Another no-bid City of Pittsburgh contract under review

PITTSBURGH — Chief Investigative Reporter Rick Earle has learned that a $300,000 no-bid contract with a community group in Homewood that was approved by City Council over the summer has now been put on hold.

Council President Theresa Kail-Smith introduced a resolution to repeal the legislation after new information surfaced about the bidding process.

The contract would provide Homewood Community Sports up to $300,000 to start a turf management program.

In June, the Mayor’s Chief Operating Officer went before City Council along with the Director of Parks and Recreation to promote the benefits of the program.

They said it would be used as a valuable job training program to attract youths into the field of turf management.

“It really is a career path and a way for people to make really decent money,” said Lisa Frank, the Mayor’s Chief Operating Officer.

In July, City Council approved the legislation but this week, in a surprise move, Kail-Smith introduced legislation to repeal it after learning that the administration apparently never solicited bids through a request for proposals.

“Initially everyone was told, or under the impression that an RFP [request for proposal] had gone through. Later we found out it wasn’t an RFP, but something written in the grant that said it’s specifically for this organization,” said Kail-Smith.

Instead, the administrations requested what’s known as a waiver of the competitive bid process, essentially a no-bid contract.

Channel 11 obtained a copy of that waiver and it said that the organization “will be the only community group equipped to provide this service given their usage of the field and their trusted reputation within the community.”

Kail-Smith said she doesn’t oppose the program, but after potential problems just surfaced with the no-bid police staffing study contract, she wants to make sure everything is done by the book.

“We just want to make sure it’s done right and make sure we are doing things above board,” said Kail-Smith, who indicated she is waiting for information from the council solicitor.

11 News reached out to City Controller Michael Lamb, who would have to sign off on the contract. He said he hadn’t seen it yet and declined comment.

We also reached out to the Mayor’s administration and they indicated they would get back to us.

As of this writing, we haven’t heard back from them.

We also emailed the Homewood Community Sports and we are waiting to hear from them as well.

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