Sunday, May 18, 2014

City Seeks New Debris-removal Contractor

Fairhope, Alabama


Hurricane coming?
The city is currently soliciting proposals to provide removal of debris in the event of a hurricane. (This is not associated with the rainstorm last week -- since debris removal is not an issue.)

To insure reimbursement, FEMA requires that municipalities have contracts in place prior to the disaster/tropical storm.

In April of last year (2013) the current city council exercised a one-year extension of the contract to Pittman Tractor Inc. (click).

At that time, Council President Burrell acknowledged that some citizens were still "uneasy" with the contract being awarded to Pittman,  the state Senator for the city.

Pittman  may submit a new bid as well.

(Update: After this article was published, Council President Burrell told the Times he was not aware a new request for bids had been put out.)

Senator Pittman

In 2012, after a lengthy discussion  (by a 3-2 vote) the previous city council awarded the contract to the Daphne-based Pittman Tractor Company, owned by State Senator Trip Pittman, a Fairhope (Montrose Village) resident (click).

They were told at that time by the City Attorney, Marion Wynne,  that according to state law, they had to accept the lowest qualified bidder (Pittman Tractor).  Wynne added the caveat  that he was relying on Public Works personnel to determine which bidders qualified, according to the bid specifications.

Ken Eslava
Based upon his rating system, then Public Works Assistant Director Ken Eslava rated another provider as best (by one point), but added that Pittman Tractor was qualified as well (one point behind). Only 3 of the 13 bidders were acceptable.

(Eslava left city's employment in 2012, when the Assistant PW Director position was eliminated -- click. He is still a member of the Volunteer Fire Department)

*See videos of the public debate from 2012 below.

At that time, some citizens objected to Pittman's selection, because he was a siting state Senator and his involvement in the city's BP oil boom contract in 2010; they also questioned the propriety of the bidding process itself.

2008-12 city council
Then-councilman Stankoski: "... just looking wrong is not illegal ... (we) have to follow the law ... ."

Complaints made at that time (2010-2011) against the Senator's personal involvement in the oil spill matter to the State Ethics Commission and other state and federal agencies, were ongoing during this  meeting -- but were eventually investigated and dismissed.

City Clerk Lisa Hanks told the council she had contacted the state Ethics Commission and was told by it that there was no problem with awarding the contract to a state Senator's company -- if otherwise qualified.


According to the new bid specifications issued earlier this month (May 2014), the lowest responsible (qualified) bidder must get the contract; but it also allows a 3% favorable allowance for local bidders, located within the city limits.

According to online county land records, Mr. Pittman does reside within the city limits; but his business is located in Daphne.

The bidding process will be open until the end of the month.


"The Contract will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder complying with conditions of the
invitation for bids, provided his bid is reasonable and it is in the interest of the Owner to accept it.
The bidder to whom the award is made will be notified at the earliest possible date. The Owner,
however, reserves the right to reject any and all bids and to waiver any informality in bids
received whenever such rejection or waiver is in the interest of the Owner. It also reserves the

right to reject the bid of a bidder who has previously failed to perform properly or complete on

time contracts of a similar nature, or a bid of a bidder who is not, in the judgment of the Owner, in

a position to perform the Contract.

Local vendors, within the city limits of the City of Fairhope, will have a 3% favorable allowance in

all bids."



Anonymous said...

Nobody did anything wrong with this. The usual whacky conspiracy theorists need to get lives ....

Anonymous said...

Trip messed up when he awarded his own company the boom contract. Duhh!

Anonymous said...

what is the beef? it wasnt never used?