Parties in a dispute over the procurement of buses compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act are now in the process of settling the matter.
The General Services Agency issued a request for bids for the vehicles in September 2019 and Monster Auto Corp., which does business as AutoSpot, was selected as the winning bidder. The buses are being procured for the Guam Regional Transit Authority.
Soderholm Sales & Leasing Inc. filed an appeal with the Office of Public Accountability, claiming among other things that it was the lowest responsible bidder for the procurement.
The matter was set to move into a formal hearing but the parties stated during a status hearing on Monday that they are working on a settlement.
“We hope to have everything wrapped up in a couple days,” said Charles McDonald, counsel for Monster Auto, on the development of an agreement.
Eric Soderholm, vice president of the Soderholm company, said the settlement process started about a week ago, when he contacted McDonald.
“And we went through some various scenarios of a settlement between us, under the idea that we would withdraw the complaint and get Guam to acquire the buses,” Soderholm said.
Public Auditor Benjamin Cruz thanked both Soderholm and Monster Auto on reaching out and working to resolve the matter between them.
“This is the best way to do this and I want to commend both of you for doing it. And I’m hoping in the next couple of days that you all can and will come to a final settlement and we can move forward, and the disabled community on Guam will have the buses they sorely need,” Cruz said. “This is the kind of behavior I hope to see all the time.”
Soderholm said he also wanted to resolve issues with another bid, which is unrelated to the procurement at hand.
“There’s a CARES Act bid that’s for three buses and I don’t have the buses that meet those specifications, and Auto Spot apparently has them,” Soderholm said. “And the only way for Guam to get those buses, because those buses have to be – the deal is they have to be 60 days on Guam, and Cares Act money has to fund by (Dec. 30) or else you … have to give the money back to the federal government.”
Soderholm said he presented a bus to GSA but it was not the same type of bus that the agency wanted.
“Whether it’s part of this deal officially or not, that is actually more critical for the people of Guam, because those three buses could be delivered by the end of the year,” Soderholm said. “Whereas these buses that we’re talking about, have to be built … I’m willing to forgo that (three bus) deal in addition.”