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AZ. lawmakers want the low bid contract

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Topic Originally Created in July of 2005:

 

Towing-contract process reviewed
Low-bid way is threat to safety, lawmakers told

Senta Scarborough and Justin Juozapavicius
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 29, 2005 12:00 AM

Awarding police towing contracts based on the lowest bid creates a system that lacks responsibility and places the public at risk, nearly a dozen industry experts, lobbyists and citizens told a legislative ad-hoc committee Thursday.

"What is a life worth to you?" asked Pete Colantoni, the president of the Arizona Professional Recovery & Towing Association.

Colantoni, who owns B&B Wrecker Service in Phoenix, said he opposes the lowest-bid method because it could lead to longer response times and place the public and officers at risk.

Thursday's fact-finding hearing at the state Capitol was led by Sen. Thayer Verschoor and Rep. Andy Biggs, both Gilbert Republicans. The committee is examining the process that the Arizona Department of Public Safety awards its police towing contracts.

DPS uses a fixed-rate rotation system that involves several towing companies, but some lawmakers want the contract to go to the lowest bidder, which they believe is called for under state law.

Biggs and Verschoor questioned the legality of using a fixed-rate, rotational system because they say state law requires a competitive bidding process.

DPS began switching to the new process in 2002, saying it provides a fair, market-based price and has significantly lowered citizen complaints. Except for its East Valley operation, DPS oversees 215 contracts with 203 towing providers.

Critics have said that the real purpose of the hearing was to ensure that Mesa-based Cactus Towing regains the exclusive contract for the East Valley that expired in June.

Cactus held an exclusive contract in Mesa for 10 years and was recently awarded part of a new towing contract that split the city into quarters. The company is the center of a fraud investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Cactus owner Lee Watkins and General Manager Todd DeMasseo, who showed for the hearing, deny any wrongdoing.

Mesa Councilwoman Janie Thom, one of the few speakers not involved in the towing industry, said a low-bid, single-provider system has "opened the door to charges of abuse" in her city.

 

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Jeepers1 said:

A few of us attended the meeting. It was to say the least a bunch of legislatures who have no clue what it takes to do the job. They were willing to listen however they are stuck on the A.R.S. Laws so I believe until these are changed the low bid tow will win out. As it stands - I think Catus did a 1 cent or 1 dollar tow (can't remember which) but those that were at the meeting stated that they get their money somehow by adding other fee to it. I think it's who you know here and not what you know. AZ historically has always been a low pay - right to work state- so not many are trained to do the job correctly. I believe that the towing community in AZ will need to stick together - which in itself will be a hug undertaking........real bad undercutting going on here and if they would all realize that they could all make a decent living things would be much better here. I could go on and on but I'll stop for now - Laurie

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Western towing has the contract for Phoenix as police department. They train their people as to how to tow correctly. As did shamrock towing. There is no threat to the public as to drivers causing accidents. Having a low bid does not mean poorer service.

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