MERCED — The potential loss of the Riggs Ambulance Service contract isn't the only blow to a locally-run and family-owned business in Merced County.
Outbid by another firm, Pazin & Myers Inc. of Merced lost the county's six-figure fuel contract to a bidder based in Georgia.
"It's very disheartening that they're sending money out of town when we're capable of performing the bid while saving the county money," said General Manager Richard Pazin, who's been with the company since 1983.
Pazin said his business lost the contract because they didn't have a $1,500 "bid bond."
The contract was awarded to Mansfield Oil Co., effective July 2012.
Merced County Administrative Services Director Mark Cowart said a bid bond, also known as a bid guaranty or surety, ensures a winning bidder meets the requirements and will work with the county to complete a contract.
Cowart said the county required bidders to include the bond with their proposals.
"We needed to follow the requirements of the bid process," Cowart said. "The process is that it needs to be submitted with the bid proposal. In order to make it fair for all of the bidders, it requires submission at the time of the proposal."
Out of the five companies competing for this year's contract, three were considered "non-responsive" because they didn't have a bid bond completed.
Pazin & Myers Inc. was one of them.
Cowart said the other two bidders -- Mansfield, and one out of Camarillo -- met the requirement.
Pazin said the fuel contract has been awarded to a local company for the last 12 years, nine times to Pazin & Myers, Inc.
Bartlett Petroleum held the contract for the other years.
Couldn't turn it in late
Pazin said the county didn't require this bid bond until now and he would have obtained it if given the opportunity after turning in his bidding documents.
"I wish somebody would have given us 48 hours to get this security bond, and we would have made it happen," Pazin said. "All I know is my bid was thrown out because of a bond to make sure we can perform what the contract stated, which I had done for nine years prior."
According to the county's Invitation for Bid documents from May 2007, the bid bond was required at that time.
Cowart said the requirements can be modified every three years, but the paperwork stated the bid bond was required with the proposals -- not after the deadline.
He added that prospective bidders were encouraged to contact the county with any questions about the process. The county received 32 questions from bidders, but none of them asked a question regarding the bid bond, Cowart said.
"I think the county is willing, as always, to support local vendors," Cowart said. "But the vendors need to include all of the required documents and forms when they submit a proposal in response to a bid."
Pazin & Myers Inc. is a 22-year-old family-owned oil distribution business started by John Pazin, who's been in the oil business since 1963.
The firm supplies fuel and gas to the agricultural community, including retail sites and individual farmers.
The county's fuel contract is three years, with two 1-year extensions possible.
Pazin & Myers Inc. will have the opportunity to bid again in the spring of 2015, which Pazin plans to do. "Absolutely, we'll bid again in three years or sooner," Pazin said.
Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.