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Baseball offices bidding reopens

The Durham City Council re-opened the bid process for construction of the United States Baseball Federation's offices and clubhouse Monday night.


The facility space, which will be located at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, will be leased by the city government to USA Baseball under an agreement passed Monday night. USA Baseball selects Team USA for the Olympic baseball games.


Although the council had been planning to enter into a contract with Hart Brothers Contracting, Inc., the city manager's office determined that the bidder did not meet all the Small Disadvantaged Business Enterprise requirements--an ordinance that includes women and minority participation as a factor in the bid process.


Spencer Brown of Hairston Enterprises came before the council to ask that it accept his initial bid, which was rejected during the process--the lowest of all offers at $495,000. Brown said that because the previous bids were now public, his position as the lowest bidder gave competitors unfair information about his bidding limits. He also complained that minority contractors have been treated unfairly in Durham.


"It's an injustice to expose my numbers," Brown said. "I gave my best number and now everybody knows." He also insisted that minority contractors have not gotten even "one percent" of the business in Durham.


Deborah Giles, director of the city's department of equal opportunity and equity assurance, said that Hairston Enterprises' bid package--along with the packages of the three other responsive bidders--did not meet all requirements of the bid ordinances.


"They're all held to the same standard," Giles said. "His bid was found to be missing the required documents." These documents included information about sub-contractors and their costs.


Council member Howard Clement agreed with Brown that re-opening the process would be unfair to him. However, Mayor Bill Bell said the mistakes of Brown and the other bidders necessitated a fresh start to the bidding and the council subsequently voted to re-open bidding.


IN OTHER BUSINESS: The council passed the Agreement for Police Cooperation and Mutual Aid with Duke. The agreement will come into effect once city manager Marcia Conner makes the necessary changes. During a council meeting two weeks ago, member Diane Catotti had raised concerns that no formal mechanism existed by which the Duke University Police Department would report its crime statistics to the city's police department. Conner, at the council's request, agreed to look into formalizing the process.


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