PB: Consultant Selection – Hanky Panky or Coincidence?

by SDM

Welcome to 2013! SDM is tanned, rested and ready to get at it.

The January 7, 2013 Palmetto Bay Village Council agenda has been posted. For the uninitiated, this means you can read the agenda and its backup information only until a week or so after the meeting. Thereafter, the agenda will be taken down and hidden away in the Clerk’s filing cabinet only to be reviewed upon submission of a public records request. In Palmetto Bay, this is called “transparency.” But SDM digresses…

One interesting item on the agenda is a proposal to award to the Corradino Group, Inc. a contract in the amount of $19,749.40 for “engineering services to prepare construction plans, specifications, and contract documents for the safe routes to school application of Coral Reef Elementary School.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Who could argue with safe routes to schools? Especially when the money being spent is state grant money, right?

Well, SDM is going to assume the project is worthwhile since SDM has no way to know otherwise. What is a little unsavory are some of the coincidences with this particular no-bid deal.

Let’s start with the amount of the award. SDM’s clever readers will note that the contract calls for just under $20,000 in spending. Coincidentally, section 287.15 Fla. Stat. (referencing s. 287.017) – which governs these kinds of contracts – sets the minimum threshold for competitive bidding at…you guessed it: $20,000! By not exceeding the $20,000 figure, the village did not invoke the requirement to competitively bid the contract. Hmmm…

In an another coincidence, the Corradino firm that was selected for this rigorous engineering contract is the same Corradino firm that was a sponsor of the Mayor Stanczyk’s prom last year. According to the village’s website, the Corradino Group purchased a block of 10 or more tickets to the 10th Anniversary private party where their principals could rub elbows with village brass. Hmmm…

SDM Codebreaker: Small contracts like this one go to the politically connected firms like the Corradino Group. The fact that the contract amount is just under the threshold for competitive selection is not a coincidence.

SDM Wonders: Are there any other firms in town who would have liked an opportunity to do some work in these tough times but who are not on the procurement director’s speed dial list?

SDM Says: Palmetto Bay likes to pretend that it is somehow different from the rest of the county’s municipalities. Contracts like this one just prove that our little village is just like everyone else’s.


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