Cleaning contract review

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River councillors look set to re-examine a contentious million-dollar contract awarded last month to a Perth cleaning company.

Shire acting chief executive Dale Putland dismissed rumours the latest contract to Perth firm BrightMark would be revoked at a coming council meeting due to concerns about the decision raised by ousted ex-contractor OCE Corporate Cleaning.

However, Dr Putland pointed to “errors” in the tender process involving the WA Local Government Association.

“The Shire is re-evaluating tenders for the cleaning tender after identifying a number of errors in the tender report and pricing schedule that was prepared by WALGA,” he told the Times.

“Once the re-evaluation is completed, a recommendation will be presented to council for its determination. All tenderers have been advised of this.

“At this stage, there has been no decision to revoke council’s previous decision to award the tender to BrightMark,” Dr Putland said.

“We have not yet set a time for the report to council. However, it will be as soon as practical.”

Last week, the Times reported OCE director Oliver Sellars threatened legal action, citing confidential documents he argued showed his company was the preferred tenderer.

Mr Sellars also raised his own concerns about inconsistencies during the tender process, but conceded his bid was substantially higher than that from BrightMark.

Late last month, a majority of councillors handed three, three-year contracts for cleaning Shire buildings, amenities and barbecues to Claremont-based BrightMark, with acting Shire president Julia Meldrum scuttling rumours local companies had bid lower. Instead, Cr Meldrum revealed BrightMark bid more than $200,000 under the Shire’s annual budgeted cleaning cost of $531,000.

Dr Putland also scotched claims this week BrightMark became the recommended tenderer after the Shire conducted due diligence checks. “Two WALGA employees were members of the evaluation panel that recommended BrightMark to be awarded the tender,” he said. “Due diligence checks were conducted during the tender evaluation, not after.”

Mr Sellars said he had agreed not to discuss the matter in the press until the Shire made its evaluation, but he stood by last week’s claims.

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