Guest Column: Park District responds: Green roof project awarded fairly

By Stacie Talbert
Chief Financial Officer, Rockford Park District

Kyle Martinson

Purchasing Manager, Rockford Park District

and Tim Dimke

Executive Director, Rockford Park District

In regard to the article in The Rock River Times titled “Nicholas Conservatory’s green roof contract: Does it pay to play?” (May 9-15 issue), the Rockford Park District would like to respond.

The Park District is governed by the Park District Code and the Illinois Compiled Statutes — Public Contracts, which requires all contracts for supplies, material or work involving an expenditure greater than $20,000 be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. There are exceptions to this law, such as utilities, telecommunication and computer supplies/services, professional services and other specific contracts for services outlined in the law. In the case of the Nicholas Conservatory green roof project, it was subject to the Public Contracts law and the lowest responsible bidder ordinance.

The Rockford Park District goes to great lengths to be in compliance with all laws, rules and regulations that govern the Park District and our operations. Additionally, the district prides itself in being transparent and above board about all information and processes, including financial and procurement operations. The Park District was following state statutes and laws surrounding public contracts and the lowest responsible bidder laws.

To make perfectly clear, the financial commitment made by the Winnebago County Board through Resolution 2011-R-8, passed 18-8 Aug. 11, 2011, for the county to provide $800,000 from landfill host-fees contributed only to the second phase of construction at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. Phase II at the Conservatory is all outdoor projects that include gardens, walkways, fountains, parking and boat docks. All Phase I construction was completed through funds received by private donations (97 percent) and state grants (3 percent). None of the host-fees were ever used in the Phase I construction of the Conservatory, which included all work performed by Christiansen, Inc.

Christiansen, Inc., did not receive any work on the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens project through the landfill host-fee agreement.

The district issued a Request for Bids for the Nicholas Conservatory green roof to more than 56 companies. The bid required certain roof specifications, including a minimum of a one-year warranty. All vendors that responded, Christiansen, Inc., McDermaid Roofing & Insulating, and Carlson Roofing were all deemed to be responsible bidders and met the district’s established specifications, terms of delivery, quality and serviceability set forth in the bid request. With all vendors meeting the specifications outlined in the bid request, the contract was awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, Christiansen, Inc.

The language in the Request for Bid stated “the Rockford Park District does not award on price alone” is only used as secondary criteria in the event vendors respond with the same exact pricing.

All Rockford Park District team members take our responsibilities with regards to transparent and open procurement operations very seriously, and strive daily to ensure all legal requirements are met in a fair and unbiased manner, and be excellent stewards of public funds. Anyone wishing to review any and all bid specifications and bid results with any Park District project may do so at any time. Just call us!

From the May 23-29, 2012, issue

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