February 07, 2018, 16:30EDorsey
Awarding bid contracts
Has anyone had commissioners court award contracts to multiple vendors for the same item after a bid? Our county engineer requested bids for road materials, gas, etc. and wants to accept all conforming bids. Under his proposal, there's a "primary vendor" who the county would use most of the time. Every other vendor would be an "alternate vendor" who the county could use occasionally. My county auditor and I are of the opinion that there can't be alternates for the engineer to use at his whim. LGC chapter 262, specifically 262.027, uses the singular in terms of awarding a contract to "the responsible bidder who submits the lowest and best bid." Nothing in ch. 262 contemplates alternates. It would seem having alternates and allowing the engineer to switch vendors defeats the purpose of the bid requirements. My engineer insists other counties have alternates. I asked him to check on their reasoning for it, and the responses he got were basically "nothing in the code says we can't." The best AG opinion I found on the topic is from the 90s and basically says the county can use someone else if a vendor is temporarily out of materials. Does anyone have a source on the matter either way?