

* I'm glad I called the consulting engineer. Unsurprisingly, staff had invited him to neither the May 13 nor April 22 meeting. So I did invite him... to which he said he was already planning on attending... same as he attended the April 22 meeting... Witness yet another example of astoundingly poor judgment by staff. I mean... how can we deliberate, if we can't get expert opinion?

** He said that he had provided this webpage to the town... though as far as I can tell... no one in Town Hall mentioned this webpage to me. Shocker.


Anonymous said...

What it sounds like to me is that one of the bidders must do a lot of business with Riello and asked them for a favor.Their letter sounds like they don't normally use that add-on, but it didn't say it can'r be done.
Tim, you are doing your homework and we appreciate it. I just hope the rest of the TC is as diligent.
I think if you keep reading up on this you may be able to install the boiler yourself and save us a few bucks.

tim white said...

if you keep reading up on this you may be able to install the boiler yourself and save us a few bucks.


Nah... I'm an auditor. That is, I'm an investigator by profession.

I also happen to have pretty good intuition. I'm a Myers-Briggs ENFJ... fwiw.

Anonymous said...

If the charter says "bids must be revoked by the Council" then when was the bid from CT Combustion revoked? I don't believe it was so why would the Council even be considering a third bid if the second one was accepted and never revoked?

Anonymous said...

What's our lawyer getting paid to do? I believe he/she let's us make stupid decision so that they can bill out more to the town. What a fiasco. The cart is always before the horse in this Town.