NewsMarshall Fire


Group drops request for redo of Marshall Fire debris removal bidding process

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 00:25:35-04

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A nonprofit that claimed Boulder County commissioners improperly convened executive sessions to talk about the Marshall Fire debris removal contract dropped its request for a bidding process redo Tuesday.

In February, Boulder County decided to contract with DRC Emergency Services, LLC, a company based in Louisiana, to handle debris removal after a bidding process.

A nonprofit called Demanding Integrity in Government Spending (DIGS) filed a lawsuit alleging that the commissioners discussed the contract behind closed doors, which is illegal under state statute. According to a filing with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, Michael Brown, the former FEMA administrator under President George W. Bush and current 630 KHOW talk radio host, is behind the group.

In a reply brief, DIGS said it would no longer seek a court order directing Boulder County to rebid the contract "in a Colorado law compliant bidding process." Instead, DIGS is now requesting to depose the commissioners and the evaluation committee. The group said the depositions will be 3.5 hours each.

DIGS argued that the depositions "will provide some level of transparency" regarding the bidding process.

In a press release, Boulder County said this change will allow the debris cleanup process to remove forward. Commissioners believe they will be able to sign the contract with DRC as early as March 22. The county also claimed the lawsuit, despite the change, "remains a distraction."

Boulder County commissioners responded to the lawsuit last month, saying they are frustrated and dismayed by the lawsuit and that they do not believe bid review committees have ever been viewed as local public bodies subject to open meetings and public records laws.

“The County isn't happy about this delay,” Commissioner Matt Jones said in a press release on March 2. “We did everything properly to comply with the law, and we are confident we’ll prevail against this lawsuit. We will be responding as expeditiously as possible with the hope that the courts will resolve the lawsuit quickly. Marshall Fire survivors are waiting for debris removal to happen. Our awarded contractor is ready to go and is lining up subcontractors to perform cleanup work. It’s frustrating that anyone would want to delay our community’s ability to recover from this devastating wildfire.”