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Palm Bay: Waste Management Contract. (Part II)

Yesterday we wrote about comments made by the City Council concerning the Waste Management contract.

We are going to do today the same thing we did yesterday – continue looking at the comments and allowing you to see them in context.

Once again, the video of the meeting is on the City’s website. Our overall transcription begins at 3:40:00 of the meeting.

Today’s analysis of the comments begins on page 3 of our transcript with a comment from Councilman Johnson:

(14) My question is “what do we lose if , through attempting or letting her attempt through renegotiation what is there to lose?

This is the wrong question. It is not what we “lose,”> but “what does the City gain in re-negotiating with Waste Management at this time?”

The answer to that question is “nothing.”

There is no benefit to the City and every benefit to Waste Management. They have a chance to roll over a favorable contract for them with no competition. It is only when the RFP process is open to all companies that Waste Management has to sharpen their pencils.

Furthermore, we would suspect that if the City re-negotiated the contract with no chance of that renegotiated contract passing (due to comments made by Councilmen during the discussion) other vendors would have a legitimate complaint against the City for giving Waste Management inside information prior to the RFP being published. Waste Management could also claim that the City was not negotiating in good faith, which is legally actionable.

(15) That’s why I am moving it forward, and I think that, you know, a lot of folks in the community also feel that would be the best thing. And they understand that all parties can still participate. This isn’t exclusive. Just as much as renegotiation is exclusive to the current provider just by the nature of the fact that they are the current provider, same thing is true the other way, we aren’t excluding them from the bidding process or the RFP process whatever we do. So I think that there is more to be gained by just approving this motion.

Golf clap!

(16) I can sit here and say there is no corruption here at all, but I think, you know, what the community is asking for is an open and fair and transparent process.

The “there is no corruption in the City” boat has left the dock long ago. Like the RMS Titanic, it sailed, struck an iceberg and went down.

The only way the City can rebuild the trust of the people is to be open and transparent. This contract is a good way to start rebuilding instead of continuing the horror story that is the “Secret Beyond the Door.”

(17) But, in the procurement process, re-negotiations have shown to be efficient. They have shown to be efficient, that’s facts, that’s not an opinion because that’s leverage.

Actually, “efficient” is not what the City is looking for. The City is not looking for “economy of effort.” The City is looking for the best service at the best prices. Furthermore, studies have shown that with government contracts, negotiation results in higher prices and less quality. There are some instances where negotiation is preferable to a bid or RFP process. Those instances include when there is only a highly rated vendor. (Which is not the case here.) Another instance is where there is limited or no competition. That too is not the case here.

In this case, with a vendor who has not lived up to expectations and City has not held them to performance standards, the best course is to say “we can go elsewhere. Prove that you’re the company we need to stay with.”

The “leverage” is “there are others out there” and that only comes into play in a competitive bidding process.

(18) And if Mr. Platt doesn’t mind, he said he would like that same courtesy for re-negotiation with the provider or with the municipality.

Of course a vendor says that. What vendor wouldn’t?

The fact of the matter is that a vendor doesn’t have the interests of the City at it’s heart. (Or at least not the same interest.) The vendor doesn’t want to have to compete with other companies for business. If the vendor can get or keep a contract without having to compete, does Johnson thinks the prices and services offered by that vendor will be better or worse?

(19) When I first started running, talking about politics, I talked about honesty, integrity and transparency from the beginning.

Did we miss something? How is “transparency” furthered by behind door negotiations?

Why is Johnson saying one thing and supporting another?

(20) And several other things that she is already working on she is already working on getting us on the right track with some of the moves she has done in Staff.

How can Lisa Morrell have made moves to get “us on the right track” if the City was not “off the track” to begin with? Morrell thankfully has made moves to get rid of some corrupt actors within the City who were doing things or part of corruption that the Mayor says never existed.

(21) So that goes to show it is a Palm Bay problem, and it is not really, not necessarily a Waste Management problem.

Did Johnson just blame the people of Palm Bay for being dissatisfied and voicing their concerns?

Actually, Anderson tees up that assertion from Johnson and hits it out of the park:

(22) but they have a way, way, way better contract than us and it didn’t seem that anybody was ever appealing to want to do some things that Council was asking them to do.

Boom.

Bailey piles on:

(23) I think when Councilman Johnson says that this is a Palm Bay problem, that means it is a contract problem.

Mic drop alert!

(24) I want to go on the record on something just like I did in 2009. I think that the direction Council is taking right now, with my procurement experience, is the wrong approach.

(Why do people say they want to go “on the record” for comments that are being recorded? We never quite got that.)

The fact of the matter is that while he may have procurement experience, it is not like the experience of most people in the real world. It is not the experience of most people dealing with government contracts. You don’t sit down and reward an under-performing vendor with exclusive negotiations. It’s just not done anywhere that we are aware of.

Secondly, if the Mayor opposed the contract and the vendor in 2010, why is he supporting them – and pleading for the City to renegotiate with them – now?

Unfortunately, the Mayor cannot seem to grasp the idea how horrible the optics of having exclusive negotiations with an under performing vendor behind closed doors in a City that has had issues with corruption looks.

The Mayor seems to be tone deaf to what everyone else sees and hears.

(25) I am going on the record as well as this is a key part of the competitive process.

There is no “competitive process” when the is no competition.

How hard is that to understand?

(25) Let it be what let it be.

We have no idea what this means.


In the end, the Council voted 3 – 2 to inform Waste Management that the City of Palm Bay would not be rolling over the contract and instead seeking competitive bids via RFPs.

Anderson, Bailey, and Santiago voted in the affirmative with Capote and Johnson opposing.

We would not have told Waste Management that we were terminating the contract and instead just held that in our back pockets. That way if the RFP process was a disaster, (and there is no reason to think that it will be,) the City still could have rolled over the current contract with Waste Management.

But that’s just us.

In the end, we are gobsmacked by the Mayor’s comments and actions that night. In some ways he came across as a petulant child looking for any argument no matter how irrelevant or easily dismissed and countered it may be.

It was not a good look for the Mayor and he should be better than that.

RFPs for waste pick-up, here we come.

That’s an open, transparent process that is not behind closed doors.

Which is the way it should be.



2 Responses to “Palm Bay: Waste Management Contract. (Part II)”

  1. Thomas L Gaume says:

    I sincerely have high hopes for Kenny.

    I wish he would do a little more homework on the topics and establish a voting record that is in line with his campaign promises, and cast his votes as proof that he truly intends to be a voice for the people of Palm Bay.

  2. Craig says:

    Councilman Johnson manages to avoid hard questions or controversial subjects.

    Instead of advocating for homeowners supporting a level playing field he decided to follow the Mayor.

    Councilmen Bailey, Anderson and Santiago to their credit saw no benefit to residents offering Waste Managements a exclusivity arrangement for ninety-days.

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