AUGUSTA — The ink was barely dry on a multi-year contract for plowing and sanding Readfield’s roads before it was appealed in court.

Reay Excavation & Trucking Inc., of Readfield, wants a superior court judge to overturn the town of Readfield’s award of a four-year-plus snow and ice control contract to Cushing Construction LLC, also of Readfield.

Reay Excavation, through attorney Phillip E. Johnson, filed the appeal Sept. 21 in superior court in Kennebec County. The complaint also names Cushing Construction as an interested party to the appeal since that was the successful bidder.

Reay Excavation, owned by Linwood Reay Jr., says it deserves the contract as the lowest bidder and takes issue with several items in the bid opening and awarding process.

The contract was awarded to Cushing by a 4-1 vote of selectmen on Aug. 22, 2016, with an amendment approved by the same vote total Sept. 6, 2016. In both instances, Selectman Tom Dunham voted against the motion.

“It is one of the largest contacts awarded by the town, as far as I am aware,” said Eric Dyer, Readfield’s town manager, said on Friday. “This is basically, over the five years, close to a $1.2 million contract.” The contract is for four years with an option for a fifth year.

The appeal says the envelope containing Cushing’s bid failed to meet the mandate requiring the bidder’s name to be listed on the envelope.

Two bids were opened Aug. 11, 2016, at the Town Office — Cushing’s and one from McGee Construction of West Gardiner. The appeal says a bid by Reay Excavation should have been opened at that time.

Town Manager Eric Dyer indicated Reay’s bid could not be unsealed since the submission violated the town’s conflict-of-interest ordinance.

Reay had served on the Road Committee that worked on the specifications prior to his resigning from the committee.

The Selectboard later voted to support the town manager’s decision.

The appeal says that by refusing to consider Reay Excavation’s bid and by awarding the contract to Cushing, the town violated its conflict-of-interest ordinance and its purchasing policies, and it unlawfully discriminated against Reay Excavation.

The appeal asks the judge to do several things:

• find that Reay Excavation had no conflict of interest in submitting a bid,

• nullify the contract awarded to Cushing Construction,

• decree that the town and the town manager violated the town’s conflict-of-interest ordinance, its purchasing policies and Reay Excavation’s due process rights and discriminated against the firm by failing to open the bid envelope and to award the contract to Reay Excavation.

• award attorney’s fees and costs to Reay Excavation.

The town, which is being represented by attorney Stephen Langsdorf, has until the last week in October to file a formal reply in court.

Langsdorf said Thursday a town can establish procedures for how it is going to handle a contract.

“At the beginning of the process, the town manager made it clear to Mr. Reay in writing and at public meetings that as road commissioner he considered it to be a conflict of interest if someone was serving on the committee and bidding,” Langsdorf said Thursday. “The town manager made the decision up front to say no one who is participating on this committee can bid.”

Langsdorf said Reay indicated at that point he was not going to bid on the winter roads contract.

Langsdorf said Reay submitted his resignation at 11:40 a.m. Aug. 11, about three hours before the bids were opened.

Langsdorf also said nobody representing Reay Excavation was present at the required pre-bid meeting, even though Reay was there as a member of the Road Committee.

Langsdorf said both the plaintiff and the defendant have additional evidence that needs to go into the record and that the dispute was unlikely to be resolved until some time next year.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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