CTWP, a Waco-based office supply company that has worked with the city for six years, has filed suit against the city of Waco over its bidding process for copying services, claiming the city’s actions could cost taxpayers more than $300,000.
The lawsuit, filed in 170th State District Court by Waco attorney Jim Dunnam, seeks an injunction against the city of Waco and a temporary order to stop payments for copying services to Texas Document Solutions Inc., the company the city chose to replace CTWP.
A hearing on the injunction request is scheduled Wednesday, Dunnam said.
The suit alleges the city miscalculated bids for a three-year copying services contract by failing to account for per-copy costs included in the bids. The contract includes options for a fourth- and fifth-year extension.
“The city’s calculations did not reflect the higher per-copy cost for color copies in Texas Document Solutions’ bid, or the fact TDS’ bid would charge the city for black-and-white copies over a certain number per month, while CTWP would not,” according to the lawsuit.
It also claims CTWP’s bid for possible fourth and fifth years was “thousands of dollars lower than the bid made by TDS. The effect of these miscalculations means the city understated the actual cost of the bid by TDS and overstated the bid by CTWP.”
The suit claims CTWP faces “imminent damage” in that it has been asked to remove its copiers from city property. It said it has no other recourse “because monetary damages are not recoverable against the city.”
The city has filed a response contesting the claims, and city attorney Jennifer Richie defended the city’s bidding process and denied it has taken action that squandered taxpayer dollars.
Texas Document Solutions officials did not return calls seeking comment.
According to the suit, city officials told CTWP officials the city was pursuing “cooperative pricing quotes” under Chapter 271 of the Local Government Code. It contends the city’s bid process should have, but was not, done in compliance with Chapter 252 of the Local Government Code, “which governs procurement when the total value of the contract will exceed $50,000, as is the case here.”
According to the suit, city officials also told CTWP officials they had considered price differences for color copies between the various bids, a claim CTWP contests could not be true.
The suit also raises concerns with a round of bidding on a similar contract last year that did not result in any contract award.
The suit claims Texas Document Solutions last year submitted a bid of $5,582 for monthly copying services, less than half its bid price this year. The bid by CTWP in 2016 was within $1,250 of its 2017 bid, according to the legal action.
“Had the city accepted TDS’ 2016 bid, city taxpayers would have saved at least $191,000 over the initial three years of the contract, and saved taxpayers over $319,000 if the contract were extended for five years,” according to the suit.
Instead, the suit states, the city rejected all 2016 bids and upon taking offers this year found that TDS’ re-bid came in just under that of CTWP. In the legal filing, Dunnam described that as “fishy.”
In its response, the city said it violated no laws in its dealings with Texas Document Solutions, a member of a bidding cooperative called BuyBoard that includes an array of companies qualified to submit offers. It said it was looking out for taxpayers when it solicited a second round of bids, and that it is common to pursue even better deals with members of cooperatives.
The city also claims injunctive relief is not appropriate because the matter involves a city official using his or her discretion. For the court to intervene would encroach on separation of government powers, according to the city.