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City Services Bid Opening Delayed

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By Dave Freneaux

    The City Services Selection Committee will meet today, Thursday, at 5 PM at City Hall to consider an issue regarding the bonding of potential bidders for Central’s City Services contract.  This issue has caused the bid opening, originally scheduled for this Friday, to be moved to next Wednesday, May 4th, at 2:30 PM at the Fire Station on Sullivan near Hooper.  The delayed bid opening is not expected to affect the target dates for the rest of the interview, evaluation and award process.  The information received in these bids will be the basis for the selection committee to interview bidders and make a recommendation to the Mayor.  Included in these bids will be the dollar amount of the bids as well as information about the bidders detailing their qualifications.  While the dollar amount bid is important, the lowest bidder may not be the best candidate to provide the services.  It is the task of the Selection Committee, and ultimately the decision of the Mayor, to select the best contractor or contractors for the job.

     At Central’s City Council meeting Tuesday evening Council Member LoBue made inquiries of the City Attorney as to what role the Council Members play in the selection process.  It was explained that the Council’s role is to provide funding for City Services in Central’s budget, and that the Mayor will select the companies to provide the services so long as the Council approves sufficient monies to fund city services.  City Attorney Sheri Morris also brought to the Council a technical conflict of interest which may arise in the bid process.  Shaw Industries is a possible bidder for this contract and they are represented in a lobbying matter in Lafayette by an attorney who has recently began working with the law firm that employs Sheri Morris.  Both the law firm and Shaw have signed off waiving any concerns over a conflict since the relationship is distant and has no bearing on Ms. Morris’ role in the bid process.

     Council Member DeJohn had, as a courtesy to the Council, introduced a resolution in support of waiving any conflict of interest in the matter.  Council Member Messina pointed out that waiving conflict on behalf of the City of Central is an authority given to the Mayor.  Council Member DeJohn pointed out that to change legal Council unnecessarily would likely delay the City Services Contract selection process.  After it became apparent that only Council Members DeJohn and Moak were interested in bringing the resolution to a vote, DeJohn withdrew the resolution, leaving the decision to the Mayor.  After the meeting Mayor Watts commented that the waiver would be signed and that the City Services Contract process would proceed uninterrupted.

26 Comments

  1. Mike Mannino

    April 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    As I stated at the Council meeting, if Shaw wins this bid, we better be prepared for a lawsuit. that will effectively wipe out any savings we get from a bid. With all the concerns about lawsuits due to Mr Lobues actions, this seems like an illogical decision.

  2. Another Central resident

    April 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Mike,

    If that scenario happens then the only one to blame is Mayor Watts since he would have signed the waiver. I don’t understand why this was brought before the council as a resolution. Mr. DeJohn should have known better.

    If the Mayor has the authority to go into contract with a company with only the council having to approve the funding then it should be the Mayor’s job to grant the waiver.

  3. Ted

    April 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Mike, what does the incident that happened to Mr Lobue have anything to do with this article? You just can’t let it go can you? All your statements about being against personal attacks on FaceBook but you were the one that started the attacks on this site. Also, I read on NCCC where a person made one of the worst personal attacks allowed to stay on any of the FaceBook sites and you checked that you “LIKE” it. The comment about Central Speaks not worth the paper it is typed on and that it’s not worth toilet reading. Mike, you need to take a look in the mirror and go back and read all your post on this site and FaceBook because I feel sorry for you.

  4. Mike Mannino

    April 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks for your sympathy Ted. That really means a lot coming from you. BTW, I dont let anything go until its resolved.

  5. Wade Evans

    April 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Mike, with your intelligence and broad knowledge of everything under the sun, you should stop wasting your gigantic brain on such obvious issues.

  6. Mike Mannino

    April 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you too Wade. I have stopped wasting it on people on here that cant add 2 plus 2 and come up with 4. Somehow, you come up with 3.

  7. Dirk

    April 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    mike lets say there was legal action taken over the lobue incident and they ruled against lobue??? how would you feel then??? serious question…

  8. Ted

    April 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Once again Mr. Mannino can not answer the question’s. What is with your arrogant response?

  9. Mike Mannino

    April 28, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Ted I;m weary of debating with faceless people who dont have the balls to use their real names. Especially tired of explaining over and over the obvious. If you cant make the connection, that your problem. Most people I know can.
    @ Dirk, I will respond to you because you are a real person. If the law says he has done something wrong I stand by that decision. I dont think he is but i certainly am not the final authority. Only can judge by what I feel is a very good case that Woody makes that he is on solid ground and so was I in my records request. Some of you dont get it but I will always stand on the side of whats right and whats legal. Add in ethical also because legal doesnt make it ethical or right.

  10. Dirk

    April 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    i totally agree… look mike i have never personally met dave, talked several times but seems like a good guy… i have been knowing wade for a very long time, another good guy… i know ted, older hard headed but another good guy… and last but not least i have known you longer than any of them… and that is why i do not understand the argument that you have with dave… it wasnt long ago when the woody bashing started… i know woody and i like woody and i like his employee’s… you defended his freedom of speech and freedom of the press and i agreed with you because i did not think it was fair… now you have a problem with dave and cs because of what he printed, sorry but i dont see the argument… and if someone who knows you and considers you a friend, how do you think it looks to the people who may not like you…
    now if there is more to this story then maybe you to should get together… you know as well as i do, especially working for exxonmobil that people/employees attitudes tend to be easily swayed by the people they see as leaders/supervisors… Meaning if a supervisor is hostile, then move than likely the people under him will follow… so if people like you and dave cant work this out then how do you expect a community to follow suit… just my opinion…

  11. Ted

    April 28, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I have been called ugly but never faceless. I’m 65 year old and I would be glad to show you my face up close if you feel the need. I really can’t believe you just had the balls to say and I quote “I;m weary of debating with faceless people who dont have the ball’s to use their real names”. The reason you would make that statement is because you do know the person who run’s NCCC because you two have been feeding each other information and we all know she certainly does not have ball’s, at least I hope not.

  12. Wade Evans

    April 29, 2011 at 6:38 am

    2+2= ORANGE NOT 3

  13. Mike Mannino

    April 29, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Thanks for the civil response Dirk. You and I do go way back thats why it bothered me so much that because I missed one phone call from you somehow I was avoiding you. Known you too long for that and wouldnt avoid you so I apologize if you were offended.

    To your point, Dave and I have had many deep debates, some on here some at his office. We rarely agreed but thats OK. He actually changed my mind on a few things. I dont have to agree with you politically to be your friend because despite our differences out in Central, we are good people, honest, hardworking, god fearing, an honorable. So no matter what we have that in common. Much more important than the trivial things we get heated about. What set me off on this one was that I complimented Dave on the job he has done improving this paper. I then made a suggestion about putting more details about what is behind some of these issues and all hell breaks loose, including personal attacks. I support anybodies right to free speech and certainly cant tell Dave what to write or not to right but honestly thought I was giving him some input to improve his paper. Woody this week had a very detailed explanation of this Lobue issue, with state statutes, precedents, and examples to make his claim that what Tony did was not in violation of any law. This paper was ready to Lynch Tony with no such proof. Now who am I supposed to believe ? The guy that makes his claim and clearly lays out his case or the guy that just makes an accussation with no explaination ? Its a no brainer. Bottom line, that my problem. You cant call this just the facts which it technically is, and leave out half the data that may completely change the readers perception of the event.

    • dave

      April 29, 2011 at 8:12 am

      Mike,
      If you truly believe what you say, I have three very specific questions that I would appreciate you answering.
      1) Have I ever attacked you personally, and if so, please give me a date or a thread?
      2) Did CentralSpeaks.com ever say that Tony did anything illegal? (I will stipulate that I pointed out that what he did was against the advice of legal counsel and against the unanimous vote of the City Council, but those are facts, not accusations.)
      3) If I, in addition to reporting the events that transpire in a meeting, also video the meeting and put it on line, am I not giving the most complete and transparent coverage possible for the event?
      Dave

    • dave

      April 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

      Mike and anyone,
      It is interesting to me to watch the reaction of some to a telling of facts. That list of facts has now been called an editorial, an attempt to “lynch” LoBue, and an attack on LoBue. If I drive 75 miles per hour down Hooper Road, and there is video evidence of it, and someone says I was speeding, it is true. That does not mean they accused me of being a bad driver or of wanting to hurt anyone, it means they know I was speeding. Sometimes it is what we DO, and not what others SAY, that puts us in a bad light. The reason I would be under scrutiny for speeding down Hooper Road is because I WAS SPEEDING. Some people are trying to make LoBue’s mis-step about public records, but that is not the issue. The issue is a Council Member unilaterlally taking an action agaist the specific and unanimous vote of the City Council. When the Central City News explains that away, I will feel they have provided BALANCED background. Until then, it is just an attempt to “change the readers’ perception of the event.

  14. Dirk

    April 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

    mike i understand that we can have a discussion and/or argument and still be friends… i guess that is kinda why i mentioned a judges ruling and wanted to hear your response… now i will say that some judges intepretation of laws may not be exactly what the law maker intented. but you did say that if a judge ruled against lobue in a hypotheditcal ruling, that you would stand by that. so i was just trying to get you to look at it a defferent way…. i guess another reason i chose to speak up more on this point because at one time woody was going to print ” from the mayor desk ” but it was my understanding that he only wanted to print parts of it… now i could be wrong but i thought that is what i remember… i’m sure woody had his reasons… to me it seems just like what i see on the news everyday but there has got to be some middle ground… but i really dont believe daves to blame even if he was wrong… all of the mayors and city councils debating should have been done behind close doors… because one thing in the mayor letter to mr lobue that i did not like is when the mayor suggested lobue resign without fanfare… i thought that really strange and then woody prints the mayor said resign or else… to me it looks similar to this situation…
    this is really my last discussion about this i just hope you and dave can work things out because it only helps the community… because both of you are very influential and could help calm things down…

  15. Another Central resident

    April 29, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Back on topic. I say if Shaw is selected over CSRS, CH2MHill or others and they file suit due to waiver granted by the Mayor over possible conflict of interest; I think it will be time to start a recall petition of the Mayor.

    Maybe Tony can write a letter to the Mayor asking for his resignation.

  16. Mike Mannino

    April 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

    @Dirk, I dont agree with Woody not printing from the mayors desk and I have told him that. So we agree there but just like I cant tell Dave what to print, cant tell Woody, only suggest. Its their paper. I looked at that issue as an offering of peace if nothing else.

    @Citizen, I voiced my strong concerns about this at the council meeting. Seems we are are scared to do things because of imagined lawsuits, this one is a very clear possibilty. Look at the possibilities. Shaw wins the bid, the other 5-6 sue, Ms. Morris has to defend the City. Who wins ? Who loses ? Ms Morris wins either way, the city could end up in a very expensive lawsuit. This is a position inconsistent with all the retoric about lawsuits in this city. Makes no sense to me, why would you even risk it ?

    @ Dave,

    1- No you have not. Usually you and I can discuss/debate things quite professionally. But maybe we were both having a bad day and fueled others to start the attacks. I’ll take my share of the blame.

    2-No you did not. But the way it was written, many people would think it was. I constantly have to remind myself when putting on presentations to gear them towards people who have no idea about the subject. Same applies here because not many people may pay as close attention to all this and know enough to understand without clarity in the article.

    3-I commend you for putting those videos out. But they only record the event. Some cases, thats all there is to it. Others, such as the Lobue issue, require much more reporting and explanation about whats behind it.

    These are my opinions so people dont take offense.

    • dave

      April 29, 2011 at 11:24 am

      Mike,
      Thanks for your direct answers. I appreciate that. As to 2 & 3, the “back story” here actually seems to me to be the reaction of LoBue and his avid supporters. If the release of the records to memebrs of the public, despite a Council vote NOT to, was a mistake or a temporary lapse on LoBue’s part, he, and his ardent defenders should just fess up and say so. The stance instead seems to be to justify the action as if it were intentional, which is a really odd tactic unless you can get the public to fall for the sleight of hand. The trick seems to be to tell everyone this is about access to public records, when it is actually about an action contrary to a vote of the Council. This has ZERO to do with whether the public has a right to view these documents.

      This also points out another HUGE misconception. During a duly called Council meeting, an assembled quorum of Council Members has all authorities given to the Council by law. Once the meeting ends, the five of them have no more authority than any other citizen of this city. That is just the way it is. For a Council Member to take ANY action outside of a Council meeting with the belief that there is some authority vested in him to make decisions on behalf of Central would display a complete lack of understanding of the laws governing our City.

  17. Mike mannino

    April 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I agree this was unintentional.

    Heres where the difference of opinion comes in. The Council cannot over-rule state law. We can disagree on that but I havent seen anything that is contrary to those billing records being public record. All I have seen is a good case that says they are so thats what I believe. You or I cant solve that difference, it will take a court I guess.

    • dave

      April 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Mike,
      I disagree. The concept I am trying to drive home is that LoBue, outside of a Council Meeting, is a private citizen. He does not have the authority to release ANYTHING on behalf of the City any more than you or I do. He is a Council Member and is afforded certain privileges in order to facilitate his preparation for a Council Meeting. One such courtesy afforded him is to obtain a copy of confidentail documents. He has a fiduciary responsibility to the Council and to the City to use those documents in accordance with the instructions and wishes of the Council, which voted to keep them confidential. If you attemot to interpret the situation so as to make the release of records justified, you have created rogue Council Members who are constrained by no fiduciary responsibility to the people of Central. That is pretty much anarchy.
      The Mayor does not get to pull out David Barrow’s employment file and hand it out to a private citizen. There ARE things in that employment file that can be considered public records, but a determination of what is confidential must be made by the City prior to the release of anything in that file. Your contention that LoBue has the right to make the determination would be like saying the Mayor gets to determine what in Barrow’s employee file is actually confidential. His date of hire and rate of pay are available public records, but his health questionaire is not. Mac is not an attorney and I, for one, would not be in favor of him making that call, just as I am not in favor of LoBue deciding where the attorney-client privilege applies and where it does not. In fact, that decision was already made by the entire council on those exact records in late 2010.
      I would like to repeat for emphasis: This is not about whether these should be considered confidential, it is about LoBue making that unauthoriaed decision against the unanimous vote of the City Council.
      Dave

  18. Mike Mannino

    April 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I might agree on the contention that he is a regular citizen except he was performing a City function. Honestly, I cant make a strong case either way if thats the scenario. But again, the council cannot over-rule state law.I have my opinion on their ruling being contrary to State law but a court will have to decide that if thats what it comes down to. You and I can debate all day but our opinion has no weight.

    Your example is the extreme end and of course that would be so far out of bounds, it proabably would turn into a criminal case. I get your point though, precedent could lead you down that road.

    • dave

      April 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      Mike,
      You are correct in stating that the whole “what is a public record” question can really only be settled in court. However, this is still not about public records. This is about exceeding his authority and acting against the expressed unanimous vote of the City Council on which he was elected to serve.
      If LoBue had not been a Council Member he never would have been able to get the unredacted records in the first place. That he was “performing a City function” doesn’t really hold up because there is no privileged access to confidential records that comes with the chairmanship of a research committee. The voters grant that privilege in an election, then the voters have a right to expect that the elected official will conduct themselves in accordance with the decisions of the Council on which they serve.

      Tony just needs to take a stance here: “I made a mistake.” or “I felt my authority overruled the vote of the City Council.” One of those, in my opinion, has to be true. I am doubtful that a statement is forthcoming.
      Dave

  19. Wade Evans

    April 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I ASKED MY WIFE AND I WAS WRONG. 2+2=MAGENTA AND NOT ORANGE

  20. Ray

    May 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Why did Mr Lobue inquire of the city attorney the role of the city council in the selection process? This issue been addressed in the paper, on websites and in meetings since the end of February.
    Does any reasonable person see a true conflict with Shaw bidding on the contract?
    Mike did the bonding issue have anything to do with some of the bidding companies not being able to secure adequate bonding?

    • dave

      May 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Ray,
      The only reasons I can find for the question would be that Council Member LoBue does not understand the purely legislative role of the Council, which this far into his term would be a shame, or simply to register his objection to the fact that the voters elected a Mayor whose role it is to make these decisions.

      There is not and never was a conflict of interest. The resolution was to acknowledged that no conflict existed, not to waive a conflict.

      There was a single report by one bonding company that three grass cutters were having a problem bonding a three year contract. The decision was made to require three year bonding on all contracts, updated at the end of years one and two.

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