The Long Branch Housing Authority may be in desperate need of a new computer system, but all bids for the upgrade have been rejected.
A resolution to award a contract to Multimax Inc. was taken off the agenda after the authority’s legal council advised the commissioners, during an executive session, to reject the bids.
Kevin Kennedy, the authority’s attorney, said that rejecting the bids would be in the best interest of the housing authority.
"There is an impropriety in the specifications which could lead to potential litigation," said Kennedy, of McLaughlin, Bennet, Gelson and Cramer in Wall.
To further elaborate on the impropriety, Kennedy said, "would not be appropriate."
Other members of the authority said that rejecting the bids would be better than ending up in litigation, which would further delay the upgrade to the computer system.
One of the three bidders for the contract, Isacc Fajerman of Data Network Solutions, Red Bank, said, "They (the commissioners) did the right thing by rejecting the bids."
"The specifications were poorly written," said Fajerman, "and no opening was held for the bids to be read publicly."
Joe Foster, a principal of Millennium OSS, hired by the authority as its consultant, noted that that is "only his (Fajerman’s) opinion. The technical specifications were very specific. What we do not do is mention manufacturers. The only question we had from bidders was on ‘seat management,’ which is service and technical requirements, with help desk service and a technician available for software upgrades.
"Fajerman did not provide a narrative for the seat management," Foster added, "only a spreadsheet with dollar amounts, but not how he arrived at that. Multimax Inc. was the only company that provided a narrative."
In a letter Fajerman wrote to Kennedy on Nov. 12, he said, "Foster stated that he changed all the bid numbers and he created the evaluation criteria after he opened and reviewed the bidders’ proposals."
"We looked for the best value, not the best price," said Foster.
Foster replied to Fajerman in writing, stating, "We looked for a way to fairly evaluate the three widely disparate bids. There was little [commonness] to the way the bids were presented."
About reviewing the bids, Foster said, "We looked for the similarities of the approaches as well as each of those specific responses that met our criteria."
Some aspects of Fajerman’s proposal were favored because of price, but "it would have degraded our current and desired capabilities," said Foster.
Currently the authority runs its property management software on servers that are more than a decade old, and those servers are fast becoming outmoded, according to Foster.
The authority’s servers run a program known as CHAS which is designed to write work orders for housing units, keep repair and maintenance histories on each individual unit, and maintain tenant profiles and terms of agreements.
"A computer crash," said Michael Winnick, housing authority commissioner, "could cost the authority a minimum of $100,000."
The authority now has two options, said Foster, to readvertise or go to state contract.
The three bidders for the contract were Multimax Inc., Data Network Solutions and Empire Inc.
Calls on Friday to Randy Phillips, the authority’s acting director, were not returned.