In a special meeting of the Englewood City Council held virtually on August 1st, 2023, the council made a significant decision to rescind an award to D&L Paving Contractors Inc. for the 2023 carbon sidewalk program due to an error in the bid opening dates. This critical move has raised concerns among council members and the public about transparency and process.
City Manager Robert S. Hoffman explained the need for the resolution: “We found that there was a fatal flaw in the initial bid packet. The packets had the bid opening on July 25th, but the ad that was in the Bergen Record had the bid opening as being on July 27th, so we need to rescind the award and we need to go out and rebid this because that was a fatal flaw.”
While the decision to rescind the award was unanimous, the process drew scrutiny and frustration from some council members. Council President Judtih Maron and others expressed a desire to expedite the rebidding process, questioning the timeline and procedural delays.
“Why so long?” asked one council member. “Why can’t we just do it in our next open part of our special meeting?” The new bid opening is scheduled for August 22nd, but the council plans to review the possibility of an earlier date.
In addition to the discussion about the rescinded bid, the meeting featured public comments expressing frustration over virtual meetings and perceived lack of transparency.
Diane Jackson, a resident of Englewood, voiced her concerns, stating: “I think it is terrible that you’re not meeting in person… I hope you never do these meetings online again. It shows your lack of transparency.”
The council’s response to these concerns included explanations about the nature of closed sessions, particularly those related to litigation. Councilman Kevin Wilson clarified, “There has never been, since I’ve sat on this Council, any effort to cover anything up. Whenever we can, we have shared with the public everything we possibly could.”
The session ended on a positive note with congratulations to Mr. Hoffman for completing one year of service to the city of Englewood. Mayor Michael Wiles and the council acknowledged his accomplishments and wished him continued success.
The ramifications of the council’s decision to rescind the 2023 carbon sidewalk program bid and the calls for increased transparency signify a moment of tension in local governance. As Englewood City Council navigates these challenges, the community will be closely watching how these issues are addressed and resolved in the upcoming meetings.