Board awards $25,908.68 bid for fire protective equipment
The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously adopted a resolution last week to award a $25,908.68 bid for protective equipment for the fire department.
Board members took the action Thursday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Karl Chambless and seconded by Alderman Billy Ray Morris.
In a May 10 letter addressed to Mayor Chris Goodman and Town Recorder Tammie Hightower, Fire Chief Rudy Doyle said he had compared the three bids submitted on fire coats, pants, helmets and boots. He requested that the bid by EVS Mid-South of Memphis be accepted on the following items:
(1) 12 sets of Morning Pride coats and pants for $20,801.93;
(2) 12 Bullard helmets for $2,640.21; and
(3) 18 pairs of boots for $2,466.54.
The resolution authorizes Goodman to execute a $25,908.68 contract with EVS.
During discussion shortly before the vote, Alderman Kelly Rector noted that the fire chief did not ask the board to accept the lowest bid submitted.
Doyle said his department “generally” does business with five fire equipment companies. So, in order to have “a better choice,” he gave the companies the “liberty” to submit bids on “multiple” items.
The chief said they all could have met the specifications with the “actual material,” if not necessarily the brand name. But two of the three bidders had “issues.”
Noting that the low bidder did not submit a competitive bid on the lining for the coats, he called it “not a decorative thing.”
“This is a coat like we’re wanting to buy,” he said, displaying the item for the board members. “This is part of the protection for the fireman himself.”
So, if he had recommended that company’s bid, Doyle said he would have been “intentionally taking away protection” for the firefighters.
The chief noted that the second-lowest bidder met the lining requirement, but not the specification for a “long” coat. Because a “short” coat creates an “open area” when the firefighter bends over, he said that is considered a “safety issue.”
So, he recommended the Morning Pride coat, because it addresses all the safety issues.
In response to a question by Rector, Doyle acknowledged that the EVS bid did not include the shipping cost for the items, which is approximately $310. Because that cost is frequently not included in bids, he said Hightower told him that could be handled “after the fact.”
Citing the amount of the bid, Rector asked whether EVS might be willing to “help” the town with the shipping cost. Doyle said he will discuss that with the company management, not the salesman.
“The guy who’s actually the manager of this company used to be the salesman for this area,” he noted, “and he did take very good care of us on stuff like that before. So, I will raise that question.”
During an April 11 special called meeting, the board unanimously adopted a resolution allowing allocation of fire fees for the fire department to purchase the protective equipment. The $25,908.68 will be paid by “restricted funds” set aside for the department through the future fire protection fees.
Doyle has said a town ordinance passed in 1996 states that, when Oakland Building Official Walter Owen issues a building permit for a new commercial or residential structure, the applicant must pay a one-time fee of 12 cents a square foot on that building. That is what generates the fire protection fees.
“They accumulate,” he noted, “and the ordinance specifically says what they can be spent for.”
Doyle has said his department tries to use the fees to purchase the “big-ticket” items that it cannot normally do through its budget.
He has told the board that, when he was first hired as the town’s fire chief, the department needed “turnout equipment,” and it was “really strapped for money.” He said the Collierville Fire Department donated some equipment that it had taken out of service, but it still had “some life in it.”
“We’ve been using that,” Doyle noted, “but that’s what’s starting to go out of date. We have to replace it every 10 years.”
He has also said his department has been periodically replacing this turnout equipment for the past two years.
About Graham Sweeney
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