The Board of Selectmen discussed accepting a bid for security services at Weed and Pear Tree beaches after the lowest bidder was forced to withdraw and the second lowest bidder had performed poorly in the past.

Under the town charter a bid can be skipped over as long as a full report is given by the First Selectman at the next BOS meeting. Town Administrator Karl Kilduff said the town wanted to skip over the second-lowest bid they received for security services because the company had previously provided sub-par services in 2006 and 2007. Kilduff also noted the charter requires the town accepts a bid proposal that is submitted by the "lowest responsive and responsible bidder."

"Those two words, responsive and responsible, are key," Kilduff said. "It isn't just about who submits the lowest bid."

According to a memo from James Coghlan, assistant director of parks and recreation, the company with the second-lowest bid presented a number of issues for the town.

"We had many issues with their personnel failing to show for scheduled shifts and leaving their posts throughout their shifts," Coghlan wrote in the memo. "We also had a situation with their personnel which required the Darien Police Department's involvement. For these reasons regarding responsiveness, we are asking to step over this bid and award the contract to the next bidder."

Coghlan also wrote that the company that submitted the third-lowest bid had provided security services in 2010 and the town was satisfied with the quality of the service.

Democratic Selectman David Bayne asked what the price difference between the second- and third-lowest bidders was and Kilduff said the difference was fairly small but still within the amount budgeted for security.

Bayne also questioned whether any discussions took place with the company that submitted the second-lowest bid to find out if they had taken any actions to rectify the problems the town experienced with them in the past.

"We do reference checks every year and we expect a positive one and not a negative one," Kilduff said. "My sense was that there was no desire on the part of the town to even try to work with (bid) number two."

Democratic Selectman John Lundeen asked Kilduff if the previous issues with the company that submitted the second-lowest bid were due to an errant employee and whether those issues could have been addressed by the company's management. However, Kilduff said the company didn't provide any evidence it addressed the problems.

Bayne suggested for future reference, the difference in the price for the bids should be provided to the BOS.

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