Tacoma fire officials said today they’ll be ready to re-issue a formal solicitation for private ambulance services later this month, more than seven months after the City Council tossed out a tentative bid recommendation to award the contract to a new vendor.
But even after working for months to ensure the new bidding process will be clear, fire officials warned that further controversy may be unavoidable when the ambulance contract is ultimately awarded this summer.
“Based on our experience, an appeal is likely,” Tacoma Fire Medical Services Officer Roger Edington told the council today.
Re-bidding the ambulance contract comes after the council voted 5 to 4 in October to disregard a selection panel’s recommendation to award the city’s private ambulance services to American Medical Response Ambulance Service of Greenwood Village, Colo. The council majority agreed with an appeal from the runner-up bidder, Everett-based Rural Metro of Greater Seattle, that the city’s solicitation wasn’t clear about city assessment fees for dispatch services.
Rural Metro, which has held the contract to provide basic life support emergency services and transport for the Tacoma Fire Department since 2004 (TFD handles advanced life support services and transport on its own), contended that that part of the bid scoring was confusing.