The new leadership of Miami Beach, headed by Mayor Philip Levine, is committed to putting Miami Beach residents first, increasing the transparency in the decision-making process and encouraging citizen participation. Based on this, we find it troubling that the commission is seemingly being pushed back to the “politically motivated” practices that Miami Beach residents voted to eradicate.
In January an item to discuss the selection of a management company for the Miami Beach tennis facilities was added to the commission’s agenda without giving residents any meaningful time to learn about it, let alone participate in the process. This is particularly disturbing because this issue had been a hotly contested item by the previous City Commission. More than 500 residents signed a petition and showed up in the commission chambers in support of retaining the current operator, GSI Bollettieri.
As a result, the commission threw out all the previous bids and directed that the city manager work with the current operator on a month to month basis.
After complaints that the new agenda item was being added clandestinely, it was removed from the Jan. 15 commission agenda and, instead, the city included for the Feb. 12 commission meeting an agenda item involving a “discussion regarding the selection of the management contract for the tennis facilities at North Shore Park and Flamingo Park.” Although the title of this item and its location on the agenda suggested that no particular action is being sought, it now appears that the intent of the agenda item is to propose that the City Commission waive competitive bidding and instead turn the tennis contract over to a new operator whose bid was thrown out by the prior commission. This item will also be on the commission’s agenda in March.
Miami Beach residents need to have their say and the City Commission needs to make decisions based on facts instead of glossy presentations that are accepted without investigation. If the city wants to consider other options for operator, and fairly review all possible options for management of the tennis facilities, then it should issue an open and competitive procurement process characterized by integrity and transparency. Indeed, the requirements followed by the state of Florida are that without an emergency or another exigent situation, a competitive procurement process needs to be followed. Without any such emergency, why would the city waive the process in this instance?
If the City Commission is truly committed to placing Miami Beach residents first, it should do the right thing and request that the procurement of the management contract be duly advertised and that the contract be awarded based on a competitive and fair procurement process.
Paul Bloch, Jimmy Resnick,
Rony Seikaly, Miami Beach