Monday, November 11, 2013

Do we have Gatekeepers on the 29th Floor of County Hall? By Geniusofdespair

Ralph Garcia Toledo
Alexander Heckler
Marcelo Llorente

No, I don't think we have lobbyist gatekeepers, like the 3 above for example, because I heard that the Mayor has instituted a new protocol for those visiting the 29th floor. The visitors must have an appointment and an escort to bring them to who they are going to see. I also heard they needed a name tag...not sure. Good for the Mayor!!! He should be the only gatekeeper. The reason for this new policy...I know the piece of the puzzle but let the Miami Herald report it....after confirming with the Mayor.

It all has to do with this, read the article at this link:
 The mayor requested the ethics opinion in September, after his office put together a draft memo to restart the bid because CH2M may have had an unfair advantage. The memo was never sent. Both firms have hired lobbyists close to the mayor.

Read more here:
Joe Centorino, executive director of the Commission on Ethics & Public Trust, said allowing one of the two bidders, CH2M Hill, to directly contact members of a selection committee to submit more than 400 pages of additional documents “contributed to a serious public trust problem with this solicitation.”

But Centorino did not accuse CH2M of any wrongdoing, laying the blame on ambiguous county guidelines. And he stopped short of saying that the county throw out the bids.
The question now is: What will Mayor Carlos Gimenez do?

Read more here:
Joe I don't think you are right. The problem now is, CH2M did the 400 pages fixing deficiencies they had in their bid with the advantage of knowing what ACEOM was doing. Now to rebid it or accept a bid that has been changed based on new information, would be giving an advantage for the company that created a "Serious Public Trust Problem."  This is a $1.6 billion dollar contract (stupidly with no sea level rise contingency). Big bucks are at stake.  CH2M should have gone through procurement not gone directly to the selection committee.  Who knows what they gave the selection committee in those packages? They could have had Godiva gift cards embedded in the paperwork. Miguel DeGrandy is representing ACEOM. He must be mad.

To add to this mess, CH2M hired Mike Shehadeh in Septemeber. He is Commissioner Lynda Bell's former city Manager in Homestead. They are still close friends. Have they been talking??  I am sure the whole thing is Lynda Bell's fault somehow. Shehadeh was seen around Homestead with Mark Bell.

This is a big story and I only know the half of it. 

Here is a conflicting Ethics report (from Centorino's) from Professor Anthony Alfieri founding director of the Center for Ethics and Public Service at the University of Miami School of Law (Page 6 was particularly interesting):

Alfieri's Conclusion:

12. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated above, in my opinion: (a) an integrity problem is created when a proposer communicates directly with each selection committee member during the evaluation process after the proposals are received, opened and made public; (b) following the public opening and distribution of competitive proposals, it is inappropriate to allow a proposer to supplement its original submittal to include additional information and staff credentials directly to selection committee members prior to the selection meeting; and (c) there is an integrity and competitive advantage problem created when a proposer submits a supplemental submittal to include a substantial amount of additional new information. I hold this opinion to a reasonable certainty.


Anonymous said...

I think there were more than Godiva coupons in those packets. Good story

Jorge said...

What a mess. This reminds me of the shrink wrap controversy. Why did the mayor change the protocol of lobbyists having free reign to come and go as they pleased on the 29th floor?

Al Crespo said...

Good Old Joe is almost never right. He gets paid $200,000 a year to be the "Gatekeeper" to make sure that no one manages to get in an hurt anyone on the Family and Friends Plan.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about, those 3 WERE the gatekeepers of the 29th floor. Not anymore, they wore out their welcome. Well at least 2 of them.

Maria said...

Dueling ethics opinions?

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone who went to UM law who has respect for Alfieri? Is giving "special attention" to some students considered ethical?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it is Lynda's fault.

Anonymous said...

How about Jeff Berkowitz? That "friend of Carlos Gimenez" installed illegal LED billboards on Watson Island on the Charter School. Now Miami Beach residents are pissed and wondering who to blame. The rumor is Berkowitz wants to install more illegal billboards. Now he knows about their cash flow.

Coco said...

This is exactly why Joe Centorino is known by everyone as "Let'em Go Joe."

Not sure if it's incompetence or collusion, but he is horrible. I would rather have no ethics director than one who validates corrupt practices as lawful.

Anonymous said...

Ralphie and all the others "friends of Carlos" make me sick.

Anonymous said...

The bigger question is why do they need a "project manager" at all?

It just adds 7%-10% overhead.

The county can contract directly with the vendors that will actually do the work, then oversee the work.

This is Miami-Dade County, a government entity bigger than a lot of states.

I absolutely agree the overall gist of this blog item is correct -- Mayor Gimenez has pretty much abandoned any pretext of changing the culture at County Hall.

He just doesn't have the energy, or moxy, to do that.

Same ole, same ole.

Anonymous said...

it appears everyone including Staff know for a fact Ralph GarciaToledo, Alex Heckler and Marcelo Llorente were behind snatching a "draft memo", and leaking it to the Press.

Problem for them is, the press was too smart to take their bait, and wrote solely about their client, CH2M Hill. As a result, rumor has it an investigation over the next 48 hours conducted by senior staff concluded the Three Amigos were the guilty culprits. So goes the story the County went on lockdown because of them, and started new policies and procedures to protect the honesty and integrity of county staff. Now the guys have to sign in before entering the premises, and wait to see if they are granted access with a visitors badge pinned to their lapel. It is also required they be escorted in and out the door, just like prisoners during visitation. There's a thought...

What is troubling is that guys who purport to be someone's friend would sell him down the river..for money. Pathetic

A final gossip tidbit is that Joe Centorino's employment contract was negotiated by the former executive director of the Ethics Commission, whom now represents someone accused of violating the Cone of Silence.It sounds like a conflict to me.

Anyone out there know if that is true?