Construction Industry Force Account Council

Promoting Transparency Through Public Agency Compliance

CIFAC Pulls Back The Reigns On San Dimas

Horsethief Canyon Park sign

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By Tony Morelli,  Southwestern Regional Compliance Manager. -

If you work in the compliance field, you know more than anyone how difficult it can be to rally up the posse and get them into compliance. There are times, however, when it is just easy and you don’t even have to pull your gun out of its holster.

This is a story of San Dimas, where not so long ago, they hired a contractor to repair and improve decomposed granite trails at Via Verde Park in 2019. Fast forward to mid-2020, the trails at Horsethief Canyon Park also need repairs. The trails surface consists of decomposed granite and native soil and over time the trails surface had eroded making the pathway dangerous. City staff wanted to utilize StaLok decomposed granite for this project, due to the previous success the City had the prior year at Via Verde Park.Cowboy image

City staff contacts the same contractor who performed the work at Via Verde Park, to discuss performing that same work for their new project at Horsethief Canyon Park. The discussion went so well that the contractor even agreed to do the work for the same price as was quoted in 2019.

City staff placed the project on the City Council’s meeting agenda, seeking approval to award the contract for the Horsethief Parks Access Trail-Pathway project for $112,000 to the same contractor.

In reviewing the agenda item and staff report, I became suspicious when I did not see any mention of other bidders or the phrase “lowest responsible bidder”. In looking closer, I noticed that the staff conducted an informal request for bids (RFB) back in 2019 for the Via Verde Project and was referencing that, but there was no mention of a specific RFB for the current project.

I reached out to the City’s Director of Parks and Recreation and asked if they conducted a separate bid solicitation for the Horsethief Park project, and if so, would they please provide a copy of the noticing for the project. Additionally, I asked the City to please pull this item from their current Council agenda until this issue could be resolved.

The next morning I received the following email: “Good morning Tony, I have requested that the City Clerk pull the item from tonight’s council agenda. We will be posting the project on Planet Bids in the next couple of weeks, and return to the City Council at that time. Again thank you for bringing it to our attention, Thanks, HK”

This is one of those rare times, when I can put my feet up and pull my hat down over my eyes knowing that a level playing field is on the horizon.

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