County loses $5M CRTC contract

ALPENA — The Alpena County Sheriff’s Office has provided security detail at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center for the last 13 years, and that revenue has allowed the county to do many things it may not have been able to do without it.

It also provided employment for 20 employees who work at the CRTC.

Now, it appears that contract could be going away, as well as the benefits that came with it.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget’s Procurement Services Office has recommended to the State Administrative Board that two private contractors be awarded contracts for security assignments at bases in the state. Nine bids were received for those services.

Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski learned of the state’s decision Tuesday after The News received a copy of the recommendation and reached out to the sheriff for reaction. After reviewing the documents, Kieliszewski broke the news to the Alpena County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Tuesday.

“It appears we were not successful in the bid process, and we now have a lot of work in front of us in terms of talking to the staff out there and we will have a transition period we will have to work through,” he said.

Kieliszewski thanked the State of Michigan for the opportunity to guard the base. He said it was an honor for the office to do so.

The State Administrative Board, which has the final say on most of the state’s bigger contracts, has not voted on the proposed deal, yet. If the board accepts the recommendation, as expected, Allied Universal Security Services will take over the job for a fee of about $2.5 million for the next two years and then there are three one-year renewals possible afterward.

Kieliszewski said his bid was for three years and $5 million.

“I don’t know how this company is going to do it for that amount, but, apparently, they think they can, and I wish them success and we’ll do everything we can to make the transition as smooth as possible,” the sheriff said.

Kieliszewski didn’t want to speculate how much revenue the county would lose once the current contract extension ends in August, but he said it will be significant. He said it could dramatically impact the county’s budget and those who are employed at the base.

The county has utilized a portion of the revenue from the security contract to help purchase dozens of police cars over the years, as well as other equipment for the sheriff’s office and other departments in the county. Many of those purchases would not have been possible without the contract.

The commissioners have also used some of the funds to balance budgets in the past, but that will no longer be an option.

Commissioner Brad McRoberts said he was disappointed by the news, but now that the county knows where it stands, there is work to do to be sure any ongoing obligations are fulfilled.

“We are going to have to check our budgets, see if we have any outstanding liabilities, and see what bills we have out there that will still need to be paid,” McRoberts said. “If we do have any money that was supposed to be spent from the contract revenue, we need to make sure it is stopped.”

The state will hold debriefings for organizations who were not selected to explain why they weren’t chosen.

Kieliszewski said he would arrange one of the meetings to see what caused the county to lose the job.

“I will be making arrangements to talk to them further about this,” he said.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpeanews.com.