NEWS HEADLINES

City to ‘shop’ legal, engineering services

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, August 24, 2013

{{{*}}}The city of Bridgeport is in the market for new legal and engineering service providers.

Following a budget workshop in July, the city council opted to “shop around” and advertise for requests for qualifications (RFQ).

However, officials said the decision is not meant to indicate any discontent with the current providers.

“We just feel like we owe it to our citizens to see what else is out there,” Councilwoman Kathy Kennedy said. “We need to give ourselves the opportunity to shop around.”

The council has contracted with Taylor, Olson, Adkins, Sralla and Elam (TOASE) for legal services for more than 12 years and with Baird, Hampton and Brown (BHB) for engineering services since 2005. The city will retain those contracts as it gathers, reviews, and scores the RFQs it receives.

“By law, we are not allowed to use the cost of service in scoring these RFQs,” City Administrator Brandon Emmons pointed out. “The idea being … whenever you’re doing a public work, price shouldn’t be a factor in getting a good, professional job.”

However, city officials can negotiate prices with the companies in the order they are scored.

Both Rob Allibon with TOASE and a representative of BHB attended Tuesday night’s meeting.

“Frankly, I was taken aback when I saw this item was on the agenda because I had not heard any concerns or issues voiced to me at all,” Allibon said. “If there are questions or concerns, I’d like to hear those. If I’m not afforded the opportunity to address those, I’d like to hear what they are anyway, at least for my own improvement …

“It has been my honor and privilege to be this city’s attorney for 12-plus years.”

Emmons pointed out that TOASE is one of “about half-a-dozen firms in an 80-mile radius” that specializes in municipal law.

Last year, the city paid about $30,000 in legal fees, not including the special litigation required after the hospital filed for bankruptcy.

“I think Rob has done an outstanding job with the problems and issues that have come before the city of Bridgeport,” Councilman Scott Cheves said. “I have nothing but high praise for him.”

After Kennedy made the motion to move forward with the RFQ process for legal services, Councilman Jimmy Meyers seconded it.

“This is just feeling the water out,” he said. “We don’t have to change anything.”

The council expressed a similar stance for engineering services. Councilman Bobby Brazier made the motion to advertise for RFQs, and Kennedy seconded it.

IN OTHER NEWS

The council also:

  • authorized the temporary closure of 11th Street between Halsell Street and the alley to the north and the alley to the south 2 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, for Main Street Night Out. The live radio remote and concert features Austin Allsup from 5 to 7 p.m. and also includes merchant specials and complimentary beverages.
  • purchased health insurance for city employees from Blue Cross Blue Shield, with a 10 percent decrease in premiums; dental insurance from Guardian with a 7 percent increase; vision insurance from Superior Vision with a 4.95 percent increase; and life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance from Lincoln Financial at rate of 14 cents per $1,000 coverage. The combined rates provide $14,186.65 in savings for the city.
  • extended to Aug. 31, 2015, an agreement with North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) for 911 services. NCTCOG provides all 911 equipment, system upgrades and maintenance while the city is responsible for maintaining insurance on the equipment and sending dispatchers to training.
  • approved an agreement with Gifford Electric Inc. for the annual preventative maintenance on the city’s outdoor warning system. Cost is $2,508.
  • reviewed the Aug. 8-21 payment report in the amount of $741,573.53.

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