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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DPW awards 6-month, $372K contract for landfill operations
Govt works on new RFP for longer-term contract

The Department of Public Works awarded an emergency contract worth some $372,000 to Tang’s Corp. to operate the Marpi landfill for six months, even as DPW begins work on a new request for proposal for a longer-term contract that addresses procurement issues raised in the last RFP.

For some 15 months now, DPW only entered into equipment rental agreement with two contractors for trash compacting, among other things, at the landfill, mainly because of procurement protests and appeals.

This time, the six-month contract is for landfill operations, albeit only for six months until a longer-term contract is awarded. DPW is careful not to receive any citation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Marpi landfill since it started having equipment rental agreements instead of landfill operations contract.

DPW Secretary Martin Sablan told Saipan Tribune yesterday that the six-month contract with Tangs Corp. is from Dec. 5, 2013, to June 2014.

“We are hoping that before the end of the third month, we would be able to issue the new RFP which is for a long-term contract,” Sablan said.

He said the Division of Procurement and Supply recommended a new RFP.

“In the new RFP, we will specify that price is an evaluation factor,” he said, referring to procurement issues raised by a protesting bidder.

The contract is for approximately $62,000 a month or some $372,000 for six months. This amount is inclusive of other expenses.

In the new RFP, the contract could be for two years, with the option to renew for another year.

DPW awarded the emergency contract with Tangs Corp. after the Office of the Public Auditor “modified” its recommendation, albeit upholding a procurement appeal decision.

After the OPA decision, Sablan said DPW is in a position to decide which action to take to get the long-delayed project moving, in consultation with the Procurement and Supply Division.

He said the OPA decision paved the way for a landfill operations contract using an “emergency” justification such as endangerment of Saipan residents’ health and safety.

Back in July, OPA granted SARS or Success International Corp’s procurement appeal and directed DPW to cancel the “flawed” RFP.

However, OPA modified its prior order on Oct. 25 but reaffirmed its findings that DPW’s RFP on the Marpi landfill operations was “flawed” because price or cost to the government was not included in the RFP listing of evaluation factors.

OPA said it “will not direct the method DPW must use pursuant to the CNMI Procurement Regulations to procure the services at issue.”

“OPA recognizes that the agency has important factors to consider, including the ‘health and safety of Saipan’s residents,’ which places the CNMI in a ‘dangerous position’ with regulatory agencies,” said OPA legal counsel Deborah E. Fisher in an Oct. 25 decision concurred by Public Auditor Michael Pai.

The OPA decision says DPW “is in the best position to consider what type of procurement process is most lawfully under the CNMI Procurement Regulations, in conjunction with P&S, to engage a contractor for Marpi landfill operations.”

After issuing an RFP and evaluating the proposals received, DPW had proposed to award the contract to Tangs Corp.

But SARS/Success International protested this with Procurement and Supply.

Later, SARS/Success International appealed Procurement and Supply’s decision to OPA.

Procurement, in rejecting SARS’ earlier protest, said that certain personnel of Tangs Corp. have been involved in the construction and operation of the Marpi landfill since its inception in 2002, whereas SARS “had no experience in operating a landfill until it obtained the contract for the temporary equipment rental.”

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