Yet Another Contract Awarded Without Competitive Bid
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I traced Mitch Nowak to Motorola Solutions as account exec. Is this the one and same guy who is registered as a lobbyist with coral springs and also making campaign contributions to tom powers and Dan Daley. I noticed that the accountability under his name is not uniform. powers show Mitchell Nowak “communications” with an address in ARK and daley shows Mitch Nowak ” acct exec” with a ft Lauderdale address. how can this pass the smell test.i am just saying?? –  F.F.

December 18, 2013 Coral Springs, Florida  Once again the city of coral springs commissioners gave away taxpayers money without going out for bid, single sourcing an $8,732,900 contract to Motorola for the upgrading of the city police and fire rescue radio system.  This despite protests from other companies that wanted to bid on the deal.  During this meeting, sitting in the audience was a representative from the lobby firm of Ericks Consultants. This firm represents Motorola as a lobbyist.  They also represent Coral Springs , as a lobbyist. The rep was sitting with the people from Motorola that were attending this meeting.   Is it possible that this is why Motorola was the only company chosen and the city did not go out for competitive bidding? What role did they play in making sure ONLY Motorola was chosen by the city stopping any other company from bidding?

Going out for competitive bid on contracts keeps government honest and keeps citizens like you an me from thinking anything different.  There is no reason to single source any contract.

In the case of the Public safety radio system, the city manager and staff tried to make the case that only one company,  Motorola , could fit the needs of the city’s requirements to upgrade the existing public safety system to the new P25 ( Project 25) standards.   However, there are several companies, Harris Corporation, Tyco Electronics, EFJohnston and Motorola that have systems that use this standard.  There was a protest by one of the companies that wanted to bid this project. They claimed that there was no reason for the city to single source the police and fire communication system since they have an equal if not better product than Motorola. In fact, P25 standard was put into effect so that every company that provides public safety systems need to have equipment that can be used by each others system.

Single sourcing is allowed in this city as a result of an ordinance that they put into effect a few months ago when the city manager said they needed single sourcing for special operations purchases by the police during secret undercover ops.  The bill was passed 5-0 and now they are using it at will. In other words, they planned all of this, ahead of time, so that they can simply give away public funds as they wish, without going for bid.

Even more unusual was the whole process at the city commission meeting.  They needed to pass an ordinance to increase the budget by $5.5Millon to cover the hardware costs for the radio system.  This was the budget they changed at the last meeting as well, and which was passed only a few months ago.  the extra $500,000 was added to what they are paying Motorola to cover the costs of a project manager.  The city manager later explained that they really need more like another $100,000 but they want $500,000  just in case they forgot to include something.  They changed the budget at the last meeting to cover the costs of another project manager. Two budget change increases within a few months of passing the budget. Sounds like Washington! 

Part of the presentation of the ordinance and the change in the budget was that the increase in costs this year will be covered by a bond issue referendum in November 2014 to be voted upon by the citizens. However it was pointed out during public hearings that the citizens could very well say no to the bond , perhaps due to their discontent with the city not going out for bid.  Ignoring this, the budget change was passed unanimously by the commissioners. 

The city staff then  carefully orchestrated a series of speakers that tried to assure everyone that single sourcing the contract was really needed. First, was the Chief of Police, that had good intentions and actually believed the people at Motorola and the consultant that the city hired.  He stated that no other system could fit their needs. Then the consultant they hired,  RCC , said that the city did a great job and there really is no need to bid this publicly because they already reviewed other companies and Motorola was the only one that met their criteria.  The consultant would be paid to make sure that Motorola met their obligations.

Then the commissioners spoke.  One commissioner said that they needed the new system since if you need to call the police you want to make sure they can communicate to get to you as quickly as possible. ( Not sure what this meant , but I am assuming he thinks that the police cannot communicate now.  Their response time is better than ever with the current radio system).  Then another commissioner  mentioned that he spoke to his friends ( did not give any names) and they told him that Motorola was the best. He also said that they rarely give any contracts to one company. Obviously he did not read the minutes in front of him which 6 other contracts , including a single source lease for $1,000,000 ( click here to read) were given out last meeting without bidding, and in this meeting:

a) Long Term Vehicle Leasing for $58,0000

b) Architectural Design and Engineering Services for $341,925 chosen  to design the city hall.

c) the $8,732,900 for the radio system for police and fire, including $3,734,200 of maintenance agreement.

The commissioner must not be reading the material given to him by the city manager since it is quite obvious that more times than not, the commissioners are giving away contracts to signal source suppliers.

One commissioner actually said that she cannot possibly understand all of the terminology and technical jargon and since she trusts the Coral Springs city staff, they must know what they are talking about.  This was assuming that the staff knew what they were talking about, which the staff pointed out that they did not know and relied upon the consultant that they hired.

Mayor Boccard held up a loose leaf binder evidently containing information on the Motorola system pointing out that they do not just make fast decisions but actually read the material.   Most people at this meeting possibly felt the same way, that is,  there was no way for these commissioners to know how to even make a decision. So they voted unanimously to give Motorola the contract, even though no one understood what exactly Motorola was giving them, but as long as someone said it was good then it must be.

The city commissioners, city manager and staff are obviously moving forward with a policy not in keeping with an open free market system. Refusing to get multiple prices on any item that they need to procure, and then justifying with shallow reasoning is simply Un-American.

This is why we have elections.  So that we can make changes to those that represent us, especially when they are simply out of control.


Author: HelpMeHoward