The National City City Council on Tuesday voted to continue using Tom Moynahan's Towing and contract with Road One as vendors for the city's towing needs.
The decision left some competitors irritated and wondering if they might take legal action to reverse the decision.
American Towing & Auto Dismantling Inc. and Cortes Towing Enterprises Inc. claim the Request for Proposal process which the city's tow evaluation committee used was biased, unfair and inconsistent with RFP requirements.
At an Aug. 16 council meeting, consideration of three of the top contractors that staff said met the terms for the RF, included Moynahan's, Road One and Angelo's Towing, which were ranked in order by best value and ability to serve city needs.
The committee, comprised of City Attorney Claudia Silva, city buyer Debra Lunt, National City Police Sgt. Dan Fabinski and Armando Vergara from Neighborhood Services, evaluated 10 proposals based on how well they met or exceeded the RFP requirements. In addition, site visits were conducted by Vergara and Fabinski over a two-day period.
During the Aug. 16 council meeting, Paulo Cortes of Cortes Towing said there were inconsistencies with the RFP process, specifically that Fabinski's observations were factually incorrect, biased and based on unfounded speculation and opinion.
American Towing and Cortes Towing are represented by government relations consultant Marco Polo Cortes and, in a letter to the city dated Sept. 1, Paulo demanded Cortes Towing be accurately reflected as an eligible contractor or the RFP process be redone by disinterested, objective third parties.
In another letter to the city and the tow evaluation committee dated Aug. 23 attorney Rodney Solenberger stated if the council approved the committee's recommendation, the city will have acted arbitrarily, abused its discretion and failed to comply with the requirements in the RFP.
He asked the City Council to consider starting the RFP process over or extend the contract period.
"I'm very disappointed," Cortes said. "There are many moving parts to this RFP that unfortunately they (the City Council) didn't see this evening, especially with regard to the weight requirement."
"Had they used the CHP standard, Moynahan would not have qualified," he said.
Cortes said he will regroup with his clients to decide what kind of protest or legal action they will consider.
American Towing stated there is ample evidence that the committee inconsistently applied RFP provisions by taking an "unduly restrictive interpretation of the RFP requirement ... which results in discrimination against a company."
Silva said it appears the contractors misunderstood the RFP requirements.
Last year National City ended a contract with former tow company JC Towing after it resigned due to a breach of contract.
The agreement between the city and JC Towing stated that it "may be terminated immediately by the city for cause in the event of a material breach of the agreement ... or for the performance of services, or failure to perform services as directed by the city..."
All impounds with holds were then taken by Moynahan's Towing until the end of the contract period, Sept. 30, 2011.
Silva said her office is currently drafting language into the contract in case one contractor cannot perform, the council can select or award the contract to another operator.