Cumberland Times-News


June 9, 2014

Award of shell building contract questioned

— Dear Commissioners,

I write to express my opinion on the bid and award process of the new shell building for the Barton Business Park.

I find it very ironic that the award for this project was made at the same meeting that the county adopted a new budget that you indicated in the meeting dealt with fiscal realities and provisions for the future.

I have been involved in this design/build process with Lashley Construction from the beginning and attended the pre-proposal meeting and reviewed the bid documents and requirements and also have received a copy of the letter from Gary Imes of Lashley Construction to the commission regarding the bid and award process.

The article in the June 8 edition of the Cumberland Times (“County officials hope new shell building improves business park’s marketability: Construction bid awarded; local contraactor not happy with process,” Page 1A) had some interesting information as well.

Mr. (Matthew) Diaz of the Department of Economic and Community Development indicated that “because of the nature of the project, the bidding process was handled a bit differently to offer flexibility for the county, especially considering possible changes in the project during design and construction .... Even though the low bid was accepted, the county could make up some of the difference by asking for credits if some of the items were removed from the project.”

He was correct, it was handled differently, but not just “a bit differently”; in fact it was handled quite a bit differently than most contract bids.

The county issued an RFP (Request for Proposal), met with the approved contractors in a pre-proposal meeting that I attended. The county then issued two addendums to clarify the intention and requirements of the project. I have read both of these.

Lashley Construction was pre-approved in the RFP pre-approval process and thus by that process was an equally qualified bidding company.

But to then award the contract to another company for $499,700 (more) is not logical.

The county provided the information what they expected for the design and construction and to my knowledge all three companies complied.

That was the basis of the bids submitted. If the county wanted more or less at that point, they should have provided bid alternates.

This is simply a listing of work items that could be added or deleted and each contractor would have provided a money value to each line item as part of the bid process and after award.

This is a standard in the construction industry and construction contracts.

Without such a safeguard, the contractor can simply take advantage of these adds or deducts and in this bid process used by the county, they was no built in protection against unreasonable charges.

In other words the contractor basically has an “open checkbook” with checks already signed by the commissioners.

The process and selection was unfair and severely flawed from the start, when the Allegany County Department of Economic and Community Development informed Lashley they were not qualified.

That in itself is quite astonishing. Of course Lashley was then included and provided a professional, comprehensive and competitive proposal.

Please understand that I am not bashing the other contractors.

Both Carl Belt Inc. and Lashley Construction were equally qualified for the project. So what was the real reason you awarded the project to the substantially higher firm?

By the way, I understand that Commissioner Brodie did not vote in favor of this award as perhaps he considered his fiscal stewardship to the citizens of Allegany County in this matter.

Hope to hear from you soon.

James K. Cunningham


Text Only
  • C-minus grade C-minus grade

    If a survey conducted by and the Kaufman Foundation is an accurate portrayal, Maryland has a long way to go to become a business-friendly state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • It might not be a problem, but a possibility

    God certainly orchestrates circumstances that cause us to marvel. The recent flood In Cresaptown that Calvary Baptist Church/School endured is proving to be yet another miracle birthed out of devastation.

    July 24, 2014

  • Look to the Jubilee solution to resolve our economic woes

    Following the Lehman banking debacle of 2008, the government sponsored bailout of the banking sector to boost the economy created an illusion of recovery.

    July 24, 2014

  • Common Core curriculum is bad news for West Virginians

    If something is not done soon, the vast majority of American K-12 school children will be taught using dubious, federally backed national education “standards” that have come under fire from across the political spectrum.

    July 24, 2014

  • Please return valuable items taken from woman’s parked van

    On July 8 at 2:33 p.m. my 16-year-old granddaughter Caitlyn Cook and I arrived at Children’s Medical Group for a 3 p.m. appointment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014