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AG OKs Whately’s choice for painter

Town Hall work  to begin next week

WHATELY — Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has ruled in favor of Whately’s choice of a Pittsfield company to paint three sides of the Town Hall.

In a five-page decision, the Fair Labor Division of the Attorney General’s Office denied the protest of Cameron Painting of Amherst, which argued the town acted arbitrarily when it accepted Gentlemen Painting of Amherst for the Town Hall painting project.

“I find that the town’s decision to accept Gentlemen’s bid was not arbitrary. The protest is therefore denied,” Assistant Attorney General Deborah A. Anderson wrote in the case summary.

The town will now move forward, Town Administrator Lynn Sibley said. Gentlemen Painting will start painting the front, north and south sides of the historic Town Hall next week and complete the $27,360 estimated job by the end of November.

On Aug. 30, the town went out to bid and four contractors responded. When it submitted the third lowest bid and was not selected for the project, Cameron Painting filed a protest.

Gentlemen Painting offered the cheapest bid, $27,360 for the base bid and $3,700 for the alternate price. Evergreen Construction Corp. of Springfield had the second lowest bid at $49,054, but neglected to include a price for the alternate. Cameron Painting offered $49,060 and $7,460 for the alternate price. Northeast Painting Associates of Northampton had the highest bid of $53,240 and $16,840 for the alternate price.

At a Sept. 25 hearing, Cameron Painting argued Gentlemen Painting did not meet the bid specifications’ requirement of seven years of satisfactory performance because of a project it did for the town of Longmeadow.

Both the town and Cameron contacted Longmeadow’s facility director, Adrian Phaneuf, for a reference, but they reported conflicting reviews.

The Attorney General’s Office, however, found Phaneuf would hire Gentlemen again.

“My conversation with Mr. Phaneuf indicated a satisfactory reference for Gentlemen,” Anderson wrote. “I therefore find that Gentlemen has the necessary satisfactory experience.”

In addition, Cameron also questioned whether Gentlemen will pay the prevailing wage on the project.

Gentlemen countered that it would and it seeks to keep crews working rather than laying off workers. Cameron estimated 45 man-days at $451 per day for a total of $20,295. Gentlemen bid $21,360 for labor and Cameron bid $38,600 for labor.

Again, the Attorney General’s Office ruled against Cameron’s claim, stating there is no evidence that Gentlemen would not pay the prevailing wage on the project.

The paint job precedes the town hall renovation. The back side of the town hall is excluded from the painting project and will be saved for the renovation. Residents will be able to weigh in on the future of their town hall within the next two years.

The town will pay for the paint job through Community Preservation funds. At last annual town meeting, residents approved $55,000 to be used for community preservation.

Kathleen McKiernan can be reached at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.

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