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County Board committee upholds appeal of snow removal bid

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – An Elburn landscaping company appears poised to have again secured a contract for snow removal in Mill Creek, after it argued that Kane County officialshad improperly awarded the contract to a competitor.

Countywide Landscaping Inc., of Elburn, for two years had been contracted by Kane County, through the Mill Creek Special Service Area, to remove snow on public property maintained by the SSA within Mill Creek.

But last month, Kane County employees overseeing purchasing and contracts opted to award the contract for the upcoming season to Campton Snow Plowing, also of Elburn, for $29,000.

That decision prompted a protest by Countywide’s president Brian Larsen, who alleged in written correspondence from his lawyer to county officials that the contract was awarded improperly. In the letters, Larsen noted his $24,000 bid was the lowest submitted.

Through his lawyer, Larsen also argued his previous work had been “performed as promised with no complaints.”

Larsen alleged that county officials attempted “to leave Countywide out of the bid process” and that he believed a county official overseeing the bid process “may have a personal relationship” with the successful vendor.

Larsen appeared before the County Board Development Committee last week to appeal the staff decision.

Larsen did not present proof to back his assertions of improper behavior.

In response, county staff said Larsen’s performance was “inadequate,” claiming they had received five complaints over eight snow and ice events last year at Mill Creek.

However, they did not present documentation of those complaints to the committee.

The arguments left board members scrambling for answers, and some noted the case appeared to be a matter of “he-said-he-said.”

Ultimately, the committee members voted to grant Larsen’s appeal and award him the contract. While contractors protest and appeal contract awards from time to time, only in rare instances are such appeals granted.

While the matter may yet need to go before the full County Board for a vote, county staff told the committee they would change their decision and grant the contract to Countywide.

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