RNV seeks to reverse OPA decision in CUC project

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Posted on Oct 07 2020

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RNV Construction is suing to reverse an Office of the Public Auditor’s decision and allow the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to grant the construction project to RNV.

Michael Dotts, who represents RNV in the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court, described OPA’s decision in February as arbitrary and capricious.

RNV alleges that OPA abused its discretion in reversing the decision of the public utilities company to award the project to RNV and that the OPA decision is subject to review under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Dotts said the project should be awarded to RNV because not only was it the lowest bidder, but RNV was also a responsive bidder, submitting a bid that complied with all aspects of the invitation for bids.

Additionally, Dotts said the Insurer Certification Clearance Request or ICCR, the only thing RNV’s bid proposal lacked, was not material to the bid and that the ICCR did not have any influence on RNV’s legal obligation in the bid.

Dotts said CUC can use its discretion to waive the certificate requirement.

Back on Aug. 8, 2019, CUC solicited bids for the San Vicente Water Tank Replacement project. RNV submitted its bid on Sept. 6, 2019. RNV was up against two other bidders: AIC Marianas and GPPC, Inc.

However, CUC considered RNV’s bid non-responsive, even though they were the lowest bidder, because RNV did not include an ICCR from the Department of Commerce, resulting in CUC awarding the project to the second lowest bidder, GPPC. RNV protested.

CUC then annulled its original award determination to GPPC, stating in its decision letter that the original decision was reversed because the missing ICCR was a minor informality under the law and regulations and it could easily be cured by RNV.

GPPC then appealed the CUC decision to OPA. On Feb. 28, 2020, OPA granted the GPPC appeal, saying that the missing ICCR was material to the bid and the requirement could not be waived by the contracting agency. OPA then reversed CUC’s decision and awarded the contract to GPPC.

On March 13, 2020, RNV asked for reconsideration, which OPA denied.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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