Vendors protest turf contract: Roswell went with highest bidder

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ROSWELL, Ga. – The three losing bidders for Roswell’s artificial turf fields have come together to protest the city’s decision to bypass their offers for one costing $500,000 more.

Atlanta-based Sprinturf joined with Deluxe Athletics and Sports Turf in protest of the city’s decision to go with North Carolina-based Medallion Athletics. They contend the process was flawed and want the roughly $2.9 million contract re-bid.

At issue was the process completed by city staffers tasked with finding a vendor for the turf fields in several Roswell parks. Because of the specialized nature of installing synthetic fields, the city needed a contractor with the proper experience, and weighted this need accordingly in the vetting process. Cost, however, was not given as high a priority, and the staffers were not made aware of the costs of each bid until after they had allegedly made their choice of vendor.

Medallion Athletics, based out of North Carolina, was the winning bid out of seven bidders. Their bid was just over $3 million for the contract, much higher than the average bids of the others, which came in at about $2.6 million.

Georgia-based Sprinturf contends that, not only were the specifications for the project imprecise, but the costs for the bids were revealed earlier in the selection process than city officials maintain.

The city has maintained the process was fair. Using a point-value system, the team assembled by the city evaluated the proposals received and chose Medallion for quality over price. Cost was weighted to 20 percent of the total point value.

Medallion bid at $3.1 million, while the next three came in at between $2.5 and $2.6 million.

At their Jan. 14 meeting, the mayor and Roswell City Council approved the contract with Medallion in a 5-1 vote, with only Councilmember Betty Price voting against it.

The three losing bidders have requested the contract be re-bid.

“[We] ask that this project be re-bid with independent oversight by a professional architect,” wrote Trent Moore, a regional sales manager for Sprinturf and Roswell resident, in a letter to the mayor and council.

Money for the turf fields was approved in the November bond referendum, with $2 million earmarked. Combined with city money, about $3.5 million was potentially available.

Under Roswell rules, the protest will go before the city’s purchasing manager.