Oversight in bid paperwork may cost taxpayers $87,000

By Trigie Ealey
Arizona Summer Wildcat
June 12, 1996

Gregory Harris
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The interior space on the eighth floor of the Marley Building.


Work to complete classrooms in the Marley Building has been delayed due to a paperwork mistake that may cost taxpayers an extra $87,000 and a Tucson construction company the $3.3 million contract.

The University of Arizona rejected a bid by Lloyd Construction Co. Inc., 25 E. Rillito Road, after the company failed to fill in four lines on the bid form's list of subcontractors. The form states that all blanks must be filled.

Instead, the UA chose the contract of Carnes Construction Inc., 818 S. Plumer Ave., which bid $3,404,000. The bid was $87,000 more than Lloyd Construction's bid of $3,317,000. Lloyd is appealing the rejection.

"The university is perfectly within their rights to do that, but we thought it was a minor infraction," said Bryan Lloyd, vice president of Lloyd Construction. "It was an infraction that cost taxpayers $87,000."

Scott Carnes of Carnes Construction said a similar situation happened years ago when he made a mistake in the bid process. He said in that case, Lloyd Construction was the next bidder.

"These things happen all over," Carnes said. "You have to comply with the rules and policies, and there are a lot of them in the procurement process."

The six-month project is to complete science classrooms on the seventh and eighth floors of the building at 1145 E. Fourth St., west of Yavapai Residence Hall. It has been nearly six years since the building's groundbreaking in August, 1990.

Named for the late land and liquor magnate Kemper Marley, the building was dedicated in March, 1993. Marley was linked by some to organized crime and the 1976 car-bombing death of Arizona Republic Reporter Don Bolles. Marley died of cancer in 1990 at age 83.

Robert Smith, director of Facilities Design and Construction, said construction usually begins approximately three weeks after a contract is awarded. Without the rejection of the bid in early April and the present appeal process, construction would have begun by now.

"Construction will not begin until after the appeals are complete," Smith said, adding he hopes construction will begin "soon."

Smith refused further comment until after the appeal process is complete. He referred all questions to Robert Hatch, deputy vice president of facilities.

Hatch said he understands why the appeal takes place. Of four appeals he has heard in the past five years, none have been justified.

"Obviously, (the companies) have a serious interest in the issue," he said. "But they violated the policy."

Hatch said bid rejections have not led to the university being taken to court, but he held hearings so the companies involved could have a chance to speak.

"There have been companies that have admitted at the hearings that they violated the policies," he said. "They just want to be able to speak."

Hatch said though no appeal is ever the same, he hoped the Lloyd appeal process would be completed by the end of June.

Dan Cavanagh of the Arizona Builders' Alliance, a trade group of contractors and subcontractors, questioned the logic of rejecting the bid.

"The contractor failed to put in the ditto marks and they have admitted that," Cavanagh said. "They could have called the contractor and saved themselves and the taxpayers $87,000."

Carnes dismisses the idea that the university should have called Lloyd to notify them of the bid rejection. Calling is just a courtesy, he said.

It was Carnes Construction that notified Lloyd of the UA bid rejection.

"The university called to request more information from us about our proposal," he said. "I called Lloyd to find out if they had pulled the bid or if the bid was rejected, because that is why the university would want more information from us."

Carnes said even though the process has some problems, the overall system works.

"It is a good process for the most part," he said. "Glitches occur, but it keeps the system healthy."

"Scott (Carnes) called and asked if we had pulled our bid," Lloyd said. "We later got a letter from the university saying we failed to complete the forms."

Lloyd said he has no hard feelings about the situation. He said he will likely bid on future projects with the university as he has successfully done so in the past. Previous projects include residence hall renovations, he said.

"I just hope (the university) doesn't do this too often," Lloyd said.