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Roswell OKs Artificial Turf Fields to be Installed

Despite receiving lesser quotes for artificial turf fields, the city chose a vendor they deemed more capable of installing the best product for Roswell.

Roswell City Council has approved signing a nearly $3 million contract with Medallion Athletics for seven synthetic turf fields that are to be installed by early spring.

To watch the whole presentation, discussion and vote, click here.

After a lengthy discussion and public hearing at the Monday night council meeting, five council members voted in favor of approval, while Councilwoman Betty Price voted against signing the contract.

Price questioned the city's process for selecting its recommended vendors, considering cost only factored in at 20 percent of the equation for making a recommendation. The majority of how a committee of five staff members came to their decision on the best vendor for the job was based upon specific qualifications, similar project experience, project understanding and methodology of how they would install, according to the city.

"Medallion [Athletics] was superior to competing firms," said Director of Finance Keith Lee, who was on the committee which recommended the vendor.

Lee said advice from neighboring cities, schools and others who had previously installed athletic turf fields - a new venture for Roswell - was also taken into account.

Despite the fact that Medallion's bid came in approximately $380,000 over the next highest of the four cost estimates - even after they went back and changed the specifications of the product that was to be installed to a less expensive alternative - the committee felt that the chosen vendor's process for installation would "reduce the risk for change orders" and corrective measures down the road.

Initially, the committee chose its recommended vendor without knowing where any of the vendors came in on price, said Jeff Pruitt, administrator of park services. Staff only negotiated with Medallion for a lower quote because it had already chosen them as the most advantageous candidate.

But nearly every speaker and even another vendor whose bid was not recommended took issue with the process that lead to choosing a much more expensive vendor.

Resident Trent Moore asked the council to scratch its current recommendation and hire an expert, such as an architect, to conduct a more thorough review process.

City staff is great, but they have no experience in choosing an artificial turf installation vendor, he said.

A Sprinturf representative, whose company had also turned in a bid, said he had never seen a customer forego using an architect in its search for vendor proposals.

But in the end, most city council members backed up staff's recommendation, pointing out Medallion's added expense came from being able to better deal with unique Roswell field challenges, such as drainage issues.

"We want the best price, but the cheapest is not always the best,” said Councilman Kent Igleheart.

Councilwoman Nancy Diamond said she believed staff had done its due diligence in recommending the vendor they believed would install the best quality product that would endure in the long run.

"I don't want to have a problem three years from now, five years from now, seven years from now," added Councilman Jerry Orlans.

Riled by the idea that the public believed an unfair or biased advantage had been given to Medallion, Councilwoman Becky Wynn went as far as to point out that Sprinturf had tried to contact Mayor Jere Wood over the weekend in hopes of enacting "a backroom deal." Wood quickly interjected that he never had any communication with any of the vendors, including Sprinturf, but did say they could have e-mailed him since he hadn't checked it before the meeting.

The city will pay for the fields from $1.5 million set aside in the fiscal year 2013 budget and $2 million approved by bond voters during November. The project still comes in over $500,000 under budget, even with the higher bid.

Thomas Wayne Shelton January 15, 2013 at 10:30 PM
I was at the meeting and am astonished that the council agreed to a bid almost 20% above the other bids. Everyone will have to review the facts and come to their own conclusions. As I see it, the city borrowed money to install turf fields and then vastly overpaid for those fields. I also spoke with the representative from Sprinturf after the meeting and don't feel any "backroom deals" were attempted. This was a serious misrepresentation by Becky Wynn. In any event, the council voted and the only thing we can do as concerned citizens is to put people in those seats that truly represent our values. Wasting borrowed money is not one of my values and generally comes with severe consequences!
janet h russell January 16, 2013 at 01:46 AM
Nothing the City Council does anymore is a surprise to me. They recently awarded contracts for heating/ ac, large outdoor maintenance to companies not in Roswell. They went only for the lowest bidder and then found out why it was so low. So why this big turn around in process? My trust in this Council no longer exists for any decisions they make. And I say this after 40 years of observing and attending Council meetings, work sessions, volunteer commitees. They could tell me the sky is up and I would not believe them.
Lee Fleck January 16, 2013 at 02:20 AM
The most amazing moment of the entire hearing about the plastic fields was when Councilwomen Wynn, once again, placed her foot in her mouth with the accusation noted: “Councilwoman Becky Wynn went as far as to point out that Sprinturf had tried to contact Mayor Jere Wood over the weekend in hopes of enacting "a backroom deal." And of course Mayor Wood emphatically denied her libelous statement.
Jake Lilley January 16, 2013 at 02:38 AM
I was there. The citizens were outraged. With the exception of Betty Price, the rest of City Council completely rejected the public outcry to re-examine this decision. This decision was incredulous, but not unexpected given Council's track record.
Thomas Wayne Shelton January 16, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Hopefully we'll have more luck during the upcoming election in removing them. As I've said a number of times, we need real leadership in those seats and I don't see much of it right now. Betty Price was the only council member to question this process and should be commended.
Mark Roberts January 16, 2013 at 02:46 PM
The companies that came in 2nd, and 3rd have the biggest gripe, they are equally, if not greater,qualified as Medallion who came in 4th. Sprinturf is not equally qualified
Jay Small January 16, 2013 at 04:21 PM
I attended the city council meeting as a concerned citizen about how my tax dollars, and bond dollars were being spent. In the end I had no problem with the process, as the process for city bids on projects was followed by staff. It should also be noted that after a vendor has been selected it is perfectly normal (and legal) to reneogiate certain terms, which can reseult in a lowering of price. What is not presented is that the reason Roswell only wieghs price at 20% is that because Roswell residents put a lot of emphasis on quality. City staff, and the independent (non council members nor city staff) committee charged with chosing who they prefer (before the sealed bids were ever opened) went out and reviewed the work of all these vendors and put their responses to questions through the works. Also I don't agree with the reference that they went with a "lower quality material" the material of the turf did not change to what was presented, only the mixture of sand and rubber beneath, the infill (I encourage residents of Roswell to research the difference between pure rubber versus sand/rubber mixture under the turf and make their own decision).
Jay Small January 16, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Also what is vaguely mentioned is that the big reason that this vendor was chosen is that they are a one stop shoping vendor, no outside contractors (no going down to the home depot and picking up a work crew....etc). So if there is an issue you deal directly with the poeple you hired to do the job and not three layers down. In the end should there have been a better explanation to the public of why they went with the vendor and explanation, yes. Should there have been an expert consulted in the process to answer technical questions, yes. But should we doubt the entegrity of city staff or the process that was followed to come up with the result, no.
Kent Igleheart January 16, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Actually, Councilmember Wynn was correct. While I believe the Mayor did not read the email sent by SprintTurf, the fact is SprintTurf did send an email first to Mayor Wood and then to each Councilmember. They "offered" several ways for the City to come to an agreement with SprintTurf. Both City ordinance and Georgia State law prohibit this type of attempted negotiation outside of the public process.
Voice of Truth January 16, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Mr Small, You have fallen for the same mis-information that the Council has fellen for. How can a broker of turf, which Medallion is, who buys from a manufacturer, Shaw, who buys the yarn from another manufacturer, Ten Cate, be called a "one stop shop"? By the way, google search "Ten cate lawsuit" and see what you find. This is the "we just do not want any problems down the road" product that our inexperienced staff has proposed. There are three layers that will all point fingers at each other if there are issues. Sprinturf manufactures their own yarn, manufactures their own turf, employes their own base and turf installers and turns the job over to the City. Unless I am mistaken, that would be the definition of "one stop shop". For the staff to call Medallion a "turn key" provider is laughable. The City is the fourth copy of that key. The Council blindly allowed staff to provide false information to "justify" their choice. Medallion's "exclusive distributorship" of the Shaw product began after the original proposals were submitted. Medallion probably has never installed the Shaw product. But please, continue to drink the cool-aide that the City is serving and you will continue to have your tax dollars wasted.
Jay Small January 16, 2013 at 08:54 PM
I love when someone has a different viewpoint that they are deemd to have drank the "kool-aid". Just an observation that there is a certain group that tend to reply to these stories and that only want those who 100% agree with their viewpoint to respond and only attack those who don't agree. Now, I happen to disagree, but if some think the city should look at revising its process than that is a fair discussion to have. But, in the end right now right here they followed the process. I won't belittle anyones view, just state that my view of this situation is different.
Voice of Truth January 16, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Care to comment on the content and not the tone?
Lee Fleck January 16, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Councilman Igleheart, I did not hear you jump in to support Becky during the meeting. You were totally silent during the meeting. So I suggest that you post the e-mail that you recieved for the public to view. As a matter of fact you can consider this an formal open records request.
Jay Small January 16, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Absolutely, agree to disagree as I can state the opposite but it will just be that and taken as that. Again I think most people take issue with the process, that is where efforts should be focused. I don't feel placing blame on staff, mayor, council...etc just for following the methodology and process that is in place by the manual is beneficial. I think it should be a discussion brought up at the next Finance & Administration committee meeting or open forum that the citizens would like to see changes in how the bidding process is done, or weighted in Roswell and give constructive ideas (such as putting forth criteria that if a project that exceeds the expertise of city departmental staff is bid out that a expert or contractor must be brought in to consult during the process). I think that is a discussion worth having.
Thomas Wayne Shelton January 16, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Jay, you make some very valid points and I agree that the process does need to be reviewed.
Voice of Truth January 17, 2013 at 01:03 AM
False and misleading information is not following the process. It is manipulating the process with out our elected officials, except for BP, holding them accountable.
Voice of Truth January 17, 2013 at 02:41 PM
You are correct Mr Fleck; Also Councilman Igleheart is giving a misinterpretation of the US Constitution that specifically allows all citizens to discuss, lobby and provide alternatives to elected officials.
Renee Reddy January 23, 2013 at 03:35 AM
With reference to Mark Roberts comment, Sprinturf is the only manufacturer that bid the Roswell project and has more US installations than all the other bidders combined. So, Mr. Roberts is ill informed in making his comments.
Linda Southard February 07, 2013 at 07:35 PM
It would really be better if people got the entire story before espousing their opinions publicly based on just the sensational "media-worthy", non-factual gossip from political "wannabees". Please go to the source (staff) and not a select few folks who have run for office, been soundly defeated and have poorly-informed, vociferous "groupies".

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