Vince Rodríguez, director of the city’s Construction Department, said that the additional purchases took place after it was known that the project was under budget. For that reason, That was the reason why it was authorized to purchase new audiovisual equipment “in order to make it more marketable and reduce staffing.”
No-bid contracts are given out through a closed selection process. Rodríguez said that his office keeps a pre-established list of vendors that he contacts to ask for a proposal for these selections. These contractors are asked to deliver their proposals in a sealed envelope at a specific date and time.
“Bidding takes much longer,” Hernández said. “We save time by not using bids, but it must be clear that there is always a concern of making sure that at least three proposals are presented to make the selection for each contract.”
In the case of Sound Advice, its offer was middle range. The other two were from Revelation Sound, of Miami, which offered to install an audio system for a little more than $75,000. The lowest offer was from Luviar Technologies, of Hialeah Gardens, for about $32,000.
Rodríguez explained that Sound Advice was chosen because of its experience in the market.
“The lowest bidder was a fairly new company with very little experience in audio systems,” Rodríguez said.
Hernández said that in all no-bid contracts authorized by the Hialeah council, his administration’s concern is to acquire services and equipment of quality at competitive prices, “allowing everything to be done within budget.”
In fact, when the project was close to being finished, Rodríguez said he notified the mayor that they were under budget, so that new improvements were authorized that were not included in the original plans, such as the additional audio equipment.
The largest contract granted without bidding was for the interior build-out. The company Builders Choice Restoration proposed doing the carpentry, floors and doors, among other works, for about $689,000, the lowest of the three prices offered.
The Hialeah council gave the contract to Builders Choice in November 2012. Then in April and June, the council increased the purchase order for a total of $93,000, approving the Construction Department’s request for final repairs and additional work that had not been included in the original contract.