Cecil County Allows Late Bid from Chestertown Trapper on Animal Control Contract; Missed Deadline but County to Permit Bid to Proceed

October 5, 2015

Cecil County officials acknowledged Monday that they received a late bid, after the 1:30 PM Thursday 10/1/15 deadline for submission of bids on a new Animal Control contract, from a Chestertown pest removal company but decided to allow the late submission to be accepted and reviewed for the 18-month contract. Three other bidders complied with the deadline and were announced as the only official bidders at a bid opening meeting.

Al Wein, the county Director of Administration, told Cecil Times on Monday that the tardy vendor, Wildlife Damage Control, phoned the county procurement office shortly before the deadline and said they would be late because “They didn’t know that the Sassafras River bridge was closed.” The bridge is the dividing line between Cecil and Kent counties.

The closing of the bridge for several weeks was widely announced in local media and through multiple signs posted throughout Kent County highways for the past several months.

Cecil Times was present for the official bid opening last Thursday, when it was announced that there were three official bidders after David Pyle, the county purchasing officer, opened three packets that had been submitted. Those bidders were A Buddy for Life, Inc., the current contractor; Cecil County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc., the former contractor for many years until the Buddies were given a three year contract costing taxpayers over $2.24 million by the old “Three Amigos” majority of the County Commissioners moments before the board went out of existence; and the First State Animal Center and SPCA, in Camden, DE.

[SEE previous CECIL TIMES article here: http://ceciltimes.com/2015/10/three-groups-bid-on-cecil-county-animal-control-council-backs-down-on-citizen-control-of-advisory-panel/ ]

Also attending the meeting were Mark Unger, the new fleet manager and purchasing manager for the county; an aide in the purchasing office; County Attorney Jason Allison; County Councilor Alan McCarthy (R-1); County Council manager James Massey; and Jeanne Deeming, executive director of the Cecil County SPCA.

The bid opening began in the second floor Perryville Room at the county administration building in Elkton about 15 minutes after the 1:30 P.M. deadline for submissions, and Pyle phoned to his downstairs office to make sure all bids had been received. The process of opening the three bids that were submitted and the formal announcement of the official bidders took until about 2 P.M.

In a statement issued by the administration of County Executive Tari Moore on Monday, the sequence of events declared that the Wildlife Damage Control trapper phoned the purchasing office at 1:14 p.m. to say he would be late due to the bridge closure. The statement says the trapper’s bid was submitted to the purchasing office at 2:08 p.m. along with a written letter stating the bridge closing and detour as the reason for the belated bid submission.

(Cecil Times has driven the detour from Route 301 and via Wards Hill road it adds about three or four miles to the trip to re-connect with Route 213 that leads to Elkton.)

During the official bid opening proceeding, there was no mention that another bid was expected after the deadline or the phone call from the trapper. The only announcement of the post-deadline bid submission was in a sheet posted on the county website at least a day or more after the formal proceeding. That sheet did not disclose that the trapper submitted a late bid and the document lists the time of the bid opening as 1:30 p.m.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) is very clear on the requirement for compliance with the bid submission deadline. “No proposal will be accepted after 1:30 PM and all proposals shall be delivered to the Purchasing Office…”

Wein told Cecil Times that he consulted with the county attorney, purchasing office officials, and Winston Robinson, the county Director of Finance, before they all agreed to allow the late bid to be considered.

The statement from the County Executive’s office on Monday stated that “The Purchasing Department has historically accepted mildly late proposals in specific instances where tardy submission is due to road construction, road closures, accidents and inclement weather; this policy promotes purchasing fairness and helps assure that the County receives services at reasonable prices. Purchasing also reviews the circumstances and timing to assure that there was not a reasonable possibility that the bid could have been changed after the bid opening process began. After reviewing the circumstances, the County determined that Wildlife Damage Control was not privy to substantive information related to proposals submitted, and did not have time to alter its own proposal prior to submission.”

Meanwhile, the RFP for animal control/animal sheltering services or just animal sheltering services also included an option for someone to offer a building for sale to the county with the local government then owning an animal shelter/animal control facility. Only one local bidder—the Cecil County SPCA—owns its own shelter facility, a 12 acre property and large kennel facility in Chesapeake City. It was not known if that was an option entertained by the SPCA. The Delaware facility owns its shelter but is under current contracts to also provide animal services in its home state and would be unlikely to sell its facility to an out of state government.

According to documents obtained by Cecil Times, Moore has met with Mary Thompson, who owns the Rainwood Kennels in Elkton with her husband, retired Cecil County Circuit Court Judge Dexter Thompson, that are currently being rented by A Buddy for Life, Inc., the current county contractor, for $15,000 a month plus utilities. Thompson did not attend a “mandatory” pre-RFP bid meeting. But the county often conducts real estate negotiations in secret, citing loopholes in state Open Meeting laws for “negotiations” on business matters.

Sources have told Cecil Times that sale of the Rainwood Kennels to the county was discussed at the meeting with Moore earlier this year. If the county were to cut a deal to buy the Rainwood facility—and then possibly getting a temporary shelter operator to run services there for the next 18 months—the county could advance a plan for government-run animal control that Moore has clearly been entertaining for over a year. One such scenario would be for Moore to buy the facility on an installment plan while getting a temporary operator for an 18-months duration of the current animal control RFP. Getting a cheap bid for a temporary animal control operator for the interim could facilitate such an initiative.

However, the Rainwood Kennels facility has been faulted by McCarthy, a licensed veterinarian who made an unannounced inspection of the site over a year ago and pronounced it a “mess.” Former volunteers with the Buddies group also complained that an upstairs animal holding area where dogs were confined in wire crates lacked air conditioning in summer heat and lacked running water for sanitation.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to Cecil County Allows Late Bid from Chestertown Trapper on Animal Control Contract; Missed Deadline but County to Permit Bid to Proceed

  1. Donna Moore on October 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Just when one thinks that just maybe this animal control conspiracy is coming to an end, “wham” another plot rises and adds to the conspiracy theory. Isn’t it just a little bit convenient that someone came up with the bridge excuse and the rampant rumors for months that Queen Tari had been entertaining the purchase of Rainwood Kennel from the good old boy circuit court judge for $500,000. You just can’t make this stuff up.

    So, let’s see how much more of this conspiracy will play out. Shall we take bets that the trapper has the lowest bid, the least amount of experience with animal care, animal control and sheltering and has a questionable excuse for a late bid which clearly makes that bid ineligible– but still gets the contract. Who’s in?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Fine Maryland Wines
Proudly made in Cecil County