Maintenance bids complicated by late mail

The county board had a tough decision to make on June 11, 2013 after being presented with only one bid on some summer road maintenance work and finding out that another bid had been delayed because of a problem with the mail.

Two bidders vied for summer maintenance of the Evergreeen Road, Mile-O-Pine, and Voyageur’s Point special service tax districts, but one arrived late because of an unexpected delay in delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.  Mike Rose of Mike Rose Excavating mailed his bid on May 25 but it didn’t get to the county until June 3, five days after the May 29 deadline and nine days after it had been mailed.

A letter to the board from Lutsen Postmaster John Groth verified that Mike Rose had handed him the letter personally on May 25.  “I recall the letter because I remember the writing on the bottom stating that it was for a bid,” he said, “and also that Mike Rose commented that it was important to get it in the mail that day due to the upcoming holiday.”  Groth suspected the delay had something to do with mechanized handling of the envelope.

Commissioner Jan Hall said late mail is now the norm.  Commissioner Bruce Martinson took issue with this, saying she was “slandering the post office.”

The board deliberated over whether to re-bid because of this.  While they were sympathetic with Mike Rose and talked about the value of having at least two competing bids, they decided that the bidder is responsible for getting the bid to the county and the county cannot take responsibility for the post office’s speed or lack thereof. 

Dennis LaBoda of LaBoda Grading said that he brings bids in personally to ensure that things like this don’t happen.  He added that he has no animosity toward the other bidder.  He was awarded the bid. 

No one bid on the West Rosebush Lane district, so that will be re-bid.  Highway Engineer David Betts said Mike Rose Excavating’s bid would be returned unopened.