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Sarasota News Leader September 28, 2012 "It's a difficult-to-interpret bit of language," Coyman said after finishing reading the sec- tion aloud. Barbetta told Coyman he had heard repeated complaints from subcontractors who were hired by outside firms wishing to gain local preference consideration, only to be pushed out after the contract was awarded. When Barbetta asked whether Coyman had con- sulted with the area trade organizations before work- ing on revisions to that sec- tion, Coyman replied, "We have no specific input from any of the lobbyist groups." "This is a key," Barbetta said. "I think we need to talk to the trade organiza- tions on this one … if we're truly going to have a valid local preference." Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton reviews briefing materials during the Sept. 26 regular meeting. Photo by Rachel Hackney "I certainly think that we could collaborate on this section … with the local vendor commu- nity," Chairwoman Christine Robinson said. Commissioner Nora Patterson concurred. Barbetta also asked what type of document a company representative had to sign to ensure it was complying with the local-preference cri- teria. "Currently, we have a form the vendor's re- quired to fill out," to request local preference, Coyman said. The vendors "walk themselves through this" to determine whether they are eligible, he added. Page 18 "But what if they don't follow through [with compliance of the criteria]?" Barbetta asked. "Do we have any teeth?" "In my mind, the teeth on this … goes back to the administration of the agreement and debarment and suspension," Coyman replied. In discussing that new sec- tion, Coyman had said it would lay out criteria for companies to be suspend- ed from applying for Sara- sota County bids for up to 12 months or debarred for up to five years, depending upon the severity of viola- tions of the procurement code. "Constantly pulling a fast one on us," would lead to suspension or debarment, Coyman said. "The operative word you use is 'constantly,'" Bar- betta told him. One act of abusing the local preference consideration should be sufficient for punitive action, he said. "If the board wishes to have just one case trig- ger suspension, we're happy to execute that," Coyman said. PROTESTS AND APPEALS In discussing the appeals process, Coyman recommended the county maintain the re- quirement for a company protesting a bid award to pay a bond equal to 5% of the rec- ommended bid or proposed price, or $2,500, whichever was less.

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