A landscaping contractor who was passed over for work around Gilroy has told the city council it shouldn’t hire a company that doesn’t check the immigration status of its employees.Mike Carter, a representative from BrightView LLC, which had worked in the city for five years, took exception with the hiring practices of the soon-to-be new contractors in regards to immigration status.
“There is no contract language that requires that a vendor’s employees be citizens of the United States and that will have an adverse effect on the people who use Gilroy parks,” Carter said. “Currently a contractor’s employees only need to pass a background check to work in Gilroy parks, but there is no requirement that they are authorized to work in our country.”
The city replaced the San Jose based-company with Alpine Landscapes of Gilroy and Jensen Landscaping of San Jose. The two contracts, both three years with two-year options, were awarded through a bidding process where the city weighed the cost and the firm’s ability to perform the services, totaled $935,007 to Jensen Landscaping and $262,477 for Alpine Landscapes.
Carter’s argument regarding citizenship fell on deaf ear. City Attorney Andy Faber and City Administrator Gabe Gonzalez pointed out that employees of contractors are not city employees. Second, BrightView missed the deadline to to submit a bid and were thus not considered.
“We felt that it was a matter of public safety, especially in parks where kids play and where people play sports and have parties,” Carter said. “If police officers and teachers are required to be U.S. citizens, should workers contracted with the city be citizens as well?”
Carter did not dispute that the company was late with its bid. The mistake was a costly one, indeed.
“That’s true, we were late,” Carter said. “We had a young manager who did not give himself enough time or got stuck in traffic. We needed to have it in by 2pm and he didn’t make it until 2:06 pm.”
After soliciting bids to service the city’s 23 sound walls, medians and islands, the landscaping for eight city buildings, 15 parks, 11 downtown landscaping areas and 16 water facility sites the city decided that Jensen Landscape was the most qualified applicant to do the job. Jensen Landscape will perform routine services such as plant and tree care, weed and pest control, litter pick-up, irrigation maintenance and general seasonal maintenance like leaf removal.
To support its growing population, Gilroy has expanded available parks and recreation areas for Gilroyans. The new sites include Cydney Casper Park next to Las Animas School, Village Green mini-park at Third Street and Santa Teresa Boulevard, the Traffic Circle at Third Street and Santa Teresa Boulevard along with several new areas for public use near Hecker Pass.
In August 2017 the city advertised in the Gilroy Dispatch and the San Jose Mercury News a request for bids, which netted eight contractors who submitted formal proposals. The companies that submitted bids attended a mandatory half-day review meeting at the City Yard on October, 26 with a tour of city sites which followed. A selection committee held formal interviews on November 29 at City Hall.
The city used six criteria to make its selection: the cost of service, the resources available to each contractor, safety records, the contractor’s proximity to the city, the contractor’s personnel expertise in performing similar jobs and references. Following the review, the city determined that Jensen Landscape was the best choice for Gilroy.
Owing to the expansion of the city’s public lands according to documents available to the public on the city’’s website, the price of the contract rose from $734,048 in the previous agreement to $935,007 for the new contract.
The city utilized the same bidding process when they selected Alpine Landscapes to service the Community Facilities District Parks & Landscape Maintenance areas, which are privately owned lands where landscaping costs are paid directly through property taxes.