Our fire chief and purchasing director came before city council Tuesday May 31, 2016 with item 4.3 on the consent agenda.
You’d have to be pretty quick to catch this one. Thankfully one of our loyal participants gave us a tip and documents to backup his claim.
The item’s backup material asked permission to extend a contract by exercising the city’s option to extend the contract “pursuant to the initial award on December 4, 2010”. The extension was to be for no more than four months and would allow the city to finish the bid solicitation process for a new contract.
The item passed without discussion.
The lie here is that the city had a remaining option to extend the contract.
The original contract was awarded for three years on December 14, 2010. On September 24, 2013 and September 30, 2014 council approved one year extensions that they were entitled to.
That would bring us up to December 13, 2016.
What has been going on from December 14, 2015 to May 31, 2016?
Well, in an October 29, 2015 letter from the purchasing department the city exercised a six month extension. From the letter: “The City of El Paso is exercising the following clause of the Bid Contract: Under Section F, Item 1, Type and Term of Contract, 2nd paragraph states, “In the event the City has not obtained another service contractor by the expiration date of the term contract, the City, at its discretion, may extend the contract on a month-to-month basis not to exceed six (6) months until such time as a new contract is awarded.”
The city awarded a three year contract, then awarded two one year extensions, and then because it did not have its act together it took a final six month extension that it was legally entitled to.
That extension will expire June 13, 2016.
The city is not entitled to any more extensions and the item must be rebid according to state law.
No mention of the October 29, 2015 final extension was made to council. I cannot find a record of the final legal six month extension coming before council.
They were lied to!
You can probably convince me that the fire chief did not know that the law was being violated although an open records request might be a real problem for him.
The purchasing director has no excuse. Will anyone hold him accountable?
We deserve better