On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, L-5751-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued September 18, 2007
Before Judges Coburn, Fuentes and Grall.
The extraordinary proceedings leading up to this appeal began on October 3, 2006, when, pursuant to the Competitive Contracting in Lieu of Public Bidding Statute, N.J.S.A. 40A:11- 4.1 to -4.5, Essex County issued a public request for proposals to provide medical services for three years to the Essex County Correctional Facility. Two entities submitted proposals: plaintiff CFG Health Systems, LLC ("CFG"), and defendant Correctional Health Services, LLC ("CHS"). CFG's price was about $31.9 million and CHS's price was about $36.1 million. On December 13, 2006, the Director of the Essex County Department of Corrections issued a memorandum, to the County's Chief of Administrative Services, Office of Purchasing, recommending the CHS proposal notwithstanding its higher cost.
The memorandum analyzed the bids in the following manner:
Attached for your information is the completed Evaluation Score Sheets for the above reference Request for Proposal (RFP) for medical services at the Essex County Correctional Facility (CC 06-296). The criteria used to evaluate the two (2) responses [are] described on pages 112 and 113 of the original Request for Proposal.
Based upon the criteria of the RFP, the Correctional Health Services (CHS) proposal received a higher score (75.2) than CFG Health Systems, LLC (49.2). As a result, it is my recommendation and that of the Evaluation Committee to initiate the development of a contract to Correctional Health Services for medical services. It is also our recommendation to enter into this contract for three (3) calendar years (2007, 2008 and 2009) in order to take advantage of their reduced cost proposal with the option for two (2), additional one (1) year extensions if the County elects to exercise this. The costs for each of the next three (3) years will not exceed:
(1) CY 2007 -$11,394,504.00,
(2) CY 2008 - $12,024,480 and
(3) CY 2009 - $12,697,620
It should be noted that the Evaluation Committee is fully cognizant of the approximately $4.2 million difference in the CHS and CFG proposals over the life of the three (3) contract. In reviewing this significant cost disparity, it was unanimously agreed by the Evaluation Committee that there were very serious concerns with several aspects of the CFG's proposal, experience and presentation which resulted in the decision to consider and support the higher CHS cost proposal. These concerns include, but are not limited to the following:
· CFG had a weak transition plan with little Information Technology support and a questionable staffing/recruitment program;
· CFG has no experience with Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems staffing - none of their existing ...