Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Hung Out to Dry

 Let’s see if I have this straight.

According to a recent TU article, Alan Williams and Doug Wood, former City employees involved with the original Waste Management deal, were approached a couple of months ago by Alan Mosley, the mayor’s chief administrative officer. According to Williams, Mosley told him the original Waste Management contract was for the entire site and suggested that Williams sign an affidavit supporting that assertion. A few days later, Williams says he received an affidavit in the mail from Paul Harden.

At the same time that was going on (and as posted on Jaxpolitics before), the Mayor’s staff, including Adam Hollingworth and Alan Mosley (among others), were involved in regular meetings with Paul Harden, Waste Management’s representative.

So given that, does the following explanation in the TU make sense?

During an open forum at the First Coast Tiger Bay Club on Friday, Peyton was asked whether Mosley was acting on his own or under the mayor’s direction.

“He didn’t do it at my request or my direction,” Peyton said.

Peyton said he didn’t know Mosley had called Wood and Williams but did not see anything wrong with his aide trying to better understand the city’s legal risks.

Harden said that no one from the city directed him to follow up on Mosley’s conversations.

“I’m not acting on behalf of the city,” Harden said on April 11.

Of course, Harden’s original letter that accompanied the affidavit stated that the men’s signing of the affidavit would really “help Mayor Peyton.”  So, why do I feel like we aren’t exactly getting the whole story here?

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Mayor digging in his heels on Waste Management no-bid contract

I just finished reading the latest developments in the Waste Management no-bid contract to operate the City’s Trail Ridge Landfill on the TU tonight.  Three – count them, three – companies have now come forward and want to bid on the Trail Ridge Landfill contract in a fair contest with Waste Management (and their negotiated no-bid contract) using the City’s bid process as required by the City’s ordinance code. 

And what does the Administration do?  They spout off garbage rates supposedly from other areas with absolutely no back up facts mentioned in the article, so you can’t even tell if they are making a fair comparison. 

And then, they have the chutzpah to say that anybody who wants to bid on the landfill needs to demontrate that they will be cheaper if they assume all the same liabilities and responsibilites that Waste Management has agreed to, even though the companies have already committed to doing  just that.  Ummmm, Mr. Mayor and Mr. Hollingsworth, isn’t that exactly what the City Ordinance requires be done in the bid process? 

To add insult to injury, Mr. Hollingsworth boldly states that  the companies who want to bid “must be willing to back the city if Waste Management files and wins a lawsuit.  “The real question is, are these opponents to this deal willing to pay those lawsuit damages in the event the city loses in court?” he said. ”

Funny,  I don’t see him making that same demand of Waste Management. 

Wouldn’t  the Mayor’s Office demands be more plausible and fairer if they also required that Waste Management meet those same conditions?  Shouldn’t Waste Management also be willing to back the City and pay the lawsuit damages, if the companies that want to bid file lawsuits and the City loses in Court?

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Adam Hollingsworth’s Suspenders Are Sagging

Adam Hollingsworth, the Mayor’s Chief of Propaganda and Editor-in-Chief of the Jacksonville edition of Pravda, is working hard to earn the $152,880 in base salary he is earning at his current position. (This does not include future earning potential at Peyton-friendly subsidiaries.) Despite his efforts at the Republican Women’s Club of Duval Federated, Mr. Hollingsworth was unable to answer the basic question Ms. Bosworth—a club member—put forward:

Wanda Bosworth, who lives in Mandarin, said she still didn’t understand why the contract wasn’t being opened up for bids.

“I wasn’t sold today, sir. I’m sorry,” she told Hollingsworth.

Neither are we, Ms. Bosworth. Neither are we.

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Miss Otis Regrets

Folio Weekly has printed their annual “Regrets and Resolutions” issue and we have to admit some are rather amusing. For example:

1. Daniel “Walshie” Walsh, candidate for state representative, regrets appearing shirtless and slam-dunking a basketball on his campaign website.
2. Adam Hollingsworth regrets allowing his soft spot for lady politicians in need to get the better of him during Tropical Storm Fay. Mme. Corrine Brown and Mme. Denise Lee regret the public finding out.

Their resolutions are assumed, of course, but equally as amusing… Read the rest of this entry »

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Courthouse grand jury

The courthouse grand jury met and took testimony from 4 city officials today.  Most notably, the first two witnesses were the City’s top two legal advisors – Rick Mullaney and Cindy Laquidara.  Adam Hollingsworth and Alan Mosley also testified. At issue are the findings in an audit that $64 million dollars were spent with nothing to show for it other than designs that won’t be used and defective contracts.  Read more here.

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Mayor evidently just doesn’t get it

Council President Ronnie Fussell held his closed door meeting with City officials and the Council Auditor’s Office  yesterday on the no-bid Waste Management contract to operate the Trail Ridge Landfill.   The Council Auditor has made 5 recommendations for changes to the contract:

– Lower the base rate per paid to Waste Management from $10.21 to $9.76 per ton of trash moved. Auditors said that the city’s agreement to provide fuel for landfill operations should have resulted in the lower amount. The difference between the two amounts is about $14 million over the life of the contract.
– The annual rate increase should be capped at 3.55 percent. As it is now, the per-ton fee paid to Waste Management will increase annually at a rate equal to 70 percent of inflation. Auditors worried that one year of abnormal inflation would drastically and unfairly cause the contract amounts to skyrocket.
– Require a periodic review of the contract, perhaps every five to 10 years, to allow rates to be adjusted lower if Waste Management is making excessive profits.
– Delete the purchase option that allows Waste Management to buy the landfill and a new site from the city if the contract is terminated without cause. Auditors say these assets are too valuable to be sold for any reason.
– Delete the requirement for the city to pay Waste Management for recyclable materials removed from the site. Auditors said it was unfair for the city to pay for trash that isn’t actually dumped into the landfill.

Council President Fussell is on record saying the contract should be put out to bid.  After the meeting yesterday, he says he still hasn’t seen anything that would make him change his mind.

The Mayor’s Office response?  They are going to meet with the Council Auditor to show them where they are wrong. lol.   Well, at least Paul Harden doesn’t have the Council Auditor in is hip pocket.

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Grand jury investigation continues

The grand jury investigation continues into the City’s expenditure of $65 million dollars on the proposed Courthouse – with nothing to show for it.  Next on deck to testify: John Delaney, Adam Hollingsworth, and Alan Mosley.

I noticed that in today’s TU article, the City’s General Counsel, Rick Mullaney, couldn’t resist taking a back-handed dig at outgoing State Attorney Harry Shorstein.   I guess he couldn’t think of anything constructive to say since his office is being scrutinized in the ongoing investigation for their role in the City’s defective  courthouse contracts.

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More “No” votes

Looks like the Mayor may have a tougher road ahead of him with City Council than he imagined on that $750 million dollar, 35-year no-bid contract with Waste Management to run Trail Ridge Landfill.

Times Union:  Mayor John Peyton has proposed entering into a no-bid contract with Waste Management for the operation of Trail Ridge landfill. Is this the way to go?

Brown: At present, no-bid contracting is not a common practice; therefore, it appears that this action has generated some concerns. … Because it is equally important to create a level of comfort for taxpayers that will generate a win-win outcome for both the city and its citizens, we should give every potential client the opportunity to bid.

Crescimbeni: I have no idea why the administration believes Waste Management is entitled to a no-bid contract. If I were having a home repair done for $750, I’d get a couple of estimates. The proposed landfill contract is a million times more than that, $750 million. I think the citizenry expects the city to get competitive bids.

Read the rest of the story here.

Council President Fussell will be holding a meeting on Thursday, December 4th to discuss the no-bid contract.  Invitees are Fussell, Adam Hollingsworth, Kirk Sherman, Kyle Billy, Robert Campbell, Sherry Hall, Rick Mullaney, John Germany, Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi, and Chris Pearson.  That’s quite a roster.

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Another one bites the dust

I guess being a Department head and reporting to Adam Hollingsworth wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  But of course we already knew that, didn’t we?

Susan Pelter, who was the head of the City’s Public Information Office has announced she’s leaving the City to start her own firm.

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