After rejecting a substitute motion that would have awarded a major ventilation system repair contract to a local company, the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees voted unanimously to give the contract to the low bidder.
In a special meeting Wednesday, LMH awarded the $818,847 contract for ventilation, heating and air conditioning improvements at LMH to Young's Inc., Topeka. Young's sealed bid came in below the bids of two Lawrence companies, Chaney Inc., $826,848, and Huxtable & Associates, $849,700.
After a motion was made to accept the low bid, Trustee Robert Stephens offered a substitute motion that would have awarded the contract to Chaney.
Stephens argued that when the bids are that close, he would like to see the contract go to a local company.
"It's less than 1 percent" of the project, he said.
LMH EXECUTIVE Director Robert Ohlen argued against the move to award the bid to a company other than the low bidder if the low bidder met the contract specifications, which he said Young's Inc. had.
Trustee Robert Johnson Sr. said he agreed, but said when the local company's bid is as close as this one, he has trouble awarding it to an out-of-town company. He said if the local bid was 5 percent higher, he would have no trouble going with a low bidder from out of town.
"I don't know where that line is," he said.
But Trustee Kay Kent said the credibility of the hospital was on the line. She said if they were going to give preferential treatment to a local company's bid, they should have described that possibility in specifications for the contract before accepting sealed bids.
OTHER TRUSTEES, including Dr. Richard Orchard, Sidney Garrett and Ken Martinez, agreed with Kent.
Only Stephens and Johnson voted for the motion to award the contract to Chaney Inc. The two trustees also said they would accept the majority decision, and trustees then voted unanimously to award the contract to Young's.
The special meeting was necessary in order to allow the company to get started on the project as soon as possible. Most of the work will be done inside the hospital building, and a number of departments will have to be moved at times during the construction process to accommodate the work.
The scheduled completion date for the project is March 1992, Ohlen said.
The project, which has a total cost of $1.15 million, is aimed at alleviating a problem the hospital has had for years in keeping temperatures constant and comfortable in some parts of the building.
THROUGH separate bidding processes, LMH has purchased almost all the equipment needed for the project. This was done to have the equipment on hand when a contract was awarded so the company could begin work right away, Ohlen said.
Besides heating, ventilation and air conditioning work, the project involves fixing a number of problems discovered by Latimer, Sommers & Associates, the engineering firm that did an analysis of LMH for the ventilation repair work, Ohlen said. These included additional lighting and painting in a number of areas, especially in the wing of the hospital built in 1969.
The only other action at the meeting involved awarding the 1991 "Employee of the Year" award, which went to Ruth Mitchell, a nurse in obstetrics.
OTHER employees nominated by their peers for the award included Rachel Adeyanju, a third floor nurse; Cynthia Bushnell, a clerk in the Wellness Clinic; Sue Givens, a nurse in obstetrics; Antonia Ramirez, a food service worker; LaVern Redford, unit secretary on the second floor; Harold Siegrist, a clerk in admissions; and Dave Steffey, a radiology technician.