Unicoi County Commission to consider redo of request for bids on ambulance service

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 10, 2019 at 11:43 PM

ERWIN — The Unicoi County Commission will conduct a called meeting to decide if the county’s request for ambulance service contract proposals should be put back out for bid.

The meeting was recommended by the commission’s Ambulance Committee Thursday after a review of concerns about how the county’s latest request for contract proposals was handled, and why the county’s current provider, MedicOne Medical Response, was the only company to submit a bid. 

The concerns were first presented to County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely last week by Johnny Day, a former candidate for the mayor’s office, who said the request for proposals was not forwarded to two companies that previously visited the county to express interest in bidding.

On Thursday, Day introduced representatives of both companies to the committee members and repeated his assertion that while the request for bids met the requirements of law, it “was unfair” to the two companies and to county and its residents.

Committee Chairman John Mosley read a letter to the committee from Commissioner Todd Wilcox, who could not attend Thursday’s meeting but who requested a called meeting for the full commission to consider putting the contract back out for bid. In his letter, Wilcox said he had contacted the two ambulance services referenced by Day and verified their interest in bidding on the contract.

Committee member Glenn White made the motion to send the matter to the full commission for a vote, saying he had assumed the former mayor’s office would get the information to the interested companies when the commission approved putting the contract out for bid. “We as a committee need to call a meeting of the commission and decide if we want to put this back out to bid and I make that motion.”

White said the correct process would have been to call the companies that had expressed interested to see if they were still interested and to get their correct contact information. “We need to make sure they get the information and that nothing like this ever happens again.

Commissioner Marie Rice, who also serves on the three-person committee, seconded the motion.

Rice said the committee should have been in contact with John Dabbs, an emergency medical service consultant for the state, throughout its deliberations on the request for contract proposal and concluded, “This committee did not do its due diligence.”

The committee approved the motion to send the matter to the full commission by voice vote.

Josh Logan, area operations manager for MedicOne, told the committee that if the contract is readvertised for bids, competing companies know the amount MedicOne has bid and will be able to bid lower.

Day suggested the county rewrite the contract request so that all interested companies will be starting fresh.

A date for the called meeting of the full commission had not been set when the meeting concluded and the seven county commissioners present went directly into a closed meeting with County Attorney Doug Shults.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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