Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pier design selection - How does the process work?

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

Here is the Florida State Statute that the City is operating under regarding the Pier Selection process.

Title XIX Chapter 287.055

Section (4) Competitive Selection (a, b)
(a)   For each proposed project, the agency shall evaluate current statements of qualifications and performance data on file with the agency, together with those that may be submitted by other firms regarding the proposed project, and shall conduct discussions with, and may require public presentations by, no fewer than three firms regarding their qualifications, approach to the project, and ability to furnish the required services.
(b) The agency shall select in order of preference no fewer than three firms deemed to be the most highly qualified to perform the required services. In determining whether a firm is qualified, the agency shall consider such factors as the ability of professional personnel; whether a firm is a certified minority business enterprise; past performance; willingness to meet time and budget requirements; location; recent, current, and projected workloads of the firms; and the volume of work previously awarded to each firm by the agency, with the object of effecting an equitable distribution of contracts among qualified firms, provided such distribution does not violate the principle of selection of the most highly qualified firms. The agency may request, accept, and consider proposals for the compensation to be paid under the contract only during competitive negotiations under subsection (5).

The first question that comes to mind is, can the City Council or the Administration delegate away the City Council's responsibility as defined in the State Statute? I do not see in the Statute anywhere the "Agency" is allowed to delegate their responsibility.

Second, did the City Council actually, by formal vote, delegate the final ranking of the top three Pier designs to the Selection Committee? Or is the Selection Committee's final output simply a report for
the City Council to consider in the ranking process, following which they rank the final three submissions and send that ranking to the Kriseman administration for the negotiation process detailed below.

Title XIX Chapter 287.055 Section (5) Competitive Negotiation (b, c)

(b)   Should the agency be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with the firm considered to be the most qualified at a price the agency determines to be fair, competitive, and reasonable, negotiations with that firm must be formally terminated. The agency shall then undertake negotiations with the second most qualified firm. Failing accord with the second most qualified firm, the agency must terminate negotiations. The agency shall then undertake negotiations with the third most qualified firm.
(c) Should the agency be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with any of the selected firms, the agency shall select additional firms in the order of their competence and qualification and continue negotiations in accordance with this subsection until an agreement is reached."

The problems do not end with the ranking process. If the Kriseman administration gets a recommendation they don't like you can bet that design firm will walk through a lake of fire before they ever get a deal.

Conversely if the Kriseman administration gets the recommendation they want you can bet there will be a deal regardless of the risk or cost.

For these reasons Council should send the rankings whatever they are to the Kriseman administration with the requirement that all negotiations be open to the public per Title XIX Chapter 287.055 Section 3(e).

 Since the Statute requires that if formal negotiations do not produce an agreement the negotiations with that firm be terminated, there is no competitive advantage or disadvantage to having all of the negotiations done in the Sunshine.

Finally Council must require that once a deal is reached it must come back to them for final approval.

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