Recordings of February 1st negotiations between Brevard County and incumbent vendor Waste Management reveal what sounds like a pay to play scheme. The County Commission is scheduled to take a final vote on the contract at this Tuesday’s meeting.
During the 55 minute session County Manager Howard Tipton and County Attorneys Morris Richardson and Christine Lepore are heard advising Waste Management Executive George Geletko as to what he should do to fulfill the “be a good community partner” directive of the Janaury 8th commisison vote.
County Manager Howard Tipton is heard explaining the county would like $50,000 to go into a fund that could be used for “incentive dollars” to supplement money given by the state.
County Attorneys Morris Richardson and Christine Lepore then begin to advise the Waste Management officials on how the contract needs to be written to make it appear as though it is to Waste Management’s benefit, but quickly become awkwardly silent when they remember they are being recorded and what they are discussing is at best unethical, and worst illegal. Waste Management Executive George Geletko then suggests Christine work with someone named Ron Kaplan to sort the details out offline. LinkedIn has Kaplan listed as Senior Counsel for Waste Management out of Pompano Beach.
Waste Management was selected as the winning bidder by the Commission in a 4-1 vote in spite of the fact competitor WastePro was ranked first by the procurement selection committee. District 1 Commissioner Robin Fisher used Waste Management’s “community involvement” as one of his justifications for overriding the selection commmitte and selecting Waste Management over WastePro.
This isn’t the first time Brevard County has rebuffed competing vendors offering lower prices in the name of continuing relationships with vendors who have a high level of “community involvement”. In 2009, the board voted 3-2 to extend a three year $3.2 million AT&T contract without going out to bid in spite of competing vendors stating on the record they believe they could save the county as much as 40%.
You can view the detailed minutes of the vote to select Waste Management over WastePro here: