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Council to hear from three MRF firms as city rejects TDS’ end run

Thursday, May 13, 2010 by Mark Richardson

The city attorney’s office informed Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) Wednesday that it remains disqualified from the city’s process to find a company to build a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). City Council is scheduled to hear presentations this morning from three firms selected by city staff from those who submitted bid proposals to build a MRF.


The city issued a request for proposal last year for companies to present bids for constructing a MRF for the city to handle the recycling materials it collects in its Single Stream recycling program. Bob Gregory, chairman and CEO of TDS, had offered – outside the RFP process – to amend his company’s 30-year waste disposal contract with the city to provide the city recycling services at no charge. (See In Fact Daily, Feb. 24, 2010)


Gregory said his attorney received a letter late Wednesday from Assistant City Attorney Cary Grace that, he said, restated the city’s earlier position that TDS was disqualified from the RFP process, and that its contract amendment offer violated the city’s regulations. 


”We’re extremely disappointed and we totally disagree with the city attorney’s position,” Gregory said. “They seem to be bound and determined to make sure that we are not considered by the City Council as an alternative to the RPF proposals that will be heard (today).”


In February, Gregory’s company was about to be disqualified from the RFP process for violating city lobby regulations when it voluntarily withdrew and made the contract amendment offer. However, City Attorney David Smith ruled that the city could not consider portions of the TDS proposal because it could have been viewed as a response to the city’s request for proposal for the MRF.


Gregory called the city’s position hypocritical.


“They (the city attorney’s office) went on to say that the city, by law, cannot consider an amendment to the contract because it’s the same subject as the RFP,” Gregory said, paraphrasing the letter he was sent. “However, for about four months, they did everything in their power to get the City Council to approve an amendment to the existing contract with Greenstar, who is an RFP respondent.”


Gregory said TDS is considering its legal options in the matter and will likely be forced to challenge the decision.


“We will evaluate this and take whatever action is necessary to protect our legal position,” he said. “Now they have clarified that we are disqualified. According to their rules, if you are disqualified more than once, they can bar you from bidding on any contracts for up to three years. So I have no choice; I have to challenge it. We clearly were not a respondent and they disqualified us before we had a chance to respond.”


Council members are scheduled to hear presentations at today’s meeting from the top three among eight firms that submitted proposals to the city to build a MRF. Solid Waste Services Director Bob Gedert said Wednesday night that the names of the finalists would be released early Thursday, shortly before Council hears the presentations.

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