FBO Owner Protests Schlemeyer Field Airport Bidding Process

Aug. 28--A local man has filed an official complaint with the Ector County Commissioners' Court after being passed over on the bid for the next fixed-base operator for Schlemeyer Field airport.

Raymond Spengler Jr. filed the complaint with the commissioners court and claimed that a number of bidding guidelines and laws were broken during the bidding process.

Spengler, the owner of Skypark Aviation LLC, was one of four bidders who applied to be the next fixed-base operator, or day-to-day management company, of the airport. FarMor Aviation has been the FBO for the past 10 years, but will relinquish that title Sept. 30 as Wildcatter Aviation LLC takes over.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Childers, who along with Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Simmons and John Landgraf made up the selection committee, said he doesn't think the commissioners' court did anything wrong.

He said he couldn't get into specifics about proposals until the contract was signed with Wildcatter Aviation, but he said their proposal was "incredible."

"Trust me, there was nothing shady about it," Childers said. "We just do what we always do. It's the same process we go through for just about everything we do."

Camden Chancellor, Spengler's attorney, said they hope to find some answers during the Sept. 8 commissioners' court meeting, where they will have a hearing about the protest, which was filed July 29.

"What we're doing with this protest is not necessarily alleging that there is a problem," Chancellor said. "What we're saying is there needs to be a hearing to determine if there was a problem."

Spengler said he would have at least liked to have an interview, especially because he said he should have gotten veteran's preference as a U.S. Army veteran.

Spengler also said he's been in the aviation industry for 13 years.

"I'm not a sore loser," Spengler said. "That's not the whole purpose. But when I think something is fraudulent and out of bounds, I speak out."

Spengler and Chancellor make nine accusations in the formal protest: the award was made without compliance with required timelines in the request for proposals; the award was made without sufficient recommendation proceedings by the purchasing agent; the award was made without consideration for mandatory value factors as specified in Texas law; the award was made without giving second preference to Texas resident bidders; the award was made without preference to purchase products and materials produced in Texas; the award was made without attention to laws concerning veteran-owned small businesses; Skypark was improperly accused of violating conflict of interest communication policies; the purchasing agent gave a biased, arbitrary and unreasonable recommendation; and the resolution of the prior complaints would have led to either an interview or selection of Skypark for the bid.

?Contact Jon Vanderlaan on twitter at @OAcourts, on Facebook at OA Jon Vanderlaan or call 432-333-7763.

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