I told you earlier this week that he may have avoided the competitive bidding that would otherwise be required under the county's Administrative Code. At Council's June 1 meeting, Council Solicitor Phil Lauer agreed. In addition to being an improper "sole source" contract with no competitive bidding, Lauer advised Council that the Administrative Code requires that contracts for professional services must go through some type of bidding process.
Council President John Cusick told Brown that a jail study is sorely needed, "But I can't help wondering if a step was missed in the process, and that step would have been to put out an RFP [Request for Proposals] right at the beginning."
"I could understand putting out a bid just for the exercise," said Brown. "I don't think it's an exercise," countered Matt Dietz. "I think that's how we're supposed to run things."
Peg Ferraro was troubled, too. "I just don't understand how you can have a design without having a site selected," she said. "To me, it sounds like you've already decided you're probably going to have it in green space, probably out at Gracedale, instead of a high building like out at Lehigh County."
Brown agreed that he's already ruled out a high rise. He said the cost would be "exorbitant." He later said he's looked at a dozen different sites throughout the County.
"I agree with the Executive," said Mat Benol, who has been one of Brown's most faithful rubber stamps. "I think we have to trust the expertise of [Director of Corrections] Keen.
"It seems like we're so married to DLR at this point that DLR will be the design firm, complained Hayden Phillips.
"I'm not wed to anybody," responded Brown, which will be news to his wife.
"I have a problem with this not being competitive," said Hayden Phillips. "I think we should have followed the Administrative Code." He called it an "issue of efficiency vs. transparency. ... Transparency makes me want to have a bid on this. Open it up."
Brown said competitive bidding in this instance "is just a waste of time and energy."
"It should be competitive," said Bob Werner. "We should look into some local people who can build."
Will Council sue? "I just don't like it when two branches of government are in litigation," said Council Prez John Cusick. A majority of Council was critical of Brown's failure to seek competitive bidding, but are unwilling to stop him in Court.
Blogger's Note: This report is based on a video of the meeting.I was at Summer League basketball, where Allentown Central Catholic's Vikings are now 3-0 after defeating Liberty, Becahi and Nazareth.