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Hempstead Town proposes competitive bids on contracts over $20G

Hempstead Town Board members will vote on a proposal Tuesday to require competitive bidding on all contracts awarded for more than $20,000.

Supervisor Laura Gillen has proposed a bill that would mandate a request for proposals for all professional services and insurance coverage awarded by the town exceeding the $20,000 limit.

The town resolution says the measure is proposed to foster increased competition and ensure contracts are awarded in the best interest of the taxpayers.

The town must follow state competitive bidding laws, but has no policy regarding proposals for professional services. The town requires proposals from at least three contractors for public works contracts exceeding $15,000.

The new amendment would require proposals for services such as attorneys, consultants, engineers and technical skills.

Town officials would be required to advertise bids and then review proposals under an ad hoc committee of three employees to score each bid.

Town officials may also interview firms before making a recommendation to the town board.

Gillen announced the proposal last month following the board’s 5-1 vote to hire an additional bond counsel, Garden City-based Phillips Lytle, in a no-bid contract.

Board members said they did not think the contract required additional bids because Phillips Lytle is a state recognized firm that also represented the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency and the Nassau County Off-Track Betting Corp.

Town board members voted in December to hire a compliance officer to review contracts, but the position has not been filled.

Town officials said the job is being created through the town’s civil service department, and the town is preparing to begin the search to make a hire.

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