RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 23, 2009) — The North Carolina Department of Administration has awarded the state's contract for retreads to three retreaders, ending a 28-year run of awarding contracts to a single bidder.
The multi-award contract, worth an estimated $4 million all told, covers the supply of retreaded tires for North Carolina agencies.
Issued Jan. 9 and running through Nov. 30, the contract also stipulates all spot repairs be included in the price of the tire. Contractors may charge only for nail hole repairs and section repairs. Previously, contractors could charge for up to three spot repairs per tire.
Formerly state retread contracts were single-award contracts for bead-to-bead retreads held solely since 1981 by the consistent lowest bidder, White's Tire Service Inc. of Wilson.
The new contract gives White's Tire the sole contract for bead-to-bead retreads because White's Tire is the only bead-to-bead retreader in the state. It also, however, gives the contract for precure retreads to White's Tire and two other contractors, Snider Tire Inc. of Greensboro and Maness Tire & Retreading Inc. of Rockingham. White's Tire was the lowest bidder in five of six precured procurement items.
Controversy over retread procurement began in North Carolina in 2007, after a state audit suggested White's Tire had overcharged the state more than $361,000 for spot repairs. Bobby White, president of White's Tire, said the audit was inaccurate and that his company performed far more spot repairs than for which it charged the state.
Nevertheless, a 2008 study from Smithers Scientific Services Inc. recommended multi-award contracts, saying that both precured and bead-to-bead retreads performed excellently in the field.
Subsequent legislation required the Department of Administration to consider multiple awards in retread contracts. Mr. White, however, said he was told by contract administrator Cathy Griner that the new contract—which was awarded in a closed door meeting—was a mandate from the state legislature.
“Because of politics and propaganda, you'd think my bead-to-bead retreads are a loser,” Mr. White said. Actually, he said, his bead-to-beads outperform new tires in the field, with an adjustment rate of one-sixth of 1 percent.
Ms. Griner could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Wilson Daily Times, Mr. White's hometown paper, editorialized on his behalf. “If legislators did play a part in steering the outcome of the bids, then the whole process was compromised—and with it our faith in how the state is spending our money,” the paper wrote.
However, the Richmond County Daily Journal, hometown newspaper for Maness Tire, praised the multi-award contract as helping the local economy.
Snider Tire, Maness Tire and White's Tire all use the Bandag process, while White's also is a Marangoni RingTread franchisee.