A representative and lawyer for Freightliner of Arizona, which was in the bidding process for the purchase of a new Glendale fire truck, raised concerns about the bidding process during the public comments at the Jan. 28 city council meeting.
Tim Noeding, a general sales manager for Freightliner, said during his comments he was concerned about the process the city used to select a company from which to purchase the fire truck.
“When we went through the bidding, there was no formal process that was followed and no formal specs were given to us as to what the city needed,” Noeding said. “My hope is that this will be reviewed because we were concerned about the whole process.”
Noeding spoke first during the public comments section of the council meeting with his lawyer by his side and talked about how his company went above and beyond to work with the city, but said he was given inconsistent facts and different requirements for the truck.
“We were given no formal specs on what the city needed and the entire process was done over the phone,” Noeding said in his comments. “We got inconsistent facts on difference parts of the process and I just feel that the process was flawed.”
Noeding then ended his comments by asking the city council to review the issue to ensure that all public bids are done fairly.
“All we want is a fair chance in this process,” he concluded.
After Noeding addressed the council, he was confronted in the lobby by Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick about the process. Burdick was upset with the fact that the comments were made in the pubic comments section of the council meeting.
“I am the fire chief, and ultimately, I could have had a sit down with you and gotten what your issues are and gotten all the facts from you, and I would still like to talk to you. But to do that in public, I am just shocked,” Burdick said in a heated exchange between the two.
“I am the one who is shocked that you have an employee in your department that has been buying $500,000 fire trucks and handling the process that way,” Noeding said in the confrontation in the lobby. “Maybe you should look at those people and do something about it. We got mishandled and mistreated as an organization, so instead of blaming me, you should be blaming them.”
Burdick then stated that Councilmember Ian Hugh had gone out to tour the Freightliner facility and that Hugh was friends with the owner of Freightliner, Danny Cuzick.
Burdick continued on to say that Noeding speaking in the public comments was unfair because it does not allow Burdick to respond to what he said.
“I thought the item was pulled (from the agenda). Then you did what you did in the public comments,” Burdick said. “That is not fair because I cannot comment on that and now it is out there and your side of the story is out there first.”
The item was pulled before the council meeting by City Manager Brenda Fischer and no vote was taken on the matter.
In e-mails obtained by The Glendale Star, Burdick is quotes as telling Fischer that the “E-One quote was the low quote by 5 percent below the next lowest quote,” last May but the purchase was shelved for lack of funding.
A public records request for responses from the RFP for the fire truck submitted by The Glendale Star had yet to be fulfilled at press time.
The city received a grant from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in the amount of $425,000 to purchase a new truck, but the vote was to be for a purchase from Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC) in the amount of $484,206.92.
Hugh said he received inquiries about the process and quickly asked Fischer for a review.
“One of the vendors had responded to a letter and they were questioning the process, and I forwarded that information to our city manager with a request to get a copy explaining how the process was run,” Hugh said. “I then forwarded that information to Freightliner and said that was how the process was run.”
After the vendor responded that he objected to the process, commenting on how they were treated and how the process was to them, Hugh said he sent everything to the top people.
“They said the explanation was different from the first one and they felt they were mistreated. I then immediately forwarded that to our city manager and attorney so they could start looking into the matter,” Hugh said.
Asked about his relationship with Freightliner President Cuzick, Hugh said there was nothing to report.
“Of course, I am friends with (Cuzick). I have known him for over 40 years; he worked in my Exxon station when I started,” Hugh said. “But I am not talking about names or who is the president of a company, I am talking about the procedure and how it was earned.”
The process is currently under review and the city manager has said the city will begin accepting new RFPs in the future.