This is a follow up to my recent blog of February 5, 2014, “Here come da Chief.” New information has become available, most specifically, a letter from Freightliner distributed to all councilmembers which is now a public record. It raises some very interesting questions.
Apparently the fire union chose E-One as the successful bidder. The process was handled internally by the fire department, not the city and not its Procurement Division. Perhaps Procurement would have been more appropriate to handle this transaction. You will remember that questions were raised by Freightliner the night of the council meeting during the Public Comment when this item was on the agenda for council approval. It was pulled by the City Manager and it looks like the process will be repeated with a formal RFP process this time. It seems someone’s hand was caught in the cookie jar.
Freightliner has been around for quite some time and has been the successful bidder on multiple occasions throughout the state. E-One not so much. The City has previously used E-One to supply some of its equipment. Apparently Wayne Smith (who handled the current process), Don Jesse and others have had a close relationship with E-One since it began operation. Some of these gentlemen appeared to have either ownership interests or were employed by E-One. If true, that alone, is sufficient for their recusal from the process.
The city received an excellent bid from E-One but how? Apparently Wayne Smith was frantically calling Freightliner representatives at 4:30 one morning to secure specific information on their bid. Did Smith provide this information to E-One so that it could tailor its bid to come in $3,000 lower than Freightliner’s bid?
We know the E-One bid was higher than the grant monies provided for the fire truck’s purchase. It appears the purchase can be made for less money. Why is a department which is sorely in need of revenue with many other needs, such a new firefighter gear, wasting money by asking for fire truck options that are outdated and frankly overkill? According to Wayne Smith’s conversation with Freightliner representatives, it appears that the fire union was requiring these options. Why?
The city has historically used a traditional pumper. The E-One bid was for a rescue pumper with a different design from that which Glendale currently uses. It would require extra training for its use. How much would that have cost the city?
E-One is a company that seems to be struggling. It is currently owned by a hedge fund and has had a succession of presidents lately. Apparently their ability to offer maintenance and support for this bid is dwindling and in doubt.
This particular bid process seems to reek of favoritism and may very well be unethical. Apparently Glendale continues to have problems in practicing ethical behavior, even under its new senior management. The universal hope was that there would be a new era of leadership. Yet all signs point to a continuation of previous behavior. How disappointing.
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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