Mercury Public Affairs did not rebid on a $9 million, five-year communications contract with the California High-Speed Rail Authority despite being the frontrunner in September before board members raised objections.
After the board objected, Rail Authority officials scrapped their previous recommendation and reopened the bidding process last month. At the time, Mercury said it would do whatever the board asked. But the firm has since decided not to reapply, saying it lacks confidence in the new bidding process.
"Mercury followed the initial (bidding) process to a tee but we were ultimately sidelined because of internal politics," said Mercury spokesman Brian Jones. "We have subsequently decided to not to invest our time, energy or resources into a process we no longer have confidence in, nor believe in."
There are multiple ways to read this: sour grapes that they didn't get the contract the first time, genuine lack of confidence in the process, annoyance that the skids aren't greased this time around as well (note: I don't believe the skids were greased, but that is an interpretation that's been floated).
Ultimately this will wind up increasing confidence and legitimacy in the CHSRA's bidding process, even if there will still be some critics out there arguing that this is "$9 million for PR" and thereby missing the point entirely (this is for all the agency's communications work, including public outreach, scoping sessions, publishing all those business plans that Roy Ashburn demands, etc).
The final decision on who will receive the contract will be made at the November CHSRA board meeting.