The purchase to run the Miami International Airport baggage system, the former contract for which was embroiled in scandal, took a problematic new turn as commissioners approved a $94 million deal with the same bidder who won $73 million for the job. had demanded.
Raised more than $21 million from bids in May 2020. The final commission’s unanimous approval until November 15 took a circuitous route as county officials ranked and offered offers, decided to negotiate with the two top proposers, then consider better offers. Requested and found that both the firms increased the prices by about 15% when asked for the better bids.
Mayor Daniela Levin Cava wrote to the commissioners that the increase was “due to inflation and COVID-19”. The commissioners awarded a contract to John Bean Technologies Corp. of Chicago for a baggage handling system and operations at the airport, which handles 19,000 to 31,000 pieces of luggage daily.
The contract does not include baggage handling for American Airlines, which carries about two-thirds of all airport passengers and maintains its own system.
The five-year contract for $94,239,235 has five one-year options for renewal. This included a request for a 15% better offer than the first offer and a $7 million allowance for parts and a $3.5 million general allowance.
The county’s current contract with Bean for essentially the same work is also $66,120,459 for seven years, including an original five-year term and two one-year renewals. It ends on 16 December.
Documents given to commissioners before the vote cited a report from the county’s inspector general’s office that said “suspicious ties regarding improper communications during the procurement process for John Bean’s existing contract, prohibited communications and non-compliance practices were … In response to …, John Bean said the firm took proactive steps to strengthen its understanding of ethical business conduct and policy requirements associated with legal compliance with contract terms. Met with John Bean on January, 2021 and discussed John Bean’s commitment to corporate responsibility and accountability.
The May 6, 2019, 200-page report by Inspector General Mary Cagle on the first bean contract and the process under which it was obtained was scathing.
“This investigation has exposed a process rife with greed, bias, cronyism and undue influence,” she wrote. “The actions brought to light by this investigation prove that those involved had no appreciation or respect for the rules and regulations put in place to ensure government transparency, fairness and accountability.”
That report cited “non-compliant pass-through practices” and said it was looking for “a variety of suspicious relationships, prohibited communications, non-compliant practices and [Aviation Department] setbacks.
“The ethics violations and other violations described here are a buying embarrassment,” Ms Cagle wrote. He said the study resulted in the prosecution of three individuals for ethics violations.
Aviation director Ralph Cuti, who was not in that role when the critical termination contract was approved, told Miami Today that he served on the selection committee that first picked Bean for the new contract and that Bean did a good job. does. He said the inspector general’s office was involved in the new contract “from day one” and that he was comfortable with the selection process.