Back in the“Paradise Lost” days of the early 1980’s, the City of Miami was best known for its “Cocaine Cowboy” and out-of-control corruption, and lawlessness stemming from the illicit and booming drug trade of the time.
The days of drug dealers shooting it out on the streets of Miami are long gone, but the corruption within the city appears to be very much alive.
The latest such scandal comes from a series of potential ethics and legal violations stemming from a newly-awarded communications contract between the city and the Melbourne-based communications company, Harris Corp.
Harris corporation, who as we mentioned was awarded the contract to provide a Public Safety Radio Network (RFP No.592382) for the city, is having the city’s procurement process questioned after one member of the scoring committee is alleged to have possibly committed ethical and legal violations.
City of Coral Gables employee, Jason Swift, and possibly others on the scoring committee tasked to vet Harris, failed to disclose their ties with the company, basically their conflicts, as required by law.
While city of Miami officials on the RFP scoring committee gave Harris a less-than-favorable scoring, Swift, who has appeared in several promotional materials, including videos praising the very same technology he has been tasked to fairly score, scored Harris the highest.
Other members of the scoring committed who are also accused of having current or past relationship with Harris, also gave them some of the highest scores.
Mr. Swift’s relationship with Harris corporation started when the City of Coral Gables awarded Harris corporation a sole source, no bid deal for similar radio equipment, a process that is inherently anti-competitive.
So, why did Harris, a corporation that is currently employed by the state of Florida, scored so poorly?
The answer to Harris’ poor performance rating in Miami could lie with the company’s newly-terminated contract with the state of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania watchdog weekly The Caucus just presented an exhaustive report, results of a four-month study detailing the story of a dysfunctional statewide radio network for law enforcement “which cost Keystone State taxpayers more than $800 million …” And “it never fully worked.”
According to public documents and dozens of interviews, “It was based on a contract run amok and ranks as one of the longest-running boondoggles in modern Pennsylvania history.”-SSN
Will Harris’ ‘Keystone’ public communications woes find a new home in Miami, and will the potential ethical and legal violations levied against the RFP process in Miami continue to color the city administration’s terrible track record for competency and transparency?