Tallahassee Reports has learned that City Manager Anita Favors selected the highest bid to produce a Public Service Announcement (PSA) commercial for the Think About Personal Pollution (TAPP) program in 2012.
A request for proposal (RFP) was sent to a number of interested parties. Only two responses were received by the City of Tallahassee. The Big Production, Inc. submitted a bid for $27,000 and MVP, Inc. submitted a bid for $6,000. Both bids were submitted in January, 2012.
On March 19, 2012, Karen Rubin, the TAPP Program Coordinator, sent an email requesting a purchase order. The attachment on the email was entitled “Yordon Proposal.pdf” and the email stated “this vendor has been approved by the City Manager.”
The attachment was a reference to Gary Yordon, who submitted the proposal by The Big Production, Inc. Mr. Yordon has significant ties to the City of Tallahassee. He is currently a registered lobbyist, has been a paid campaign consultant for Mayor John Marks, Commissioner Scott Maddox, and Commissioner Nancy Miller and has previously done work with TAPP.
Each of the proposals listed three references. In fact, North Florida Legal Services was listed as a reference on both proposals. However, The Big Production proposal also listed City Commissioner Nancy Miller as a reference.
Commissioner Miller was elected in November 4, 2010 and the proposal was submitted January 26, 2012, while she was a sitting City Commissioner. Ms. Miller also worked as the TAPP Project Coordinator before she was elected in 2010.
Tallahassee Reports, through her aide, has asked if Commissioner Miller gave permission to The Big Production to use her name in the proposal. We have yet to receive an answer.
The City policy on procurement states that the intent is “to institute a uniform procurement system with purchasing policies that provide for on-time acquisition of competitive, quality products and services.”
Sources told Tallahassee Reports that when a Request For Proposal is released, the goal is to get a competitive price that meets the objectives of the city requirements.
Tallahassee Reports reached out to MVP, Inc., but representatives there did not want to go on the record. However, they did say they did not recall be contacted by the City of Tallahassee after the bid was submitted.
Tallahassee Reports has submitted an email to the City of Tallahassee requesting all documentation that would justify choosing the highest bidder for this project.
The TAPP program is probably best known for the “Think About Poop” TV advertisement which was designed to encourage people to pick up their pets waste.
The campaign is an ongoing water quality enhancement project originally funded through a USEPA grant. The goal of the program is to generate awareness of area water resources, of each individual’s personal responsibilities in reducing non-point source pollution, and to encourage behavioral changes that reduce pollution entering area waterways.
Program elements include public presentations, television advertising as paid spots and public service announcements (PSA) commercials, billboards, an interactive web site, social media networking, demonstration rain gardens, grants to construct rain gardens, and outreach materials that help residents implement measures that reduce excess fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste and other sources of pollution that contaminate urban runoff.
The budget for the TAPP program has varied over the years and is a combination of grants and City matching funds. In 2008, the City approved approximately $880,000 for the program. In 2013, the City received a grant from the FDEP for $115,600.
About the Two Bidders
MVP is registered in the state of Florida and in Leon County as Mike Vasilinda Productions Inc, with a business address of 311 North Monroe Street in Tallahassee. The registered officers of the corporation are Mike Vasilinda and Andrew Bundshuh.
MVP has a website at mvptv.tv and lists information about the company and a portfolio of their work.
The Big Production, Inc. is a registered corporation with the state of Florida and in Leon County with a business address of 502 North Adams in Tallahassee. The registered officer of the corporation is Paige Carter-Smith.
Ms. Carter-Smith is also listed as the Manager of the Governance Services, LLC and the sole registered officer of Governance, Inc. Both businesses also list 502 North Adams as their principal address.
Tallahassee Reports could find no website for ” The Big Production” or any other information about the company.
However, our search revealed that TAPP video projects are listed on youtube.com under Governance Productions with the following information:
Governance provides tools for local governments, candidates and corporate clients to achieve their goals efficiently and effectively. Gary Yordon is an EMMY Award winning writer, producer and editor with over 30 years of experience…spend a few minutes looking over our work.
Further review of “The Big Production” proposal reveals a couple of interesting facts.
First, on the “Local Business Certification” form submitted with proposal, the information reveals that The Big Production, Inc, has no website, no email address, and no employees.
And second, the email communications between the City of Tallahassee and Mr. Yordon with regards to the TAPP program are all going to a Governance, Inc. email address.
Tallahassee Reports will continue to investigate and will provide more information when it becomes available.