The readers’ forum

Time for the best tennis vendor to take the helm

 

Re the Feb. 18 letter Keep Beach park procurement process fair: Since February 2012, the current vendor for the Miami Beach tennis facilities, GSI Bollettieri, who placed fourth during last year’s Request for Proposal process, has operated on a month-to-month contract.

In September 2013, the former city commission threw out the bids instead of awarding it to the first place bidder, Miami Beach Tennis Management LLC.

For years our city’s tennis facilities have been neglected and mismanaged. The courts have not been properly maintained. There has been a subpar level of programming for our youth, seniors, and our tourism industry. The proof was revealed in GSI Bollettieri’s written proposal that offered $6,000 to maintain the courts and only guaranteed the city a minimum annual revenue of $48,000.

In contrast, the first place bidder guaranteed a minimum of $120,000 of annual revenue, $227,000 annually to properly maintain the courts at both Flamingo Park and North Shore Park, fiscal and operational transparency, and offered a superior management team.

Most glaring, Miami Beach Tennis Management earns as much revenue on nine courts in Miami Shores as does GSI Bollettieri on 29 Miami Beach courts.

On Feb. 12, the commission held an open, transparent, deliberative and fair hearing on which vendor should manage the tennis facilities. Mayor Philip Levine and the five commissioners present behaved like statesmen. The sixth commissioner, Deede Weithorn, has a conflict of interest and could not vote.

In the end, the facts, votes and sentiment were clear. A motion to rebid was defeated, as doing so would be unfair since the proposals had been viewed by the competing vendors. A motion to keep GSI Bollettieri failed without one single Yes vote. As allowed in law, a majority of commissioners supported a motion to instruct the city manager to bring a recommendation in March to end the current vendor’s contract and replace it with Miami Beach Tennis Management, which pledged to honor the terms it originally proposed and to keep the existing coaches.

The March agenda item should be a mere formality.

The time has come to put this issue to rest, allow the best professional management team to take the helm and bring our city’s tennis facilities up to the world-class and high-quality status we all deserve.

Daniel Rivlin and Cynthia Jacobs, Miami Beach

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