A contractor who lost out on the claims the winning bidder, Suffern-based Turco Golf, bid low to run up change orders in what he called a "debacle" of a project.
In a letter addressed to the Glen Rock Board of Education (but actually sent to ) on Sept. 5, Phil Pirro, vice president of Applied Landscape Technologies, said , has been "mismanaged."
District officials had but the finding of unsuitable soil and spells of rain have delayed the opening of the fields until late October, if at all this season.
"Right after the bid, I called your engineer, Spiezle Architects, and told them that I felt the reason for the great difference from low bid to second bid was the handling of the soil and export," Pirro wrote in the letter. His company bid $3,888,857, a full $330,000 more than Turco. The next lowest bidder submitted a total of $4,052,256.
Pirro said the – wet soil excacation was necessary and his firm and four other high bidders anticipated it, as reflected in their higher bids.
Spiezle Architects did not respond to a request for comment.
Pirro also says Turco wasn't even qualified to perform the work.
"I also told him to check his references as Turco Golf only had completed one synthetic turf project in NJ, and the project was late due to 'weather related' delays," he said, adding that since ground broke at Glen Rock his firm has completed three similar turf projects.
Pirro said Turco should submit a "pay and performance bond" to protect the district. The bond assures that all subcontractors and materials are paid by the contractor so the district isn't held financially liable, he said.
"The performance part has to do with the contractor finishing on time and so if he cannot fulfill the obligations under the contract (files chapter 11 or gets terminated for cause), the bonding company is obligated to complete the contract for the bid amount," Pirro told Patch.
Glen Rock Business Administrator Michael Rinderknecht declined to comment on Pirro's statements.
Because of change orders, the Glen Rock fields project is now up to $4,152,376, but still under budget by roughly $400,000.
At Monday night's school board meeting, trustee and operations committee chair Carlo Cella said the multipurpose field remains on track to open by Oct. 19. Rinderknecht will be meeting with the borough's engineer and building department this week to receive a temporary certificate of occupancy (TOC), he added.
Reached for comment Wednesday night, a representative from Turco Golf who refused to provide his name, told Patch Pirro's statements were "garbage" and he was merely a "disgruntled bidder." He had no further comment and declined to answer questions.
On its website, Turco – which specializes in constructing golf courses – says one of the tenants of its company mission is to "be on time and budget."
"We believe that commitments are to be kept, without surprises," the message says. "We pride ourselves on the ability to do what we say, when we say, at an agreed upon investment."
Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.