BY AURORA KOHN
For the Journal
The management of the improvement of Guam’s primary roads through the Islandwide Program Management Services contract is currently in limbo due to the cancellation of the Request for Proposals by the Guam Department of Public Works in November last year.
The cancellation was the result of a finding by DPW’s procurement officer that the agency failed to “strictly follow” its own procurement procedures. All bidders for the project were informed that the RFP was cancelled and that DPW “intends” to issue a new RFP for the project.
However, no date has been set for the reissuance of the RFP.
Linda J. Ibanez, deputy director of DPW told the Journal on March 2 that the “RFP is under review and will be re-bid soon.”
The RFP for the management of Guam’s primary roads construction was issued by DPW in relation to management of federal funds of the Federal Highway Administration to improve Guam’s transportation infrastructure.
The contract is funded as part of funds awarded by the FHA, according to Journal files. Guam’s transportation plans are part of an ongoing series of three-year plans. According to the fiscal 2020 to 2023 Guam Transportation Improvement Program, projects for the period between 2020 – 2023 were projected to be worth more than $77.5 million in 2019.
The cancellation of the RFP in November resulted from a September procurement protest filed by exp, one of the companies that submitted proposals in response to the RFP from DPW. The protest alleged several violations of DPW’s procurement procedures. There were three bidders for the project: SSFM International, exp and WSP (part of which was formerly Parsons Brinckerhoff International).
WSP is also currently DPW’s project manager for the 2030 Guam Transportation Plan.
Vincent P. Arriola, director of DPW wrote in November that it was unnecessary to decide other items raised in the procurement protest, because DPW did not “strictly follow” its procurement procedures. He further said that DPW’s failure to follow its procurement procedures was due to DPW’s prior actions.
“DPW’s adoption of procurement procedures predated my appointment as director, and, although adopted, the department’s procurement section never implemented them,” he said.
“Nonetheless, the department failed to strictly follow the Procurement Procedures. As such, I have determined that to ensure the integrity of the procurement system, as well as the confidence of the public, to cancel the procurement.”
Under Guam’s Procurement Law, Requests for Proposals may be cancelled “when it is in the best interest of the Territory.” (See 5 GCA Sec. 5225)
Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Guam’s public auditor, told the paper there was an increase last year in the number of procurement appeals brought to his office — the Office of Public Accountability. There were nine procurement appeals received by his office in 2020. The number increased to 15 appeals in 2021. While a majority (11) of these were dismissed, Cruz also said that in some of the cases “the procurement appeals had to be dismissed due to misconduct by the licensing agency that was brought about during the procurement appeal proceedings.”
Other appeals were dismissed by OPA were because the business entity filing the protest was not represented by a person licensed to practice law in its appeal to the OPA, an issue not raised and decided in previous cases, Cruz said. mbj