Monday, September 16, 2019

AMR appeals city decision to deny its protest of ambulance bids

Posted By on Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 5:03 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY FALCK AMBULANCE
  • Courtesy Falck Ambulance
The ordeal of selecting an emergency ambulance provider has taken on a life of its own, with the latest volley from American Medical Response noting, "as the saying goes, there may be something rotten in Denmark," a play on the chosen contractor, Danish firm, Falck Ambulance.

In a Sept. 13 letter to Mayor John Suthers, Greenwood Village-based AMR appeals the city procurement department's protest. That protest objected to the city's selection of Falck with which to negotiate a five-year contract that begins in January.

Read the background on this complicated process here.

AMR, which has provided emergency ambulance service here for decades, says one basis of its appeal stems from the procurement department's denial of request for proposal records AMR sought after Falck was chosen.

From the letter:
This is inconsistent with the City’s commitment to open government as set forth in its CORA Administrative Regulation 2019-01 and the City Open Data Policy signed by you. We note the City’s Open Data Policy identifies that it was “developed to outline the City of Colorado Springs’ commitment to the principles of open government, including transparency and civic engagement.”

As noted in our Protest, the Procurement Department’s refusal to produce public records that form the basis for the Award along with the Procurement Department’s requirement that we file our Protest blind is a fatal flaw in the RFP process. It undermines the Procurement Department’s stated objective to “assure a procurement system of quality, integrity and accountability.” See Procurement Rules, Section 1-100. Not only AMR, but the citizens of this City have a right to know that the basis for the August 16th Award on life-saving ambulance services to determine whether it was the right decision including, whether the City’s Danish provider was truthful in its proposal to the City and will actually live up to its promises. Given recent revelations from Falck’s proposal to and performance in Alameda County, California, there are questions about these points and as the saying goes, there may be something rotten in Denmark. 
The point to all that, AMR says, is that without being able to see the proposal submitted by Falck, AMR and the public cannot make an assessment of Falck's qualifications.

It's worth noting that First Amendment attorney Steve Zansberg of Denver is representing AMR on the open records question.

Falck Rocky Mountain CEO David Patterson responded to a request for comment by saying he'd already issued a statement regarding an allegation from SG Collaborative. That situation is covered in the link about the complicated process.

Here's the city's process for dealing with appeals:
4-105.5 Appeals
An aggrieved party must submit a written appeal of the decision issued by the Procurement Services Manager to the Mayor within seven (7) Days after receiving the decision. The Mayor may:
a) render a decision and that decision shall rule; or
b) assemble a committee to review the protest and all relevant data from involved parties. This committee may include the Chief Financial Officer, a representative of the Chief of Staff, and the division head of the Using Department. This committee shall issue a final decision. The majority decision made by the committee shall rule.

Regarding the final decision, the committee or the Mayor may:
a) render an immediate decision in the matter, especially matters that are specifically addressed in these Regulations;
b) request additional documentation or meetings with parties involved; or
c) utilize any other method deemed appropriate to bring the matter to timely resolution.
The decision, once issued, is final and will exhaust the administrative remedies. The Mayor or the committee shall issue the final decision within twenty-one (21) Days after receiving such an appeal, unless extended by agreement between the protester and the Mayor or the committee. This final decision does not preclude the protestor from pursuing further legal action allowed by the laws of Colorado. Once the final decision is issued, the stay of procurement shall be immediately lifted.
If unsatisfied by the appeal decision, AMR apparently could take its case to court.

Read AMR's appeal:

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