Spokane Mayor David Condon said he would ask for another round of bids for the city’s ambulance contract in response to concerns from City Council President Ben Stuckart.
The request for bids will remain unchanged except for the removal of one line that said an ambulance company had to be the primary operator in at least one city with a population of at least 150,000 within the United States.
Condon defended the process that led last month to American Medical Response being the sole bidder on the contract. He noted that the Fire Service Task Force recommended keeping ambulance services contracted out to private business. He did not say he shared Stuckart’s concerns, but he acknowledged that the City Council would be the one to approve the contract.
“I need to make sure we have the best service,” Condon said. “Ultimately, the council has to pass this.”
Stuckart said he was pleased with a new bidding process, but said he believed there was a “high likelihood” that AMR would win the contract anyway.
“This isn’t against AMR,” he said. “It’s for competition.”
He added that he hoped AMR would remain a “good partner” while the city goes through another bid, noting that AMR has sued other communities for similar actions.
According to the Oregonian, earlier this year the company threatened a $20 million lawsuit against Clackamas County in Oregon after commissioners there rejected AMR’s sole bid for ambulance services. The company said that if the county put the contract out to bid again, AMR would be put at a disadvantage because the county had published the company’s proposal on its website, which was agreed to by the company. A month after the threat of lawsuit, the county agreed to sign with AMR for a five-year contract, which is estimated to be worth $30 million.
Similar worries over bid confidentiality were expressed here.
Jason Sorrick, a spokesman for AMR, said Friday that other potential bidders could have access to their proposal, putting the company at a disadvantage. Sorrick said the proposal contained pricing and a deployment model, which he called “highly proprietary.”
City Clerk Terri Pfister said her office had been told by the city’s legal team that AMR “expressed an interest in being notified” if anyone requested to see the proposal. If a request is made, Pfister said she’d give the company 10 business days to respond.
“They’d have to have a (court-ordered) injunction preventing us from releasing it,” Pfister said.
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