HALIFAX • The
Halifax Area School Board will meet Thursday, March 3 for further
discussion – and possible action – on a contract to provide
maintenance for the district’s athletic fields for the 2016-17
The meeting is
scheduled for 6:15 p.m. in the secondary campus cafeteria. (An
executive session is scheduled for 6 p.m.)
The matter has
occupied time at the board past two public board meetings (Jan. 26
and Feb. 23). At last week’s meeting, the board voted down a motion
to award the work to one of the vendors that the district said had
met the necessary requirements.
The story so
far. The district, last fall, invited vendors to submit Requests for
Proposals to perform maintenance work to the following district
athletic fields: football/softball; practice/junior varsity; varsity
softball; and baseball.
The work would
include mowing, line trimming, sidewalk clearing, weeding/spraying;
refuse removal; fertilization when necessary; and tree, shrub and
also called for pest management services and for one-time
renovations of the junior-varsity softball field, as well as other
services as needed.
wording in the Sentinel’s legal advertisement, vendors were to
contact the business manager for RFP guidelines, and each vendor’s
RFP was due to the district no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4,
The district had
prepared a five-year agreement – retroactive to Jan. 1 and
continuing through Dec. 31, 2020 – with a vendor and submitted it
for board action. (Since no contract has been awarded as of press
time, the newspaper is withholding the name of the potential vendor
until final action is taken.)
called for the vendor to provide general services at an annual rate
of $43,931 for three years; $44,810 for the fourth year; and $45,250
for the fifth year, plus the softball field renovation for no more
than $6,069 as well as other services as needed. according to a copy
of the agreement.
continues. The proposal – as well as certain aspects of how the
district has handled the matter to this point – have come in for
questioning and some criticism.
At the Jan. 26
meeting, a vendor whose proposal was not accepted asked the board to
explain why, saying he had followed all the procedures as he
understood them. (Board members said he had not.) The vendor said he
didn’t wish to bring legal action against the district, but would if
he thought it necessary.
At last week’s
meeting, board member Scott Corsnitz said he saw discrepancies
between the newspaper legal advertising and the RFP guidelines
forwarded to vendors. For instance, the RFP gave a due date (Nov. 4)
but not a set time deadline.
‘‘If a bid was
faxed or emailed by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 4, it should have been legit,’’
Corsnits said. ‘‘(The RFP) was too open-ended.’’
questioned whether some terms of the proposed agreement were
realistic enough to keep the fields in proper shape all year-round.
‘‘We did more
diligence in finding a football coach than for we did for over
$200,000 in field maintenance,’’ he said.
questioned language in the proposal that said any work beyond the
scope of the agreement required approval only by the district’s
business manager and athletic director. She said it appeared as if
no board approval would be required for such work.
The motion to
award the bid failed 6-3. Voting ‘‘no’’ were Board President Melissa
Konyar; Donna Rode; Cornsitz; Vice President Larry Cox Jr.; Robbie
Eyster; and Trudy Withers. Voting ‘‘yes’’ were Brad Harker, Gary
Shade and Thomas Weber.
The board also
agreed that all board members were to be provided copies of all
bidders for the agreement, and to hold the March 3 meeting.
Complaints were made at last week’s meeting that not all board
members saw the proposed bids before the now-rejected proposal was
District: We did
due diligence. Asked to comment for this article, district
Superintendent Dr. Michele Orner and Business Manager Mike Bower
said they believe proper due diligence was done throughout the
The district was
not required legally to seek bidders for a professional services
contract, but it decided to do so anyway so the best possible vendor
for the work could be found, the administrators said.
‘‘The board has
the right to reject the administrative team’s work,’’ Orner stated.
‘‘We put a contract in front of the board and the board rejected it.
That’s their prerogative.’’
forum slated. The special board meetng is not the only activity at
the Halifax secondary campus March 3.
Achievement Forum is slated that evening at 7 p.m. – after the board
meeting – and also in the secondary cafeteria. According to the
distict, student achievement is the main topic of the meeting, and
sub-topics will include testing and state-mandated academic