Contractor cries foul after city rescinds contract
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — A local contractor is upset after the city initially accepted the company’s bid for work on the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library and Community Center project but then rebid the work and awarded it to a different business.
The bidding process for the new library and community center has been bumpy, with many aspects of the project rebid multiple times in 2015 for various reasons, including once because bids were based on a project that was 6,000-square-feet larger than plans originally intended.
After going through the rebidding process three times, Carl’s Landscape Service Inc. of Arpin was awarded the bid for landscape work on the library and community center project in September of 2015. The bid was for $41,340.
However, on April 18 of this year, that contract was rescinded by the city’s board of public works, and on May 2 the board approved motions to rebid — for a fourth time — the landscape contract and “to find that Carl’s Landscape Service Inc. is not a responsible bidder due to their past history with the city of Marshfield, showing their inability to submit the required contract, bonds, and proof of insurance within required timeframes,” according to city documents.
On Monday the board of public works voted to approve a bid by Central Wisconsin Landscape for the work at a bid price of $47,617. Carl’s Landscape’s bid was not opened by the city in the latest round of bidding.
“Their inability to provide the contract documents within the time frame required calls into question, for me at least, their ability to complete tasks on time,” Director of Public Works Dan Knoeck said at the May 2 meeting. He added that in September of 2015 Carl’s Landscape was notified that the company was awarded the bid and asked to return “contract documents” within 20 days. As of April 1, 2016, Carl’s Landscape still had not submitted the documents. The city then mailed Carl’s Landscape a notice that the contract would be rescinded, and shortly thereafter Carl’s Landscape sent in the contract documents, according to Knoeck.
“They were complete however seven months late, and that’s certainly not the kind of action you’d expect out of a responsible bidder,” Knoeck said. A similar scenario, Knoeck added, played out between the city and Carl’s Landscape in 2009 with the construction of the new fire station, but the city did not ultimately rescind the contract in that case.
Darrell Kasner, the president and owner of Carl’s Landscape, spoke at the June 6 public works meeting, saying that he was “puzzled” by the board’s action and felt mistreated.
“I guess I was kind of a little dumbfounded when I got that letter (from the city stating his company’s contract would be rescinded). I’ve never experienced this type of stuff before, and I’ve worked for a lot of different other cities,” Kasner said. He said that his company was in contact with Boson Company Inc., the construction manager for the library and community center project, “all the way along.”
“No one from the city of Marshfield called me and talked to me personally,” Kasner said. “Yes, we should have had our contract in, but I didn’t realize that, that was a big issue.”
Knoeck said that while the city was not in contact with Carl’s Landscape, Boson was and on numerous occasions asked for the required documents.
“The construction manager (Boson) was told everything was coming, and that should have been sufficient,” Kasner said.
“I feel kind of mistreated the way this all went down here,” Kasner said. He noted that he was asked to donate to the library project, and his way of doing that was through his bid, offering a lower price than he normally would.
The city, Knoeck said on Monday, was far enough along on the library and community center project that the landscape plans could now be enhanced after some features were originally scaled back, which Kasner took exception to.
“This is nothing but a game-playing process,” Kasner said. “Through the whole process we were just left out in the dark.”
“Never have I ever been treated in this type of fashion,” Kasner added.
City Administrator Steve Barg said that Kasner has spoken with an attorney about this situation but has not talked specifically to Barg about litigation.