Selectman Urges Town To Ensure Competitive Bids Are Sought for Tree-Pruning Job At Irwin


One of New Canaan’s highest elected officials on Tuesday opened a discussion about whether the town secures multiple bids for work prior to approving contracts.

Looking onto the front lawn of Irwin House from Weed Street. Credit: Michael Dinan

Selectman Kit Devereaux prior to voting in favor of a $4,420 contract with a Norwalk-based company to prune apple trees on the front lawn of Irwin Park asked during a regular Board of Selectmen meeting: “When something is that large, do we get a second opinion? Second bid?”

Tree Warden Bob Horan was not in attendance at the meeting, held in Town Hall.

The front lawn of Irwin House. Credit: Michael Dinan

The town’s administrative officer, Tom Stadler, said other tree work typically is bid but that he didn’t know whether this particular item had been. It’s possible that the company, called The Care of Trees, are specialists, Stadler said.

Recreation Director Steve Benko said the contract has been bid out in the past and that the company “has done a nice job of bringing those trees back.”

“They prune them and bring them back to shape,” Benko said. “I know that he [Horan] has put them out to bid before. I assume they were the low bidder.”

Devereaux said she’d like an answer because “I know that a lot of people who would like that work, so I hope that we do get second bids.”

Stadler said that the same company has been doing the job at Irwin Park for the past two years and maintained its price.

Separately, Devereaux said she heard from a resident at Canaan Parish, the Section 8 housing complex at Route 123 and Lakeview Avenue, that “evidentaly a whole bunch of trees are coming down” because they’re said to be a threat to the housing “but the people who live there do not see a threat.”

Stadler said it could be a state job or Eversource job.

Ultimately, Devereaux along with First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Nick Williams voted in favor of the Irwin Park apple tree pruning contract.

One thought on “Selectman Urges Town To Ensure Competitive Bids Are Sought for Tree-Pruning Job At Irwin

  1. Kit raises a great question, apparently received non-definitive answers according to the report, and, yet, all selectmen voted yes anyway.

    Either something is missing from the reporting, or:

    1. Every contract must go to bid, with qualifications for bidders announced ahead of time.
    2. Whomever is seeking funding, such as Tom Stadler or the Tree Warden in this case, must be at the funding request presentation with competing bids in hand. And,
    3. if #1 &#2 are not in place, defer the vote until #1 & #2 are in place.

    In this case, it is mid December and there is plenty of time to prune trees. It is not “12pm on a Wednesday with a police station, fire station or school boiler broken”, so what is the rush to vote?

    I am sure those trees will be fine and $4k is not $4MM in the context of NC’s budget, but let’s get the proper protocol straight as a matter of good business.

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