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Independent adjudicator to review RDCK furniture contract

Regional District of Central Kootenay is appointing an independent adjudicator to review its decision to purchase office furniture from Vancouver Island company rather than a Nelson business that offered a lower price.

Last week RDCK directors approved a $182,000 contract with Graphic Office Interior Ltd. to supply new office furniture for its Nelson office. This upset Cowan Office Supply of Nelson, which had a bid for the contract that was about $20,000 lower.

Cowan's owners criticized the decision in a letter to the Regional District, which was shared with the Star. Regional District chief administrator Brian Carruthers defended the board's choice, saying price wasn't the only consideration. He revealed the scoring matrix that had been used to compare the two bids.

But the public outcry continued, with some residents accusing the RDCK of basing its decision on biased and inaccurate information.

The independent adjudicator will now review the RDCK procurement process and bring a report to the May 15 board meeting.

RDCK board chair John Kettle said in a media release that "no action will be taken on the execution of the approved contract awards until such time as the board has received the adjudicator’s report."

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