Opinion

EDITORIAL: 10 points = $20,000

Ten points — that appears to be the basis for spending $20,000 extra and awarding a Vancouver Island-based company the contract to supply office furniture to the soon to be renovated Regional District of Central Kootenay, rather than going with a cheaper, local supplier.

Both Cowan Office Supply of Nelson and Total Office of Kelowna submitted bids that were between $13,000 and $20,000 cheaper than the eventual winner, Graphic Office Interiors Ltd.

But the RDCK decided to go with the more expensive bid, which scored 10 points higher on an evaluation scale out of a total of 1,250 points.

A three-member staff team used a scoring system of up to 500 points for price, 450 for specifications and technical requirements, 250 for contractor performance and services, and 50 for value added for a total 1,250.

If you scale that down to a percentage, the difference in scoring between the winning bid and two lower bids was less than one per cent (0.8 to be precise). For that, the RDCK said no to a local company and yes to spending an extra $20,000?

Is a 0.8 per cent improvement in quality and service really worth an extra $20,000 considering the original projected cost of the renovations was between $400,000 to $600,000 and the bill has already grown to $662,000 before taxes? (That new price includes some extras not originally planned, but is still within the amount sitting in a building reserve.)

It’s hard to say: the detailed scoring summary hasn’t been made public and so far the regional district hasn’t explained why a higher bidder was its preferred option. Nor did directors ask many questions about it at their board meeting last week.

Maybe there are reasons to award the contract to Graphic Office, but so far no one is explaining them.

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