With Miami-Dade commissioners complaining about lobbyist-driven bid protests, Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Tuesday announced plans to create a task force on procurement reform.
Procurement matters often determine how full the commission chambers will be during the elected body’s regular meetings, with lawyers and lobbyists representing competing contractors filling the seats when a lucrative contract lands on the agenda. Lobbyists regularly encourage commissioners to request procurement language favorable to their clients as the county prepares to request bids, then ask commissioners to overrule the Gimenez administration’s decision to award the business to a client’s rival.
High-profile battles over the county’s looming $1.6 billion sewer upgrade and a $15-million-a-year transit security contract left commissioners complaining of flaws in the process. Small contracts can be worth intense effort, too. Multiple lobbyists have been battling since 2012 over which company can give kite-boarding lessons at Crandon Park.
In his Tuesday memo, Gimenez said the task force would study all aspects of procurement, including whether Miami-Dade should select contractors in a less subjective way by soliciting best-and-final offers, how to handle bid protests, and when the county should let administrators award contracts without procurement hearings and appeal avenues.
Gimenez provided no details on who he wanted to lead the task force. He appointed himself head of a task force on library reform in November.
— DOUGLAS HANKS