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Monday, January 30, 2017

It takes one to know one: Evaluating the evaluators

Campground manager wins bid protest
The county on Friday upheld a bid protest by the current manager of the Chassahowitzka River Campground, ruling that scorers did not have the necessary expertise to judge the bids adequately. Moore & Moore Realty Inc. of Homosassa, which has had the campground contract the past five years, filed the protest after the county had recommended the contract instead be awarded to a Cape Canaveral company.

In his response to Moore’s bid protest, Assistant County Administrator Jeff Rogers acknowledged that the scoring process was flawed and the county did not assign experts to score the four bidders. “I do believe the county could have had county staff and/or external staff that might have had more interaction with the daily operation of the campground or had more knowledge of the operation of a campground involved in the scoring,” Rogers wrote.

Moore and Chassahowitzka residents who supported the current contract took particular dispute with Phillips, who along with two other county staffers scored the bids in seven areas. Phillips gave Moore & Moore low scores in all but one category, and all three gave high scores to the eventual winning bidder, Camp Leisure.

Rogers wrote that staffers who should have been involved in the scoring could not participate because of a conflict of interest with one of the bidders. Still, he said county regulations require bids be reviewed and scored by individuals with knowledge or expertise of the service or commodity being procured. He said the county could have sought outside expertise to assist with the bid scoring.

The company, in its bid protest, said the county should never had sought proposals in the first place. Company president Elaine Moore said that both the prior Parks and Recreation director and Tobey Phillips, director of the Department of Community Services, assured her in July 2016 that the county planned to give her a five-year contract extension. She said the only reason the county sent the contract out to bid is because a Hudson company inquired about the campground in October.

In his response to Moore’s bid protest, Assistant County Administrator Jeff Rogers did not find fault in the county seeking new bids.

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