Tampa City Council examines contract appeals processTampa City Council examines contract appeals pro
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06/25/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The Tampa City Council today to look at changing the appeals process for contract bids. The issue came up after members of a local security firm complained before the Council today about having lost a bid.

Chris Castillo is a private investigator with Sable One Investigations. He said he had reviewed all of the proposals up for contracts this year, and said Tampa is shunning local businesses.

Michael Hadley is the President of Sable One The company was recently denied a bid to provide security to a number of city sights, even though they were local and offered the lowest bid.

Earlier this month, WMNF reported on the complaints of Sable One. At the time, Gregory Spearman with the City of Tampa Purchasing Department, said that regulations say that a local contact will go to the lowest, 'responsive, responsible' bidder.

But Mayor Iorio's Chief of Staff, Darrell Smith, rejected Sable One's bid, giving examples in a letter in which he said they fell short of being responsive and responsible.

Currently, when a city department rejects a procurement bid, the business can appeal. But that appeal is heard internally, by another city official. They then can go to Circuit Court to appeal further.

But Council Chairman Thomas Scott said today that is simply unfair.

City Attorney Chip Fletcher said the way the process currently runs, the Mayor is not involved – but Council Chair Scott immediately called him on that.

Councilman John Dingfelder chimed in in agreement with Scott.

Thomas Scott emphasized that he was not trying to challenge the powers of the Mayor, but was simply looking for fairness.

The Council then voted to have the City Attorney come back in 90 days on presenting an ordinance to provide a hearing master to hear appeals on requests for proposals, and procurement bids.

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