This article was originally published in the Progress Times issue dated Friday, April 12, 2019.
Mission has not conducted an audit of this nature in at least 12 years.
During this week’s city council meeting, Mission was authorized to award a fixed assets, vehicles, equipment and general inventory audit services to Records Consultants, Incorporated. The item was unanimously approved by the city council.
“It’s been since before my time,” Vela said.
Mission received eight proposals on March 8, and from there were referred to an evaluation committee of five people.
“We were looking at an evaluation on the basis of technical qualifications, factors and cost fees to perform the services,” Vela said. “We deemed all proposals acceptable in accordance with the scope and service and evaluation criteria.”
The decision to recommend Records Consultants, Incorporated to the council was made because of the factors of “price, experience of personnel and their experience with local references.”
Records Consultants is based in San Antonio. Vela said none of the bids that came in were from local companies in the Rio Grande Valley. Because it is not in the budget, the finance department reclassified money from the architectural and engineering funds without a budget amendment.
“It’s still professional services, within the same category,” Vela added.
Mayor Pro-Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza asked how the city would maintain the audit once this one was in place. Vela said that the city would be able to decide on the timeline, whether it be annually, bi-annually, or every three years.
“It’s just upon us how often we want to have an outside company come do a physical count of our inventory,” Vela said. “That would be our decision to make.”
Gonzalez Garza said that once the audit is in place, the fixed asset department can use it as a benchmark and maintain the audit from there without having to outsource. Vela noted that Records Consultants has an option to set up their software in order to make that happen.
Council also voted on executing a contract with Hinojosa Engineering, Inc. to do structural engineering services for the Speer Memorial Library and Museum roof design projects. Eight proposals were received by the purchasing department, which determined that three different companies were suitable for the job.
The evaluation committee, made up of the city engineer, public works director and parks and recreation director, recommended McAllen-based CHANIN Engineering, LLC as the “highest qualified” company to do the job, following “careful evaluation, assessment and interviews.” CHANIN Engineering has completed projects for Mission in previous years.
Council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa recommended Hinojosa Engineering, as it was one of the three qualified by the purchasing department.
“I feel that out of the three that were chosen, they’re all top firms, they all met minimum qualifications for RFQs,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “Mr. Hinojosa has 25 years of experience, and is from Mission and he has been trying to do some work for the city of Mission for many, many years, and I would like to give him the opportunity to do so.”
Gonzalez Garza and council member Ruben Plata questioned why they wouldn’t go with CHANIN Engineering, as they were recommended by the committee. Ortega-Ochoa referenced previous work done by CHANIN for the city as one of the reasons not to go with them.
“He has done work with us in our substations for both police and fire [departments],” Ortega-Ochoa said. “And I think the Chief of Police is here, and the fire [chief], so we can discuss how those buildings are right now.”
Gonzalez Garza and Plata voted against the recommendation for Hinojosa Engineering, and Ortega-Ochoa, council member Gus Martinez voted in favor and Mayor Armando O’caña broke the tie by also voting in favor, 3 to 2. The item was approved, and City Manager Randy Perez and staff will negotiate “fair and reasonable firm rates for design” with Hinojosa Engineering.