Could Rapid City do with some contractor competition?

Bill Evans on the process of hiring contractors.
Bill Evans on the process of hiring contractors.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 6:40 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Earlier this week, the designer of Rapid City’s up and coming remodel of Fire Station One was officially signed off on at a public works meeting, and things are moving along.

However, during the meeting, Bill Evans, who sits on City Council as Ward II, raised questions concerning how the city goes about hiring contractors and designers, and wonders whether or not the lack of competition is a problem.

“We don’t always get the best design,” says Evans, following an item relating to the design of an up and coming Fire Station one rebuild.

“How were they selected in the first place,” asks Evans? “And, was there ever a chance for taking three proposals, and deciding, ‘hey, that’s a great idea. Why didn’t we think of that?’”

Dale Tech, Public works Director, says the city hires using qualification based selection.

“You hire people based on qualifications,” says Tech, “and then you negotiate a contract.”

Evans says he’d like to see a more competitive system.

“We look at the three proposals and say, ‘jees, that ones way better than the other two, because, you know, qualifications don’t mean anything really. Aside from their legal to practice,” Evans says.

Evans went on to ask if the City has a means of going about a process that’s more competitive in nature.

“That is not a part of our existing policy,” replied Tech. “As far as a design design specific election process, to my knowledge, the city has never done that.”

“I’m just worried that we the best bang for the buck,” says Evans, “and not the most creative solutions to problems.”

Tech went on to add that the way the city’s hiring process works is based on experience.

“Qualification based selections isn’t about price,” Tech says. “It’s about quality.”

Evans believes it’s worth exploring new ways of going about selection and intends to look further into the subject, as he says he believes the city just contracts with people based upon convenience.

“Because,” Evans says, “I honestly think we can come up with some better options in the future.”

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