By Brevard Co. Citizens Coalition
We have just received copy of an e-mail dated February 22, 2013 sent by Chief Legal Officer, Jeanie Dubinski to Brevard Co. Attorney Scott Knox. This email was then forwarded to all the county commissioners and county manager.
“On January 2, 2013, the attached letter was sent to Mr. McLester regarding Waste Pro’s concern that Waste Management should be disqualified for violation of County rules and law. To date, Waste Pro has never received a response to said letter. In light of the fact that the cone of silence is now lifted, I am bringing this matter to your attention to review and respond. Waste Pro continues to believe that Waste Management’s violation of code should have forced their disqualification. We ask that you respond today otherwise, we shall proceed with a protest of the same.”
In reference to the January 2, 2013 letter that Ms. Dubinski sent, she states that she is notifying Mr. Jonathon McLester, Brevard County Purchasing, of a possible violation of the RFP Lobbying Statement by Waste Management.
She states: “It has come to our attention that Waste Management employees were distributing a card urging residents to contact Brevard County Commissioner Mary Bolin-Lewis in reference to the above mentioned RFP. I would surmise that if one Commissioner is being contacted so are the other four County Commissioners. “
“Section 28 of the Lobbying Statement, of the General Conditions of this RFP states that: “Firms and their agents are hereby placed on notice that they are not to contact members of the County Commission or staff (with the exception of designated liaison)”. It further states that “Failure to adhere to these requirements could result in Board action to disqualify of your firm from consideration of the award.”
“Asking residents to contact a County Commissioner would make those residents “agents” of Waste Management, making this action a gross violation of the RFP requirements. It appears that Waste Management is distributing this on a mass basis making this action not only a violation, but a violation accounting for up to possibly 90,000 repetitions. “
Attached to this letter from Jeanie Dubinski was a copy of the Waste Management letter addressed to ‘Brevard County Valued Customer’. It specifically states:
“For over 40 years Waste Management has serviced the residents of Brevard County for garbage, recycling and yard waste. We strive to deliver quality service to our customers and are thankful for your business. Brevard County is currently reviewing its options for waste collection and Waste Management, along with other companies, are being evaluated to provide this service. It would be a privilege to continue to service your residence and community.” “Please contact your County Commissioner, Mary Bolin Lewis, at 321-633-2044 or D4.Commissioner @brevardcounty.us if you have a positive comment about the service we have provided your community for many years.”
Oh-Oh…..Maybe the Brevard County officials should have checked into this and responded to the January 2, 2013 letter. Is Brevard County heading for a costly lawsuit?
In our investigating the new trash contract, the Brevard Co. Citizens Coalition came up with questions. Here are a few that you need to be asking your Commissioner. We asked some of them at their meeting but never got an answer. Keep in mind, these are just questions, not accusations.
- Why was this contract bid? Why is the county wasting the staff and management time involved in this procedure when the outcome has already been decided in accordance with personal considerations?
- Why is the recommendation of the selection committee members being discarded? ( All county directors or former directors, except one unknown.
- Why are considerations not in the original RFP now being demanded of the bidders?
- Why would only the high bidder be ask to negotiate price and conditions not in the original RFP.
- Why are the bidders being coerced by a demand that they “kickback” money to governmental or non-profit agencies? (Note the huge difference between “Community Service” and non-voluntary contributions; the Scott Knox assertion that this covers the blatant demand by Fisher/Bolin to return money to their selected agencies.) Both companies have significant contributions to employee/employer/company donations of time and expertise.
- Did Scott Knox mean to include such kickback demands as part of the RFP?
- Was the RFP so poorly written as to mislead the bidders as to its full intent?
- How can county management correct this deficiency?
- Why would the county want to own 10year old carts that have been paid for by the customer? Should they be allowed to provide their own?
- Would Fisher have the same mentality if it were his insurance company that was low bidder, but discarded in favor of negotiation with his competitor?
- Are business owners happy with the prospect of paying an estimated $10,000 more per year for service, and $100,000 over the ten years? X all the business customers in Brevard?
- Why are not business owners allowed to contract for their own service providers and equipment? One size does not fit all!
- Is yard waste unconditionally included, regardless of severity of hurricane damage? Customarily, calls for additional grants, FEMA, Feds, and loans.
- Why is the MRF NOW a part of the RFP, since this is a huge capital expenditure that Waste Management admits it was building anyway. Is this the reason Fisher is so adamant that HIS district be the site and recipient of this facility? Smacks of illegality in the demand for a KICKBACK to his NBEDZ outside the scope of the RFP.( $3 million hinted; has WM contributed $10 million in their 21 years plus of contract award?)
- What is a “good community partner”? Does this mean, as Fisher and Bolin state, kicking back a part of a solid waste contract to ?what? agency? Or is this simply sitting on the board of keep Brevard Bootiful?
- Why not have the Commissioners each ask for a similar expenditure for a park of race track in their district similar in cost to the MRF?
- Why is the county considering a seven plus three year contract with no policing or oversight, no mid-term evaluation, and the authority for the county manager to exclusively extend at his discretion?
- How does the Commission justify allowing these rate increases (.5% per year) automatically with no consideration of future economic conditions? Is there a decrease if the CPI decreases, or unemployment skyrockets?
- What are the charges to the vendors for county services for accounting, billing, collection disbursement, legal service, filing and pursuing liens, as these are large segments of expense to private companies?
- Why would the county put all its eggs in one basket when it would be much safer to to support the American system of Free Enterprise and Capitalism rather than authoritarian autocracy?
- Why is there the 11.5 % Cola or the 3% per year guarantee when future economic conditions are so uncertain? Why are these not tied to current and developing economic condition?
- Will the county or the vendor bear the burden of rate increase notifications to the users? Where is that covered in the contract?
- Why do the Commissioners think they can manage the operations of the trash collection companies?
- Why would the county voluntarily relinquish $250,000 to $450,000 in recycling revenues the vendor? Assured of increasing over that ten years. George Gelatin looking at last ten years, not the next!
- Does WM’s claim of more trucks, more men, more routes mean they operate less efficiently?
- Has county asked for an audit of recycling revenues to verify WM’s claim of losses?
- What does Fisher mean when he says will not “allow companies to get off the hook when getting a $90 million per year contract”? Is he speaking of performance?
Written by Randal Agostini
The waste collection contract, the largest Brevard County contract, is to be awarded Tuesday.
The process began last May and by July a selection committee was appointed that comprised Mel Scott, Stockton Whitten, assistant county managers; Kathy Wall, an ex-county budget director; and Kelly Collins. A consultant narrowed the field of five to two contenders, Waste Management and Waste Pro.
Waste Management has held the contract since 1986. After all the confidential proposals were received, the committee chose Waste Pro, by a substantial margin, mainly due to its bid, which was 18 percent lower than the Waste Management bid.
Then the fun began: County Manager Howard Tipton, who wrote the rules and has the final say before presentation to the County Commission, opened up the process to a one sided renegotiation with Waste Management to see if Waste Management could meet the Waste Pro prices.
Waste Pro was not given a similar opportunity. Legal — yes; ethical — no.
On Jan. 8, both companies made presentations to the County Commission, and following a question period, the commission voted 4-1 for Waste Management. It seems that undefined “quality of service” once more trumps any price advantage for the humble taxpayer.
One commissioner was even more interested in the “corporate citizenship” of the company, which means how much money will the winner spend on the commissioners’ favorite charities. Two commissioners professed to be neutral leaving. Only Commissioner Trudie Infantini went to bat for taxpayers.
By Marty Adams
There was a time when the government of the United States was admired for its effectiveness and efficiency. Under that system, Americans enjoyed freedoms and prosperity, as no other. We had taxation and regulations which were necessary and reasonable, especially in comparison to other sovereign governments.
Today, we observe our government, stumbling and unable to address the most basic needs of our economy. Today, I read an opinion article from The Atlantic, titled, “In 2012, America’s Greatest Economic Weakness was its Government“. According to the Atlantic, the root cause of inability to compromise and govern wisely, is extreme partisanship from both sides. This has been caused by redistricting which has made elections nearly irrelevant because they are no longer competitive. Thus the candidates need only appeal to their ‘base’ which is mainly represented by the partisans…not the independents and the middle.
I accept this analysis, and ask the question, why have we become this dysfunctional. Who are we now? What do we need to do to restore functional and effective government? Continue reading
It has been a long year and the team of the Brevard Co. Citizens Coalition have worked extremely hard this year on a number of issues. But there is still a lot for us to focus on and we are not giving up which is why you will be hearing more from us in 2013. However, not much happens over the holidays which is why we have decided to take some time to enjoy the Christmas season with our families and friends. We hope that all of you do the same and remember the true meaning of the season.
To you and yours from all of us at the Brevard Co. Citizens Coalition…..
We wish you a Very Merry Christmas.
Half the land area of the entire country will be designated “wilderness areas,” where only wildlife managers and researchers will be allowed. These areas will be interconnected by “corridors of wilderness” to allow migration of wildlife, without interference by human activity. These wilderness areas and corridors, designated “buffer zones” will be managed for “conservation objectives.” The primary objective is “restoration and rehabilitation.” As areas are restored and rehabilitated, they are added to the wilderness designation, and the buffer zone is extended outward.
Buffer zones are surrounded by what is called “zones of cooperation.” This is where people live – in “sustainable communities.” Sustainable communities are defined by strict “urban growth boundaries.” Land outside the growth boundaries will be managed by government agencies which grant permits for activities deemed to be essential and sustainable. Beyond the urban boundaries sustainable agricultural activities will be permitted to support the food requirements of nearby communities.
Sustainable communities of the future will bear little resemblance to the towns and cities of today. Single-family homes will be rare. Housing will be provided by public/private partnerships, funded by government and managed by non-government “Home Owners Associations.” Housing units will be designed to provide most of the infrastructure and amenities required by the residents. Shops and office space will be an integral part of each unit and housing will be allocated on a priority basis to people who work in the unit – with quotas to achieve ethnic and economic balance. Schools, daycare, and recreation facilities will be provided. Each unit will be designed for bicycle and foot traffic to reduce, if not eliminate, the need for people to use automobiles.
Transportation between sustainable communities, for people and for commodities, will be primarily by light rail systems designed to bridge wilderness corridors where necessary. The highways that remain will be super transport corridors such as the “Trans-Texas Corridor” now being designed. It will eventually reach from Mexico to Canada. These transport corridors will also be designed to bridge wilderness corridors and to minimize the impact on the environment.
Government, too, will be different in a sustainable America. Human activity is being reorganized around ecoregions which do not respect county or state boundaries. Therefore, the governing apparatus will be designed to regulate the activities within the entire region rather than having multiple governing jurisdictions. The legislative function, especially at the local and state level, will continue to diminish in importance while the administrative function will grow. Already, in some parts of the country, counties are combining and city and county governments are consolidating. Regional governing authorities are developing and taking precedence over the participating counties which will eventually evaporate. State governments will undergo similar attrition as regulations are developed on an ecoregions basis. There will be less need for separate state legislation. The administrative functions of state governments will also collapse into a super-regional administrative unit to eliminate unnecessary duplication of investment and services. The Sierra Club, one of hundreds of non-government organizations actively working to bring about this transformation, has suggested that North America be divided into 21 ecoregions that ignore existing national, state, and county boundaries. In 1992 they published a special issue of their magazine which featured a map and extensive descriptions of how these ecoregions should be managed. Continue reading
Letter to Representative John Tobia –
From: Skip Bollinger
Friday, October 12, 2012
Hi John – Again, I wish to complement you on your growth in the job, and on your performance Wednesday night. I believe you’ve matured considerably in the past couple of years, and are deserving of much credit. Your letter to Gov Scott in opposition to SunRail was a biggie for me – thanks!
As promised, attached please find a few blurbs in criticism of FS 163 & 189 which enable the creation of CRAs and Special Districts. I urge you to consider their repeal, or at least revision, with an eye toward ending the theft and corruption they enable/encourage.
Agenda 21 is the ELITIST plan to control your life demanding you, “do as I say, not as I do”. This plan requires you to give up your individual freedom, your personal property and redistributes your wealth. Gone forever is American exceptionalism, American nationalism. The western way of life has been classified as unsustainable. The ELITISTS are using the government to take your money, exercise more power and to control every aspect of your life. Agenda 21 is not a Democratic or Republican “plan”, it reaches across the aisle.
The community center in South Melbourne Beach is sporting a new sign. It’s a razzle-dazzle sign that can have the upcoming events electronically posted rather than someone having to go out and change the wording on the sign. Nice, huh? The only problem is that this new sign cost us tax payers $14,600.74 plus $4,625.00 for the electrical. The excuse is that the expenditure source was funded through the South Brevard Parks Referendum. I ask, was this still a necessary expenditure when in the picture you can see the old sign that posted events just fine? In this day and age where we have all tightened our belts, our county continuously shows its disregard for these tough times by flippantly spending money.
The Road To Serfdom by Friedrich A. Hayek Reader’s Digest, April 1945
Please bear in mind when reading this condensation of the book Road To Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek, on the description and danger of socialism, that in 1944 the word “liberalism” had a different meaning then than now. At that time it was a political philosphy that stood for progress through preserving the Autonomy of the INDIVIDUAL, and the protection of the INDIVIDUAL’S civil liberty. Oddly enough, today “liberalism” equals “socialism.” Equally as odd, conservatism (and in many instances, libertarianism) champions the independence of the individual.
No doubt about it, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom was explosively controversial from the beginning, especially his case that all forms of collectivism lead to tyranny. The book was first published on March 10, 1944 by Routledge in Britain, before the ending May 8, 1945 of the Nazi 3rd Reich in Germany and the surrender in World War II.
Nobel Prize winning economist Ronald Coase recalls that during Britain’s July 1945 parliamentary election campaign Winston Churchill cited Hayek in his dramatic campaign speeches, to help show that a Labor Party win would mean tyranny. Labor Party leader Clement Atlee ridiculed Hayek and defeated Churchill. Soon afterwards, Atlee began seizing coal, steel, railroads, ports and other businesses, and began extending rationing to basic foods such as potatoes, even though war was over. Continue reading