By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Guam Behavioral Health Welfare Center split a professional consulting service job into two small purchases to be able to bypass the normal bidding process, according to the Office of Public Accountability.
While the method used complied with the law, the OPA noted that the vendor who received the contract for one of two purchases received preferential treatment from the General Service Agency. GBHWC determined that the awarded vendor was not qualified to provide the service it sought.
The OPA’s audit report covered GSA’s separate requests for quotations on March 2, 2021 based on GBHWC’s request. One was for consultant services to develop an implementation plan for mental health treatment and services. The other was for consultant services to develop an implementation plan for substance use treatment and services.
GBHWC requested the two requisitions after GSA’s repeated rejections of the agency’s sole source requests. The two requisitions allowed GSA to utilize the small purchase procurement method.
“The reasoning for the small purchase was based on the dollar amount threshold for the services,” OPA said.
OPA noted that although both RFQs were issued simultaneously, they each went through different paths to be awarded to “Vendor B.” OPA said this award generally complied with Guam procurement law.
However, OPA noted that “the timing and inclusion of Vendor B appeared to show preferential treatment given by GSA.”
In the end, GBHWC refused to utilize services from Vendor B. Mental health officials found that the awarded vendor did not meet the requirements needed.
GSA ended up canceling the first requisition because they cited an artificial division of the job and instructed GBHWC to combine the two requisitions and issue an invitation for bid.
OPA said this should have been the route taken to begin with.
"GSA should have instructed GBHWC to utilize the competitive sealed bid procurement method and issue an RFP as this was for professional consulting services,” OPA said.
“Because the procurement was for special professional consulting services and because GBHWC is the end-user who knows exactly what type of service is needed and who is qualified to perform the service, they instead could have acted as the purchasing agency and utilized the competitive sealed-bid method,” OPA said. “This would have also helped them properly evaluate the proposals to determine the most responsive and responsible bidder.”