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Decision No. 14,146

Appeal of WORLD NETWORK INTERNATIONAL SERVICES, INC. (WNIS) from a determination of the Board of Education of the Brentwood Union Free School District rejecting its bids on two public works projects.

Decision No. 14,146

(June 21, 1999)

Bernard T. Callan, Esq., for respondent

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Brentwood Union Free School District ("respondent") rejecting its bids on two public works projects. The appeal must be dismissed.

In 1998, respondent authorized the solicitation of bids for a number of construction projects. According to respondent, petitioner submitted bids on only two of those projects, both of which were rejected by respondent for a variety of reasons, including petitioner’s failure to submit the required bid security. This appeal ensued.

Although it is not entirely clear, it appears that petitioner challenges respondent’s rejection of its bids and seeks to be awarded the contracts. Unfortunately, it is impossible to discern from the petition the precise nature of petitioner’s claims, or the specific bid solicitations petitioner seeks to challenge. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on June 26, 1998.

Respondent raises a number of procedural defenses, including that the petition: is not in proper form; fails to contain a clear and concise statement of petitioner’s claims; and fails to name the successful bidders as respondents. In addition, respondent claims that the appeal is moot to the extent that petitioner challenges respondent’s decision to reject its bid on the district’s "General Work Contract 1" because respondent has decided not to proceed with that project. As to the merits, respondent claims that it properly rejected both of petitioner’s bids as unresponsive and indefinite.

I will initially address respondent’s procedural objections. Pursuant to "275.10 of the Commissioner’s regulations, the petition must contain a clear and concise statement of petitioner’s claims showing that the petitioner is entitled to relief. "Such statement must be sufficiently clear to advise the respondent of the nature of petitioner’s claim and of the specific act or acts complained of." (8 NYCRR "275.10). Where petitioner is not represented by counsel, a liberal interpretation of this regulation is appropriate, absent prejudice to the opposing party (Appeal of Shaver, 38 Ed Dept Rep 570, Decision No. 14,096).

Even applying a liberal interpretation of this regulation, the instant petition is woefully deficient. It is impossible to discern from petitioner’s two-page narrative the specific acts complained of or the legal basis for petitioner’s claims. The petition does not reference with sufficient clarity any particular bid solicitation or cite a single date to allow respondent to identify the acts complained of. Nor does the petition state any coherent legal theory that would provide respondent with notice of the basis upon which it seeks relief. Accordingly, the petition must be dismissed as deficient under "275.10 of the Commissioner’s regulations (Appeal of Jenkins, 36 Ed Dept Rep 497, Decision No. 13,784).

The appeal must also be dismissed, in part, as moot. It is well settled that the Commissioner will only consider matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exists or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal June D., 38 Ed Dept Rep 596, Decision No. 14,101; Appeal of Foshee, 38 id. 346, Decision No. 14,051). Respondent states that it did not make any award on "General Work Contract 1" because it has decided not to proceed with that project. Accordingly, the petition is moot to the extent that petitioner challenges respondent’s rejection of its bid on this project.

Even if the appeal were not dismissed on procedural grounds, I would dismiss it on the merits. Pursuant to General Municipal Law "103, public works contracts involving an expenditure of more than $20,000 must be awarded "to the lowest responsible bidder furnishing the required security" (General Municipal Law "103). Petitioner failed to submit any bid security with either of its bids, as required by respondent’s bid solicitations. On this basis alone respondent was entitled to reject petitioner’s bids. Accordingly, I find that respondent’s decision to do so was proper (La Barge Bros. Co., Inc. v. Town of Cicero, 104 Misc 2d 764; Matter of Appeal of Boulevard Upholstering Company, 1 Ed Dept Rep 466, Decision No. 6746).

In light of this disposition, I decline to address the parties’ remaining contentions.

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE