25 August 2009 | Jake Kanter
Global food and facilities supplier Sodexo has alleged the Guam government violated procurement procedures in the award of a food service management contract.
In a protest letter to the Guam Public School System (GPSS) this month, the French company said "flawed" purchasing procedures meant the incumbent supplier, locally based King's Restaurant LLC, was favoured during tendering.
Sodexo argued that, despite repeated requests, the GPSS did not provide details of the number of school breakfasts and lunches required for the contract. As a result, the company said the price for providing the service was unclear.
In contrast, King's knew the number of meals required - based on its history of supplying them - and was able to provide an informed quote, the Sodexo letter added.
Sodexo said the GPSS was legally prohibited from officially awarding the contract until its protest was resolved. But on 12 August Michael Cruz, acting governor of the Pacific island, said awarding the food service management contract was necessary to protect the interests of the Department of Education, and to continue to provide meals to 31,000 students. He declared a "state of emergency" to make sure that the deal commenced without delay.
Sodexo refused to comment on specific details, but said it was confident the situation would result in a "fair determination".
The GPSS failed to respond to SM's requests for comment.