The saga continues on reopening the Ste. Genevieve License Bureau with a new delay by the state of Missouri after awarding the contract.
The Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce has applied for and won the contract, however, there has been a wrinkle in the process. Dena Kreitler, executive director of the chamber, reported to the Ste. Genevieve County Commission Thursday on the latest problem.
“We were ready to announce our hires last Friday, because we’ve interviewed and did all that stuff,” she said. “Then Friday at 11:30 a.m. we were contacted and told that we were being protested.
“The award was made to the chamber on Sept. 10. One of the entities that bid against us is now protesting the award. We had to halt everything. We couldn’t hire, our construction was supposed to start last week for the buildout for our building, that had to halt.”
According to Kreitler, one of the other bidders contested to the state on the scoring of the bids.
“They said that the scoresheets would be made public in 72 hours,” she said. “That was Wednesday. We did receive our scorecards and we did see how everything played out.
"They’re protesting four different areas. Three of the areas that they are protesting is of their own negligence. They failed to provide the information to the state. It was mostly around their customer service and their training.
“It’s a total of 18 points. But, even with their 18 points they still won’t beat us. One of the points that they are protesting is the proximity. They’re saying that they’re closer than 75 miles, which is not true, because they are in Jefferson City. It is their primary location of business.
"The state said ‘the way the crow flies’. It’s still 81 miles the way the crow flies. They got like three points. We got all 24 points because we’re within five miles of the area. None of the people that bid against us are local.”
The protest was levied by License Office Services (LOS). The company currently has 25 license offices in the state of Missouri. Kreitler said that was 13% of the offices in the state that they have.
“We are not the only one they are protesting, they are protesting four other awards as well,” she said. “If they get all these awards they will be up to 29. We don’t really have an answer. We were on a roll, we had deadlines we were meeting. We had a great plan in place, and I just hope the state does not pull this.”
Kreitler is adamant that if the chamber runs the license office, all the funds generated would be returned directly back to the community as scholarships and donations to local groups.
“The people that are protesting this from us, they are not going to keep those dollars here,” she said. “They’re going to take those dollars. Their home base is in Jefferson City.
"Part of our mission is to give back and not only that, I talked to the state Tuesday and said ‘it’s been six months, do you know how much revenue has been lost in our community?’ Not just from that office being closed, but from people that come to our office and go to Country Mart or Oberle’s or whatever. We have lost way more than that office being closed for six months. This company, LOS, is taking it right out of us and more from us, and that’s not right.”
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson asked if LOS could gain enough points to pass the chamber.
Kreitler said no.
Nelson added, “So, we’re still pretty confident we are getting the license office?”
Kreitler said she doesn’t know, but feels confident.
Nelson continued, “It’s got to be pretty political if we don’t.”
Kreitler said that out of the five bidders, LOS came in fifth place. “They didn’t even come in second. Even if they brought up their 18 points, it would still only be 141, and we have 156.8.”
Nelson commented, “We don’t need another delay, because it takes you six weeks to get going once you are awarded, now you’re on hold. People still have to go out of the county to get their license.”
Kreitler said that she was told that the protest should be settled next week. “If the protest is in our favor, they will issue us a whole new set of deadlines. The other issue we ran into is that we had all our contractors lined up last weekend. Now, they’re not there. They were just doing it out of the graciousness of their hearts. Now, we don’t know if that’s going to happen.
“Another thing, if they lose this protest, they can appeal it over and over again. LOS appealed an office in Columbia for four years.”
The potential continued stalling of the award concerns Kreitler. “I know CARES Act money is up in December. We’re afraid if they stall us and stall us again until the end of the year, we’re not going to be able to utilize any money from the CARES Act, which is going to hurt some of our funding.”
The Potosi Chamber of Commerce President called Kreitler Wednesday. “They had their license office, LOS protested them and they won the first protest, LOS protested again, and they lost it. They take ownership Thursday, as matter of fact.”
“That’s just politics,” Nelson said.
Kreitler commented, “I’m encouraged, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. I feel like if the chamber loses this and LOS does come in, our community is going to be mad.”
Nelson is urging local residents to contact the Missouri Department of Revenue to bring a resolution to the issue quickly.
For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Revenue at 573-751-4450, or https://dor.mo.gov.
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at email@example.com
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