June 7, 2010

Fight over CAR25 consultant may change city law

Remember the fights earlier this year about the mayor hiring a public information officer and trying to hire a consultant for CAR25?

Both may be history if the City Council approves a change in how the city bids out contracts for professional services. Aldermen Terry McCarthy and Greg Helding won support Monday night for their proposal to require the city to bid out any professional services contract that exceeds $25,000. Right now professionals services, such as legal fees and consultants, are exempt from competitive bids.

The council's Finance and Personnel Committee approved the new bidding process Monday. Along with requiring bids for contracts over $25,000, the new policy also directs the city's purchasing manager to secure and record three informal bids for contracts under $25,000, if practical.

The new ordinance is expected to effect about 12 city contracts. Legal fees that average less than $50,000 per year of a contract are exempt under the proposed changes.

The bidding process came under review earlier this year after controversy arose over Mayor John Dickert's plans to award a $40,000 no-bid contract to a local TV producer to overhaul CAR 25. The mayor was also questioned about awarding RAMAC a contract to hire PIO Mark Eickhorst for $25,000 without taking bids.

Both contracts would require competitive bids under Helding and McCarthy's proposal.