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Hempstead board tables vote on bids for contracts over $20G

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, right, speaks

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, right, speaks with senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby as they prepare for the start of a town board meeting at Hempstead Town Hall Tuesday night. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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

Supervisor Laura Gillen had 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. Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby made a motion that the vote on the legislation be “postponed indefinitely” and the board voted unanimously to table the proposal.

The town resolution said the measure was proposed to foster increased competition and ensure contracts were 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 after 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 was 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 had not been filled.

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

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