Lawyer reports on Martinsville’s $564,130 no-bid, no-contract project

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Indianapolis broadcaster WRTV-6 reports that a Bloomington-based lawyer has investigated a no-bid no-bid, no-contract deal that cost the City of Martinsville half a million dollars. However, while the report indicated that proper procurement practices were not followed, Roberts Construction delivered the work and there are no concerns about its quality, the lawyer concluded.

William Beggs of law firm Gunger & Robertson followed up on the broadcaster’s investigation a year ago into how the city paid the contractor $564,130 during 2017 without a bid and without a contract to perform sidewalk improvement, concrete work, and vegetation excavation.

“We were made aware of no evidence of a bidding procedure of any kind, of a quote procedure of any kind, of the solicitation of at least three quotes for work eventually performed by Roberts, of the availability of plans and specifications for review by bidders, or that there was any open and public awarding of work to Roberts,” Beggs said in his report to the council.

Beggs said doing so put the city at a financial risk.

“Some of the effects of these deficiencies were that Martinsville had no written contractual remedies in the event of non-performance, and Martinsville had no evidence of insurance or any assurance of ability to satisfy damages in the event of claims,” Beggs said.

Beggs also said the city council’s concern over the matter prompted the City of Martinsville to improve its policies and procedures in a city report released in May.

Beggs’ report criticized the city administration for not responding to council’s questions about Roberts construction dating back to mid-2017, the broadcaster reported.

“We conclude that it is regrettable that the city administration was not forthcoming with responses to requests for information about sidewalks that started as early as the summer of 2017,” Beggs wrote. “It seems to use the better course would have been to address the requests, identify the non-compliances early, and correct them promptly so as to dispose of this problem much sooner and without the Council being left with no choice to take the action it eventually took.”

However, Beggs said he did not find any evidence that Martinsville was charged for work that was not performed nor did he find complaints about the contractor’s work quality.

The report ended with a recommendation for the city to follow the procurement practices outlined in the city report released in May.

The city review suggested Martinsville make numerous changes including establishing rules for purchases of services, setting up specification policies, and designating city departments as separate purchasing agencies.

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