Sarasota News Leader

11/16/2012

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Sarasota News Leader November 16, 2012 On Oct. 9, Coyman said, the local preference survey was emailed to the 1,200 vendors. His office received 110 responses, he said. Additionally, his staff had talked by phone with procurement officials in eight other coun- ties, including Polk, Brevard, Marion, Collier and Alachua. Following Coyman's review, the commission- ers began moving through the recommenda- tions and approving measures for conferring local preference status. For example, they agreed to allow Sarasota County firms to get an extra 10 points for their proposals in bid rankings calculated by procurement officials. The commissioners also voted to exclude DeSoto from the list of adjoining counties in which firms are allowed to be considered for local preference. After Coyman noted that DeSoto had elimi- nated Sarasota County in its list of adjoining counties for local preference purposes, Rob- inson said she thought the Sarasota board had removed DeSoto from its local preference list "a long time ago." Barbetta said he also recalled making that de- cision. Nonetheless, Coyman said DeSoto still was listed among the local preference counties, along with Manatee and Charlotte counties. Additionally, the commissioners voted unan- imously to require a firm to have had a phys- ical presence in Sarasota, Manatee or Char- lotte counties for at least one year to qualify for local preference. Page 39 They further voted to approve allowing a firm to provide a copy of its business tax receipt as proof of residency. ONE MORE STICKING POINT As the final part of his presentation on Nov. 13, Coyman noted that he and his staff wanted direction regarding Procurement Code revi- sions involving purchases that should be ex- empt from the competitive bid process. Dues and memberships in trade or professional or- ganizations were one of 21 items on the pro- posed list. "I have a problem with a lot of these exemp- tions," Barbetta said, citing lobbying services as one example. "Based on our history, we've got to walk care- fully," he added, referring to the 2011 scandal in the Procurement Department that led to Coyman's discussions with the board about improving the code. "We can certainly bring these back with ex- amples and detailed explanations on each," Coyman told the commissioners. "Perhaps a one- or two-sentence explanation," Patterson suggested. "That would work," Mason agreed. At the end of the discussion, Patterson told Coyman, "I just kind of want to apologize, be- cause it seems like we're giving you a hard time." She added that many of the commissioners lacked sufficient knowledge about the pro- posed exemptions to feel comfortable pro- ceeding on them. "I welcome the comments," Coyman said. "No hard time at all." %

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