LC Port Authority…….to bid or not to bid, that is the flipping question!

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While reviewing the Ohio Revised Code (yes, community activists have no life and read the ORC for entertainment), we found this interesting tidbit regarding the need for public bids on construction contracts by a port authority.

Oh, by the way, the Lake County Port Authority Board of Trustees, led by their illustrious leader Mr. Mark Rantala from Rocky River, Cuyahoga County, (it really should be the Board leading the parade, but we digress) perhaps knew what they were doing when they passed their original resolution authorizing the “Better Flip” project.  Guess what they set the original estimate of the “not to exceed” project costs?  If you said $150,000, you win the prize!  Do you think Markie and the boys apparently knew that no public bidding is required for port authority projects totaling $150,000 or less?  Or, perhaps, they just got lucky…..yes, that must be it, they just got lucky!

Here is a News-Herald article dated April 7, 2018……note that this project was deemed as one of the most important undertakings by Mr. Rantala as the Port’s Executive Director.

https://www.news-herald.com/news/ohio/better-flip-project-in-willowick-may-start-date-eyed/article_ae1d20cc-5f34-5e3d-bee1-c460c075d7e1.html

Now what happens when the construction costs are now at $299,000 and counting? Are public bids needed?  If not, then this whole section of the ORC is a sham, since all projects could be set at an initial price of $150,000. Could there have been an attempt to bypass the whole competitive bidding process?  Not sure, we will let the State decide.

We were also wondering about all those contractors they used.  Are they properly registered with the city, and county, and are they legal or illegal residents?  We do not know because we cannot get the information.

Stay tuned, there is much more to this sordid tale.

Here is the Ohio Revised Code dealing with public bidding of contracts for the Port Authority:

4582.12 Procedure for bidding and contracts.

(A)

(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (E) of section 307.671 of the Revised Code, division (A) of this section does not apply to a port authority educational and cultural facility acquired, constructed, and equipped pursuant to a cooperative agreement entered into under section 307.671 of the Revised Code.

(2) Except as provided in division (C) of this section or except when the port authority elects to construct a building, structure, or other improvement pursuant to a contract made with a construction manager at risk under sections 9.33 to 9.335 of the Revised Code or with a design-build firm under sections 153.65 to 153.73 of the Revised Code, when the cost of a contract for the construction of any building, structure, or other improvement undertaken by a port authority involves an expenditure exceeding one hundred fifty thousand dollars and the port authority is the contracting entity, the port authority shall make a written contract after notice calling for bids for the award of the contract has been given by publication twice, with at least seven days between publications, in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the jurisdiction of the port authority. Each such contract shall be let to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder in accordance with section 9.312 of the Revised Code. Every contract let shall be in writing and if the contract involves work or construction, it shall be accompanied by or shall refer to plans and specifications for the work to be done, prepared for and approved by the port authority, signed by an authorized officer of the port authority and by the contractor, and shall be executed in triplicate.

Each bid shall be awarded in accordance with sections 153.54153.57, and 153.571 of the Revised Code.

The port authority may reject any and all bids.”

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  11. We are going to pursue this with the State of Ohio…..let them decide…

  12. On the surface, this appears to be a deceptive practice (i.e. to estimate the cost at the maximum amount that doesn’t require public bidding of contracts). Or perhaps there is a satisfactory explanation which they would be glad to provide?

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