08.20.14 - 2:00 pm – In an unprecedented move regarding emergency medical services in Morrow County, Commissioners Miller, Whiston and Harden today voted to reject all EMS proposals received in April and begin the bidding process all over again.
Controversy raised over the choice of bidders by EMS employees and officials on August 11 prompted commissioners to meet with Morrow County Prosecutor Charles Howland. Opposers charged the executive session held in early June between the commissioners, the Morrow County Sheriff and MedFlight - two weeks before their proposal was accepted - was not legal. A three hour session between the commissioners, firefighters, EMS personnel and board members raised questions as to how the choice of bidders was reached.
They’re starting from scratch.
“This is to accept bids for the service - there is no (Request for Proposals),” Commissioner Tom Whiston stated. “There are no specific requirements.”
The commissioners said they are still looking for many of the provisions they asked for in the original RFP.
“But, from the standpoint of stipulations, we’re not going to [make any],” he noted. “Whoever wants to submit a bid - or multiple bids for different variables - can submit a bid.”
“I think it is a wise move to reject all the bids and start this over,” said meeting attendee Warren Davis. “I applaud you for that.”
“From the standpoint of clarification, I think it’s going to simplify things,” Whiston explained. “I think there was confusion from the standpoint of the RFP, and the process. I think it’s going to be pretty much as it’s been done in the past, put out for bid for the [EMS] services and the 911 [services]. We’re not going to constrain. I think this is the best way - the process that we have is simple and straightforward now; no one can have a question as to the process we’re pursuing.”
“The RFP was very open and transparent and we said what we wanted, said Miller. “It didn’t seem to play too well in certain areas, so we’ll see what the [new] bids are. Whatever comes in, comes in.”
“I think this is probably the fairest way and the best way,” Commissioner Tom Harden stated. “We’ve had a lot of questions from the public and this will probably clarify a lot of questions by starting over.”
The commissioners pointed out the EMS contract expires when the emergency services levy does (every five years) so there is never of chance of having a contract without the finances to support it.
The proposed 0.5 mill additional levy for this fall’s ballot is intended for capital improvements (facilities and equipment). It can be removed before the election if commissioners feel it is not needed after they review the new bids. The 2 mill renewal levy is intended for standard operating costs.
Bids for Emergency Ambulance Services/911 Emergency Telephone Services will be received until 11:00 a.m. on September 10, 2014 at the office of the Morrow County Commissioners, 80 N. Walnut Street, Ste. A, Mount Gilead.