Today is Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Did we get the wool pulled over our eyes?

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If they were accrued as Hewlett-Spencer has applied its bidding technique in the case of the proposed Lebanon High School by cutting square footage and eliminating certain amenities in the original specifications, then perhaps taxpayers didn’t get such a good deal.

And if they were true savings resulting from good management practices or whatever, then perhaps Hewlett-Spencer didn’t do such a good job initially estimating the cost of construction.

The more we save sounds good on the surface. But looking more closely it may not be all it’s cracked-up to be.

This gives cause for county government to take a long hard look at the bid process that has been applied to the new Lebanon High School.

Is it right for Hewlett-Spencer to be awarded the bid for this project when other contractors participating in the process were not treated equally?

Instead of bidding the proposed Lebanon High School on the specifications and details as required in official bidding documents, Hewlett-Spencer made a number of changes including eliminating a geothermal heating and cooling system (valued by one contractor at more than $3 million), reducing the amount of square footage of the proposed new school, changing flooring and lighting requirements and making other significant changes.

The result was that the Hewlett-Spencer bid was less than the others participating, but wouldn’t that be expected? After all, Hewlett-Spencer was not bidding on the school proposed by the Board of Education but rather on a school, smaller in size with cheapened amenities, a school proposed by Hewlett-Spencer.

This is troubling.

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