The Haddonfield Board of Commissioner reappointed Remington & Vernick as the borough engineering firm for the next three years in a split vote this week.
Commissioners Jeff Kasko, the mayor, and Neal Rochford voted in favor of the measure. Commissioner John Moscatelli voted against it at an action meeting Tuesday.
Moscatelli, an engineer who was elected to the Board of Commissioners in May, said he didn't have a problem with Remington & Vernick but "had a problem making a leap past a qualified low-cost bidder."
He said the bidding process was "imperfect" because the amount spent on engineering services yearly can vary depending on how much work is needed.
"It depends on if we're going to do one or two road projects, for example," Moscatelli said after the meeting.
Three firms bid for the contract: Environmental Resolutions Inc.(ERI) of Mount Laurel, Pennoni, with a local office in Haddon Heights and Remington & Vernick, with a local office in Haddonfield.
Moscatelli said ERI was about 25 percent lower for some services in the bidding process. But he conceded it was difficult to quantify because there was not one final bid amount.
He said the borough typically spends $500,000 to $1 million yearly for engineering services.
Kasko, entering his second, four-year term as a commissioner and first year as mayor, said the commissioners did a thorough job evaluating the firms. He said he decided Remington & Vernick was the best qualified.
Rochford, who was reelected to a second term as commissioner after a four-year hiatus, said he favored Remington & Vernick because of their "track record of being on time and on budget."
John Sullivan, 47, an attorney and resident of Windsor Avenue, challenged the board's decision during public comment.
"As a taxpayer, as a resident, I want to make sure if there are low-cost bidders out there, that we're getting the best value for our money," he said.
Sullivan held up an 83-page printout of Remington & Vernick contributions to political campaigns statewide. He said they were the largest political contributor in the state.
Kasko said Remington & Vernick had not contributed to any borough commissioner's campaign. He also said the borough is not obligated to choose the lowest bidder for a professional services contract.