J.D. rips Crist on another no-bid multi-million dollar contractby Dara Kam | June 9th, 2009
Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander launched another assault on multi-million dollar no-bid contracts issued and approved by Gov. Charlie Crist’s agencies, this time objecting to an agreement with a Texas corporation to advertise the state’s citrus industry.
Alexander’s contract watchdog radar seems to have kicked into overdrive since Crist vetoed a bill he sponsored that would have given the legislature more oversight of high-dollar contracts with private vendors.
Alexander, a citrus baron himself, wrote Crist a letter asking for a re-bid on the $20 million contract with The Richards Group, based in Dallas, Tex., that the Department of Citrus was ready to renew for three years without any public oversight.
Alexander last week asked Crist not to renew a $44 million-a-year contract with Convergys for the maligned PeopleFirst human resources computer system. Crist later said he would re-open bids on the system, which has been plagued by cost overruns and technical problems.
Today, Alexander asked Crist to reject the Florida Citrus Commission staff recommendation that the contract be extended for another three years.
“This $20 million is being requested by staff, as an extension, without public notification or the standard notice of dispute for sole source contract award decisions,” Alexander, R-Lake Wales, wrote.
The commission, an executive agency under Crist’s watch, delayed the vote on the contract until later this month, Alexander wrote before lecturing the governor on why his bill was necessary.
“This action by your executive agency is another example of why the Florida Legislature was prompted to pass SB 2694. Had this legislation already existed or been signed into law, staff would have clearly known that this type of ‘automatic renewal’ for contracts especially those in the millions of dollars, should be competitively bid. It is clear that such legislation is needed to provide legislative oversight and to establish the proper accountability currently missing in this process,” he wrote.