GREENFIELD — The purchase of new locks for the Hancock County Jail came to a screeching halt Tuesday morning, when concerns were raised over the two bids.
The Hancock County Commissioners were scheduled to award a contract to Crowder Detention or Federal Locking Service Tuesday.
Crowder had submitted a bid of $345,000 to replace the jail’s aging locks. Federal Locking Service had quoted $277,550 but did not include all of the locks in its bid.
After expressing concerns about the price, the commissioners will look at a third contractor. Commissioner Brad Armstrong said he approached CML RW Security about the jail locks. Armstrong personally knows one of the firm’s partners and had the Colorado-based company look over the Crowder bid.
Crowder’s bid envisioned an installation that would require significant welding and cutting on cell doors. CML RW Security’s representative said the job may be able to be done with less modification.
“I think if there’s a lock available that fits without having to do all the welding, that will be a better solution,” Armstrong said.
Commissioner Tom Stevens said he was also concerned with the bid specifications and the fact that the county had not asked for warranty information. Stevens suggested throwing the bids out entirely and starting fresh, with more complete bid specifications.
Ultimately, commissioners decided to wait two weeks. Armstrong said jail staff will speak with the representative of CML RW about a different type of lock.
“There’s a good chance we’ll ask for new bids on it,” Armstrong said.
But Sheriff’s Maj. Brad Burkhart expressed concern about the delay. The department wanted the locks to be replaced immediately. Sheriff’s officials also wanted to award the job to Crowder Detention of Carmel immediately, but commissioners decided to seek other proposals instead to see if money could be saved.
Commissioners said Tuesday they still want to move quickly on the jail locks, but they’re hesitant with the proposals that came in. Armstrong said in retrospect, he wishes he would have gotten involved in the process earlier to write bid specifications.
“The only thing that’s really changed is the awareness of the problem,” Stevens added. “It is an emergency, but it’s not much more of an emergency than it was two weeks ago.”