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Subject: Review of RFP# P0003 - Alabama A&M University Facilities Services Contract Conducted by: James D. Montgomery, Sr., Trustee 3rd Congressional District
Submitted: June 14, 2010
Purpose and Overview
The University is a party to numerous contracts for goods and services. In order to maintain a viable process for contract review and awards it is necessary to comply with the requisite internal policies overwritten by the applicable statues and regulations for the state of Alabama. During the Alabama A&M University Trustee February board meeting Dr . Hugine ( University President) introduced to the board an information item that dealt with the awarding of a $4.8 million dollar Facilitates Services Contract to ARAMARK Higher Education. Most of the attending board members were unaware of the contract award and attempted to gain an understanding of the transaction from Dr. Hugine but after varying explanations were presented by different board members and there were apparent conflicting views of the awarding of the facilities Services Contract award all discussion on the contract award was halted. It was after a decision was made to halt discussion on the contract that I decided to exercise my authority as a duly appointed trustee to attempt to gain a full and clear understanding of all occurrences associated with the facilities contract award. In an effort to know where to go and to whom to go to request information I asked Mr. Kevin Rolle (Assistant to the President) and he replied that he was not involved with the contract and didn't know any of the details. I then spoke to Mr. Charlie Rucker ( Former Vice-President Business & Finance) and he indicated that he was not asked to be involved in the contract but it was being handled out of the President's Office. A request was made by me to the board's President Pro Tempore, Dr/ Riggins to review all documents associated with the award of the facilities services contract. The initial request was met with opposition by the University President wherein he opined that " Given the circumstances of this request, we must be mindful that Comprehensive Standard 3.2.6 of the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities (SACS) states that there is a clear distinction in writing and in practice between the role of the Board of Trustees in policy making and the administration in carrying out the policy. Furthermore, the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees of Alabama A&M University states that the Board of Trustees delegates to the President full
authority in the administration and operation of the University. The execution of contracts has been in policy and practice, the purview of the President and the administration. Based on the decision and re-affirmation of the Board of Trustees, the administration has followed the procedures of outsourcing by following a fair competitive bid process consistent with the laws of the State of Alabama and with the best interests of the University in mind. " Of course there did not exist then neither does there exist now any violation of SACs policies associated with any trustee or citizen requesting to review documents associated with RFP's. In fact contained within the very RFP itself was language that asserted " Proposals are subject to provisions of state law relating to inspection of public records. Proposals will be kept confidential until a list of recommended offerors is approved by the university. Following that approval all documents pertaining to this submittal will be open for public inspection - except those which the offerror has stamped or imprinted the words " proprietary or confidential." On March 12 -13, 2010, I was allowed to receive documents associated with the contract award and was required to review those documents in the office of University Counsel. I was not allowed to copy documents or remove any of the documents from the University Council's Office. I carefully examined each document created for the bid, reviewed comments from bidders, reviewed the rating scales applied to each bidder, reviewed each monetary bid submitted , noted complaints, tried to determine who was directing the bidding process and compiled all of the relevant information into a report for the President Pro Tempore and board members. At the time of my review the contract finalizing the award to ARAMARK had not been signed by Dr. Hugine.
Finding of Facts
1. A majority of the companies listed as attending the pre-bid meeting on Jan 8, 2010 did not
submit a bid for the Facilities Services Contract. 2.Aramark was awarded the Facilities Services Contract at a cost of $3,866,112 but the contract ( as presented in the February 2010 Board meeting) was awarded at $4.8 Million . 3. UNICCO UGL Company submitted a bid for the Facilities Services Contract in the amount of $4,818,924.
4. The solicitation was released on Dec 14, 2009 and bids were received on Jan 19, 2010 @ 2:00 pm CDT and certified by Delores Hudson who is a senior staff member in the A&M purchasing office. 5. There is an RFP evaluations sheet used to rank companies . Companies are ranked in four (4) different categories and given a numerical rating ranging from 1-5 with 5 being the highest rating. The sheet also contains a comment section. The names of the person conducting interview assigning points is not listed on the interview sheet. 6. The RFP proposal evaluation sheet rankings are the sum of all categories and 10 interview questions. 7. Companies that did not bid on the contract requested more time to respond to RFP and their requests were denied. 8. University Officials ignored requests by companies to extend time to allow a thorough review of university facilities, invoices and repair costs and time to conduct interviews with department heads and faculty to understand the critical needs of student life. 9. Companies only had approximately one week to prepare bid for Facilities Services Contract RFP. 10. Companies interested in bidding on the Facilities Services Contract were not provided with necessary documentation required to prepare a comprehensive competitive bid. 11. RFP for the Facilities Services Contract was issued Dec 14, 2009 - proposal pre meeting Jan 8, 2010 - 10:00 am CDT - deadline for submitting questions proposal due date - Jan 15, 2010 10:00 am CDT. ARAMARK Higher Education was the low bidder with $3,866,112 but the final award ended higher. 12. There was no indication that a new bid was prepared or that other companies were given an opportunity to re-bid based on an increase in the actual RFP. 13. Letter of intent for ARAMARK Higher Education services was signed by Dr. Hugine on Feb 9, 2010. 14. Contributions by ARAMARK Higher Education to enhance appearance of campus ($500K) and contributions (Investment) of $356K in custodial and ground equipment have reimbursement clauses and do not represent donor contributions.
Discussion and Analysis
FACT #1: A majority of the companies listed as attending the pre-bid meeting on Jan 8, 2010 declined to submit a bid for the Facilities Services Contract. Discussion: The following companies that attended the Jan 8, 2010 pre-bid meeting declined to submit a bid: Company (1): Johnson Control In a letter a dated Jan 19, 2010 Karen Henly Raymond/Solutions Design Leader with Johnson Control indicated Johnson control would not submit a response to the request for the following reasons: Historical Budget informatiion was not available related to repair history, maintenance records, actual expenditures on physical facilities . Ample time would be needed to review all invoices and repair costs to understand facilities operations ....
Ms Raymond also commented that with the tight response time, holiday schedules and inclement weather, there was not ample time to prepare a comprehensive response.
Company (2): GCA Services Group In a letter dated Jan 19, 2010 to Ms. Delois Hudson , David Edmonson Senior Sales Director stated: He did not believe it was in the best interest of either the company or Alabama A&M to submit a proposal at this time. An invitation was extended to inspect the university facilities during the holidays, no buildings or asset data was provided as a guide for such a survey. In spite of numerous requests from GCA, and several other companies to delay the due date, the university chose (for whatever reason) to stand firm on the due date (with weather and MLK Day delay) of Jan 19, 2010 - still not allowing adequate time to produce a valid proposal.
The RFP was issued by A&M on Dec 14, 2009 within four (4) days of the Christmas Holiday closing of the university. No building or asset data was provided as a guide for conducting a facilities survey. Without concrete facilities data, without any technical specifications, and without a clear statement of expectations it was their decision not to submit a proposal using incomplete and speculative information. Several of the data and information items that were not included in the RFP but were essential to producing a complete, valid proposal were as follows: (1) A complete employee listing ( positions, no names) with wages, and time in service (2) A list of capital assets ( i.e. boilers, chillers, HVACs equipment, vehicles) (3) A list of existing equipment available for use by the successful contractor ( i.e. tools, machinery, noncapital vehicles) (4) a current budget ( M&O) for the physical plant. (5) Preventive maintenance and work order histories (6) a listing of technical specifications for all service disciplines (7) No technical specifications were included in the RFP - service definitions were included but no definitions of outcomes or expectations are provided by AAMU. Without this critical direction there would be ho commonality of outcomes, or pricing in proposals submitted.
Company (3): Southern Management In a letter dated Jan 19, 2010 Edris Pledger - Director of operations wrote: ABM/Southern Management has decided not to pursue the Facilities Services Contract. at Alabama A&M. Request that due to the short response time given that the bid process be re-opened for all respondents for a period of at least three weeks. This additional time would allow for a thorough site survey for each vendor in order to ascertain the best and most effective processes to achieve A&M's goals.
Company(4) : Environmental Systems Corporation Ken Laney - VP of Business Development Letter Dated Jan 19, 2010 to Delores Hudson - Senior Buyer Purchasing Department Alabama A&M university. Ken Laney Wrote: The time restraints imposed prevents us from adequately assembling a proposal that incorporates the existing assets, required assets, scheduled maintenance, unscheduled maintenance and deferred maintenance requirements. Should the RFP be extended we would be interested in continuing the process necessary to provide a comprehensive and complete proposal that Alabama A&M deserves. Company (5): Service Solutions
Julie Dickey - Associate Director of Business Development Declined to bid because only had interest in Housekeeping services.
Company (6): Rite Way Barry Lowery - Sales Manger Letter Dated Jan 13, 2010 Wrote: We will have to decline the opportunity to provide a proposal at this time unless the university extends the due date twenty-five to thirty days; thereby allowing the necessary due diligence to supply you with a comprehensive proposal and plan to meet facility services needs. If the university decides to extend the bid date, please notify us and we will proceed as originally planned
Company( 7): Linc Alan B. Cristal - Director of Sales Letter dates Jan 12, 2010 Wrote: Linc must respectively decline to furnish a proposal to AAMU at this time and under the present circumstances, especially since we plan to self perform most of the requirements and needed services . The reasons are as follows:
Sufficient information has not been provided to us by AAMU Questions regarding the RFP have not been answered the time frame to present a well thought out, efficient, cost effective maintenance program for AAMU cannot be accomplished in the three working days or six (6) days if you count weekends and MLK Holiday remaining after the pre-proposal conference and subsequent cursory site tours of facilities.
FACT# 2. ARAMARK Higher Education was awarded the Facilities Services Contract at a cost of $3,866,112 but the contract ( as presented in the February 2010 Board meeting) was awarded at $4.8 Million . #2: The Certified Tabulation of Bids for The Facilities Services Contract were as follows: ARAMARK Higher Education : $3,866,112 Sodexho: $5 , 806,157 UNICCO UGL: $4,818,924 For some unknown reason ARAMARKs low bid of $3,866,112 finally ends as a $4.8 Million award without a rebidding to allow other companies to adjust their bids. On page 28 of the RFP it clearly states that during the proposal acceptance period all proposals remain valid for minimum of 90 days. No proposals maybe modified or withdrawn by the offeror during this period unless prior written notice is granted by the university.
I did not discover any letter of any other document or written communication that permitted a change in anyone's bid.
FACT #3 UNICCO UGL Company submitted a bid for the Facilities Services Contract in the amount of $4,818,924.
The certified Tabulation of Bids for the Facilities Services Contract was as follows for UNICCO UGL Company: UNICCO UGL: $4,818,924 It appears that the UNICCO UGL company bid is in line with the final award given to ARAMARK. There was no narrative in the bid papers to explain how the bid escalated to $4.8 million dollars and why wasn't UNICCO considered as low bidder? or what consideration was afforded UNICCO's Bid?
FACT#4. The solicitation was released on Dec 14, 20069 and bids were received on Jan 19, 2010 @ 2:00 pm CDT and certified by Delores Hudson.
It is clear from the numerous complaint letters submitted to Ms. Hudson and to Mr. Alexander that many of the companies responding to the RFP felt that more time should have afforded in order to prepare a thorough bid that would be fair to the university and to the respective companies. There remains now a question regarding why the letters were not responded to and why the time frames could not be extended to accommodate a significant pool of respondents.
FACTS#5 & 6 There is an RFP evaluations sheet used to rank companies . Companies are ranked in four (4) different categories and given a numerical rating ranging from 1-5 with 5 being the highest
rating. The sheet also contains a comment section. The names of the person conducting interview assigning points is not listed on the interview sheet. The RFP proposal evaluation sheet ranking are the sum of all categories and 10 interview questions
I was unable to determine the efficacy of the evaluation sheet and what purpose it served. There did not appear to be any standard objective set of rating criteria used by each of the evaluators to assign points. I was not able to look at the evalustion sheets and determine who had rated a particular company. Of course evaluators names should appear on rating sheets in case there is a dispute regarding a rating or if there is some misinterpretation of a rating then the actual rater would have to provide a response. If rater/evaluator's name is not on the sheet then clarifying questionable information could be difficult. FACTS#7&8 Companies that did not bid on the contract requested more time to respond to RFAP and their requests were denied. University Officials ignored requests by companies to extend time to allow a thorough review of university facilities, invoices and repair costs and time to conduct interviews with department heads and faculty top understand the critical needs of student life.
I found no evidence among papers or reports provided to me by the legal office that confirmed that any response were provided to companies that requested additional time to respond to RFP. FACT#9 Companies only had approximately one week to prepare bid for Facilities Services Contract RFP. Given the nature of the RFP and the technical information required to prepare a substantive bid it appears that one week to respond to the RFP was not adequate. The question of course is what or who was driving the rush to complete the bid process in such a short period of time? Was the university under some external mandate to have the bid completed within a certain time frame and who prohibited someone from favorably considering a request to extend the bid process so that more than half of the companies responding could have had a fair chance a submitting their bid.
FACT#10 Companies interested in bidding on the Facilities Services Contract were not provided with necessary documentation required to prepare a comprehensive competitive bid. Several companies submitted letters to Mr. Alexander stating that documentation needed to prepare a fair bid was not provided and in some instances no documentation was provided I did not see in the RFP documentation any response in writing to suggest that the requests of those companies requesting documentation was considered. FACT#11
RFP for the Facilities Services Contract was issued Dec 14, 2009 - pre- Proposal meeting Jan 8, 2010 - 10:00 am CDT - deadline for submitting questions _ proposal due date - Jan 15, 2010 2010 10:00 am CDT. ARAMARK Higher Education was the low bidder with $3,866,112 but the final award ended higher. Companies that did not submit bids complained they did not have enough time to obtain a fair assessment of crucial documents in order to prepare a bid that was fair and equitable to their company and Alabama A&M. The companies also complained that the time allocated to conduct a walk through inspection of the physical plant was not adequate. It appears ARAMARK Higher Education was able to conduct the necessary inspections of documents, physical plant and to satisfy other requirements necessary for them to become the low bidder. FACT#12 There was no indication that a new bid was prepared or that other companies were given an opportunity to re-bid based on an increase in the actual RFP. Although ARAMARK Higher Education won the Facilities Services Contract with a low bid of $3,866,112 the A&M budget line item for the award shows $4,818,924. There was no documentation in the RFP documents that I reviewed which showed that a new RFP was advertised nor an extension given to allow for the bid adjustments. FACT#13 Letter of intent for ARAMARK Higher Education services was signed by Dr. Hugine on Feb 9, 2010. Dr. Hugine signed the letter of intent committing the university to the Facilities Services Contract award to ARAMARK Higher Education prior to notifying the Alabama A&M University Trustee board of the particulars of the award. During the Feb 25, 2010 board
meeting Dr. Hugine presented cursory information on the Facilities Services Contract award and described the presentation as an information item. FACT#14 Contributions by ARAMARK Higher Education to enhance appearance of campus ($500K) and contributions (Investment) of $356K in custodial and ground equipment have reimbursement clauses and do not represent donor contributions. Contributions that are made by ARAMARK Higher Education for equipment and custodial upgrades ( Nearly $1 Million dollars) will have to be reimbursed if according to the language in the RFP which states "Upon expiration or termination of the agreement by either party for any reason A&M agrees to reimburse ARAMARK for the unamortized balance of the $500K investment" . the same language is used to cover the investment of $356K in custodial and ground equipment .
I started my review of the administration's award of a Facilities Services Contract to gain a clear understanding of how RFP's are executed and processed at the university. I initially inquired of Mr. Kevin Rolle ( Assistant to the President) regarding to whom I should speak to understand how the Facilities Contract was Awarded and Mr. Rolle stated that he was not involved with the contract and didn't know. I spoke to Mr. Charlie Rucker ( Former Vice-President Business & Finance) regarding to whom I should speak to understand how the Facilities Contract was Awarded and he stated that he was not involved in the Facilities Services Contract but it was being handled in the President's Office. In my view it is imperative that each appointed trustee be aware of how the business of awarding contracts is handled at A&M. It is important to know and understand the RFP process because the university is party to numerous contracts that translate into millions of dollars that are expended to insure that adequate goods and services are made available to accommodate our student body. Trustees are held accountable by statue for the amount of money that is expended for goods and services consumed by the university and more importantly is held accountable for how it is expended. This review has caused me to wonder and question the methodology used with the Facilities Services Contract and to want to gain clarity on the current administration's philosophy on Requests for Proposals. For example a significant number of companies wrote letters complaining to the administration about the lack of information provided by the university that was crucial to preparing a competitive bid but their requests were ignored. The administration also ignored requests by companies to extend the time for final bid submission although all of the requests identified substantive and critical reasons to justify their requests for an extension.
Assertions by the administration during its presentation during the February 2010 board meeting that
ARAMARK Higher Education was somehow donating funds to upgrade equipment and to do other upgrades at the tune of approximately one-million dollars omitted the universities liability if the contract expires or is terminated for any reason by either party. Information that translates into exceptions and possible future expenditures of hundreds of thousands of dollars for future current and future administrations should be stated clearly and with transparency. In today's environment of budget cuts, dwindling resources, and strict accountability, we as trustees are required to know and understand how funds are being spent and if they are being spent for the right reasons. We cannot delegate financial oversight and review to someone , or some agency but fiduciary oversight rests with each of us. We must know beyond any doubt that any contract that is awarded from Alabama A&M University has been thoroughly vetted and every action associated with it is transparent. We must create a board level review of selected contracts that is consistent with our role as trustees and fulfills our obligations as a protector or the Alabama A&M University
The following Recommendations are made: That, a permanent board level Contract Review Committee with a permanent chair position be appointed to oversee Contracts. The Committee would develop the guidelines for which contracts would be reviewed prior to an award. That, the President Pro Tempore appoint a committee to obtain more details on the awarding of the Facilities Management Contract to ARAMARK Higher Education. This committee should not include any members from the budget and finance committee.. The committee should include one person with a legal background.. or Submit A request to the Alabama Department of Public Accounts within next 15 days requesting a review of the Facilities Contract Services Award. That, the President provide the board with a list of all contracts that have been signed since he was selected as president and provide a monthly list each month for any additional contacts that are signed.
1. When did ARAMARK Higher Education conduct its full site survey and what did that involve. 2. What prevented other companies from conducting site review. 3. What is meant by this statement " Any year one cost that are over the targeted plan will be direct bill as transition costs to Alabama A&M. ( Year one costs planned $3,866,112) 4. What is meant by this statement " ARAMARK Higher Education will review any expected maintenance occurrences and those costs will be deemed a project or capital project and funds will be allocated from other A&M Sources?" 5. Explain the annual donation of $10,000 made to A&M Scholarships. 6. Explain "Any property purchased for A&M shall be on a sale for resale to the client." 7. Has a notice to proceed been issued to ARAMARK Higher Education : when, who issued it? 8. Will ARAMARK Higher Education have any subcontractors for this contract? Who are the subcontractors and where are they from? What work have they done for other universities ? 9. Is contract a firm fixed unit price contract? If so what does that mean? 10. Why did North Star Cleaning & Waste Gone only Bid on custodial work - could either company bidding have won only the portion of the contract. 11. A maximum of 20 points could be received for financial proposal - explain how a company could receive points for this item.
COMPANIES THAT SIGNED UP ON PRE-BID MEETING SHEET
Lee Company Rite Way Service Al Lawn Master Linc Facility Service, LLC Sodexho GCA Services Group Datacom Solutions , Inc. River Country Development, Inc. Service Essential Systems, Corp Southern Building MTR Environmental Systems Corp Johnson's Controls, Inc. ARAMARK Higher Education ARAMARK Waste B Gone UNICCO Adams Brown Services
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