Contractor protests city of Albany construction bid - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Contractor protests city of Albany construction bid

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A South Georgia contractor has filed a protest against the City of Albany, saying the city let a bid for construction work to a business not licensed for that job by the state. He wants to set a precedent concerning a new Georgia general contractor law.

Kinney Construction's owner wants the city of Albany to follow a strict interpretation of a new Georgia contractor licensing law. It says only state licensed general contractors can perform construction jobs that require several trades to complete.

The City says they feel they are properly following the law, but are still studying the facts. In the end a judge could have to decide who is right.

The city plans a multi million dollar rehab at the Gordon Sports Complex to get it back in shape to host state and national softball tournaments, to bring tourists and millions of dollars in revenue to town. The low bidder so far is Metro Power, an Albany electrical contractor.

The second low bidder, Kinney Construction, says Metro Power is not qualified for the job by new state law.

Kinney Construction owner Robert Kinney said "You have to be a licensed general contractor to perform this type work. And clearly they are not, as far as I am concerned, the low bidder is not a licensed general contractor."

There are provisions in the state general contracting law that say any person qualified with the Department of Transportation or licensed to do the predominant scope of the work can get the job.  And that's why the city thinks Metro Power is qualified.

Albany Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said "In this particular job so much of it is electrical. We are rehabbing a ball field. All new lighting and electrical systems. It is the primary source of the work."

But Kinney says electrical is only 33 percent of the job. Kinney said "Requires most every trade in general construction. You got plumbing, electrical, HVAC, painting, roofing, site contractors. Therefore in my opinion they are not licensed to do this work."

Kinney filed his protest, using this job as a precedent to make sure the city of Albany continues to follow the new state law, requiring state licensed general contractors.

Kinney said "We'll take it as far as we have to. I am committed to protect not only myself but the other general contractors who are up against the same thing."

Smith said "As I understand it, this is new. Of course we are having to learn some of it on the fly. Mr. Kinney's request to look into it was welcomed, frankly."

The final bid on the Gordon Sports Complex job will not be finally awarded until City Commissioners vote in October.     Smith says their legal department is still going over the state law to make sure they are complying.

Metro Power's low bid is $2,698,000.  Kinney's bid is about $19,000 higher. He says his protest is not so much about this one job, but making sure that Albany and all other municipalities follow the new state law requiring state licensed general contractors.

Kinney says if it comes to it, he will file a lawsuit against the city of Albany if they do not follow the contractor's law requirements.  And he has the backing of other state licensed general contractors in this fight.

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