Last updated on December 7th, 2018 at 05:11 pm
Mayor David Briley is ordering the halt of the current and planned procurement processes for four Metro Public Works proposals pending review of internal practices. Briley will also hire Metro’s first-ever Chief Compliance Officer who will work in the Mayor’s Office.
These actions are in direct response to the results of the audit Mayor Briley requested in May to look at allegations of ethics violations committed by current contractor Collier Engineering and/or Metro Public Works employees.
The new Chief Compliance Officer will be tasked with: 1) overseeing a comprehensive review of the regulations governing ethics in the city’s procurement processes; 2) reviewing the city’s ethics ordinance and regulations and their enforcement as well as employee and contractor training in regards to both; and 3) recommending the steps necessary to institutionalize the role of the Chief Compliance Officer going forward.
Briley’s decisions have the full support of Metro Public Works.
“This audit and related investigations have revealed a number of vulnerabilities and inconsistencies in Metro Public Works procurement practices,” Briley said. “We must have a fair, transparent and ethical procurement process across all of Metro, and I am committed to doing what is necessary to make this happen.”
The two current Metro Public Works procurement processes that will be halted are for Program Management Consultant and Cons-truction Engineering and Inspection. Two additional RFPs that were planned to come out soon and would have potentially resulted in three contracts will also be halted. During this process, the public should not notice any interruption in services from Metro Public Works, Mayor Briley added.
Before procurements resume, Metro Public Works will work with the Mayor’s Office, Metro Procurement, and Metro Legal to examine the selection criteria used to score firms. The goal of this review will be to provide a level playing field for all proposers and to protect taxpayer dollars being spent on these projects.
Briley has also asked Metro Public Works and Metro Procurement to agree that contracts should be formally amended by a Metro Council process when increases to existing contracts represent 20% or more of the original value.
This is vital to ensuring that the same vendors do not receive all the work simply by already being at the table, Briley said.
As an additional response to the audit findings, Metro Human Resources is currently providing customized ethics training for Metro Public Works employees and will be offering similar trainings to a broader base of Metro employees moving forward, including all new hires.