Firm raises issue over bidding process for paving contract in Madawaska
MADAWASKA, Maine — Craig Trombley, vice president of Trombley Industries, recently wrote a letter to the editor regarding a bid he submitted to the town for a paving contract that was turned down. Trombley said his bid was “approximately $4,000 less” than the competitor, Lane Construction, and that it was “completely unfair” not to award the contract to the small family owned business based out of Limestone.
Trombley said the selectmen stated after discussing the bids in executive session on June 29, that the bid from Lane was accepted because that firm “had much more equipment and employees …”
He added that his company has been paving for many County communities, including Madawaska, “for nearly 30 years with much experience and plenty of modern equipment to do the job” and that “dealing with towns like this one leave us feeling helpless and frustrated.”
Lane Construction was awarded the $335,185 contract to pave sections of 13 roads in Madawaska sometime in August.
When asked about Trombley’s letter and why the lowest bid had not been accepted, Madawaska Town Manager Gary Picard countered last week that the bidding application left open the possibility for town officials to accept higher bids if they felt it was in the town’s best interests.
The language of the request for bids sent out by the town states that “the town reserves the right to reject any or all proposals whenever such rejection is in their best interest. The town reserves the right to reject the proposal of a contractor who has previously failed to perform properly or to complete on the contracts of a similar nature or reject a proposal from a contractor if an investigation shows that the contractor is not in a position to perform the contract.”
Picard added that there had been “problems with the quality of work done” on another paving job that Trombley Industries worked on in Madawaska in 2017.
“The board has the right to decide, and decided to go with Lane Corp. because they had more equipment and more experience,” Picard said Wednesday. “We made a decision to get the best product in the best interest of the town.”
Trombley said last week that he stood by the quality of his firm’s work and considered suing the town when it revoked last year’s contract after the firm had paved half of one road. He said the company decided not to sue, however, to avoid jeopardizing future contracts.
But then, after having his latest bid turned down, Trombley said Thursday, “Why request a bid, if you’re not going to take the lowest bid? [The requests for proposals] might say, ‘We don’t have to take the low bid,’ but they have to have a pretty good reason why.”
He also emphasized again that his company has done quality work for the Maine Department of Transportation, The County, Presque Isle, Caribou, Fort Kent, Mapleton and many other communities.
“We stand by our products and services.”
Trombley added that he and his brother have since decided to not put out anymore bids for work in the Town of Madawaska.
Follow Morgan Mitchell on Twitter @TheMaineMorgan