Commissioner Miller’s Family Related Business Gets Second Chance at $2.6 Million Contract


The Tallahassee City Commission voted 4-0 to re-bid a $2.6 million contract award, based in part, on a bid protest filed by DPB & Associates – a company affiliated with a family member of City Commissioner Nancy Miller. The vote comes despite the fact that the bid protest was reviewed and dismissed by City Attorney Lew Shelley.

Also, a recent audit by the City of Tallahassee found an appearance of conflict related to DPB & Associates’ business relationship with the City of Tallahassee.

The contract award was for the design of the Market District Multi-Purpose Stormwater Project.

Market District Stormwater Project

When questioned about the bid process, current City Attorney Cassandra Jackson, who presided over the city commission meeting, told elected officials that changes to the bid process were made in an attempt to ensure we would “have no appearance of impropriety” since there were family connections involved.

Before the vote was taken, City Commissioner Nancy Miller announced she would recuse herself based on the fact that “the appearance of a conflict is there because I have a relative that is affected….”

Despite pleas from Mayor Gillum not to make any comments about the issue after announcing her recusal, Miller made a parting comment. Referring to a city staffer, Miller told City Commissioners, “He needs to tell you who he works for because the criteria did not work.”

After Miller left the meeting, a brief discussion ensued and City Commissioner Curtis Richardson, citing concerns about the bid process, made a motion to re-bid the contract. The motion passed 4-0.

Staff did inform city commissioners that a re-bid could possibly result in additional bid protests which could potentially delay the project.

The Bid Protest

City Attorney Shelley’s response to DPB’s assertion that they were discouraged by city staff to participate in the bid.

“Although the representatives of DPB clearly believed they were being discouraged from pursuing Phase III of this project as a primary contractor, there is no evidence that the City affirmatively prevented DPB from doing so. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, there is no evidence that DPB had any concerns about pursing this project as a sub-contractor until after the results were determined. Surely DPB could have noted somewhere, in some fashion, that it intended to be a primary contractor “but for” the suggestions by the City. By raising its concerns for the first time now, it reeks of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking”. On balance, it is equally likely, as Genesis pointed out at the hearing, that DPB made a business decision that it now regrets. This is not grounds to overturn an award recommendation.”

City Attorney Shelley’s response to DPB’s assertion that Reese Goad’s decision to change selection committee were biased.

When the totality of the circumstances surrounding this particular RFP are evaluated on the whole, I find Mr. Goad’s actions were perfectly reasonable. I also fail to see how changing committee members created prejudice against any vendor (or potential vendor).

City Attorney Shelley’s response to DPB’s assertion that a selection committee member was biased.

I have not been presented with any evidence to suggest the foundation of such a bias, and there is simply nothing other than speculation as to what the “original” committee members may have scored the various vendors. In fact, the notion that the scores for DPB would have been higher if employees of Mr. Buss were on the
committee is the exact appearance of bias City Management was trying to avoid.

6 Responses to "Commissioner Miller’s Family Related Business Gets Second Chance at $2.6 Million Contract"

  1. Toby   March 5, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    I’m sure the FBI will investigate the celebration party.

    Reply
  2. Joe   March 5, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    That’s it. My suspicions have been confirmed! Guys, this explains everything! Nancy Miller IS an undercover FBI agent. Think about it. This explains why the indictments haven’t dropped yet. It’s because she’s not done! I doubt even she had any idea how far these crooks would take things, so she finally threw in the towel after the subpoenas dropped and announced her retirement. Until then, she’s having fun watching how far she can continue to nudge these crooks. What else could explain this? This explains her vote for Cassandra Jackson too.

    She’s one of us! She’s been speaking to us in code. Think about it. The TAPP program? Hint, hint – wire TAP, phone TAP. She knows we’re knee deep in poop, so she’s going to help us clean up the pollution in this town so that we don’t find the poop all the crooks have lost. Her last name is Miller. She dropped the hint that her ex hubby’s name is “Mike Miller” *wink wink* at the Village Square town hall.

    I’m so proud of my government, I’m tearing up my tax return. They can keep it. They earned it with Ms. Miller’s fine work here!

    Reply
  3. Snidely Whiplash   March 5, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Well now if you could retire, almost immediately regain your long lost reputation of being an honest attorney, make all the “looking the other way” unethical stuff that would have gotten any attorney disbarred from the Florida Bar – which you did throughout your years with COT just “magically disappear” than nobody would be in prison. Right?
    Sorry Lew it just don’t work that way my man.
    So everybody just don’t pretend to be shocked when the FBI drags good old Lew Shelly out of his lavish estate one day in his bathrobe and hauls him off to Federal prison with the rest of the usual suspects.
    Buy a new bathrobe, don’t grow out that “old man” beard, and keep you’r hair cut my man.
    You still want to at least look good when they come for you.

    Reply
  4. Boom   March 6, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Going to need a bigger truck to haul all these Crooks to jail. They have been doing it so long they are very comfortable with it. The general manager and manager of underground utilities is Neck Deep into giving their friends and family contracts. Someone said they call it piggybacking it makes it easier to hand out a contract to family and friends.

    Reply
  5. News Maven   March 6, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Yep, we DO need to be more like Nashville after all:
    https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/03/06/nashville-mayor-megan-barry-expected-resign-press-conference-tuesday-morning/398440002/

    Reply
  6. Ethics Hound   March 6, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Tallahassee Museum has a featured area called The Big Bend Farmstead.
    Behind where they stable the horses, there is a big pile of fresh manure.
    It has the same smell as the Tallahassee City Commission.
    Tallahassee City Attorney Cassandra Jackson has learned well how to till this pile.

    Reply

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