School Board stalls trash vote

Fort Smith’s bid for district’s sanitation services challenged

FORT SMITH -- An attorney told the Fort Smith School Board on Monday that the school district should not accept a bid to hire Fort Smith for its sanitation services because the city was not providing a recycling service when it submitted its bid.

Joey McCutchen, who was representing the school district's current sanitation provider, Altes Sanitation, told School Board members they should accept Altes' bid even though it is more than $18,000 higher than Fort Smith's bid of $250,000 for the three-year contract.

The Altes contract expires Friday.

McCutchen also said Fort Smith probably will be sued by Marck Recycling over the city directors' decision last week to hire 3rd Rock Recycling LLC and Pen Sales LLC to provide recycling services for the city. The school district's sanitation service could be affected if the city is entangled in litigation.

Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman said 3rd Rock Recycling began offering its recycling services to the city Monday.

McCutchen said he believed Marck would sue the city over the directors' hiring of 3rd Rock because 3rd Rock had submitted its bid after a January deadline had passed.

Dingman told the School Board that 3rd Rock was not hired by a competitive bidding process but through requests for proposals and was legal.

"The request for proposal and negotiation procedure was followed with reference to the proposed contract regarding recycling services," City Attorney Jerry Canfield wrote in a letter Monday.

The School Board did not make a decision on awarding the sanitation contract Monday but opted to table the issue until the board's July meeting. Board Member Bill Hanesworth said he was concerned about "unintended consequences" if the city is sued over the recycling issue.

The School Board had a staff recommendation to hire Fort Smith, the low bidder, to handle its sanitation services for the next three years. But the members hesitated during Monday's meeting when Bobby Altes said his company had been providing recycling for the district for the six years it has had the district's sanitation contract.

Board members seemed surprised. They had been told at the board's committee-of-the-whole meeting on June 12 that Altes did not provide recycling for the district.

Board members asked school staff members in the audience Monday if they could verify that Altes' company was providing recycling services, but no one could not answer the question.

Altes said Monday the company had recycling bins at every school district building even though it did not appear to school officials it was widely known.

Board members stated that they wanted to postpone awarding the contract until they could further discuss Altes' claims.

Metro on 06/27/2017