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Mayor Houston: “An Error Occurred” in NAPA Contract Procurement

Mayor Houston: “An Error Occurred” in NAPA Contract Procurement

Photo: Newsradio WTAX

The Springfield City Council is on its way to reopening debate on the much maligned contract with NAPA to manage parts for the city’s vehicle fleet.

The mayor recognized mistakes were made. It’s unclear if Illinois municipalities can contract with the National Joint Power Alliance for contract procurement, as Springfield did, but aldermen were led to believe they can based on a cursory glance at the NJPA website.

The city’s procurement rules, therefore, weren’t followed.

The city has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to determine whether Illinois municipalities have such a contract with NJPA, the city should get a response on that later this week.

Springfield’s Corporation Counsel, Todd Greenburg, thinks the city followed the rules, but what happens next isn’t up to him.

“It’s up to [aldermen] to decide which would be more important,” Greenburg said. “The savings to the citizens of the city that would result from proceeding with the NAPA contract, or the importance of the credibility of the procurement process.”

Should the city decide to rebid the three year contract not to exceed $3.75 million, it would have to cancel the existing, legally binding NAPA contract with 90 days notice and start over.

“When we ignore our ordinances, that sends a message to our citizens that we’re willing to do that,” said Ward 1 Alderman Frank Edwards, who wants to start from scratch.

Edwards was quick to point out the city’s not yet saved any money from the NAPA contract, because the consolidated garage in which it will operate hasn’t opened yet.

Aldermen next week will either affirm the current contract by resolution, or vote to restart the process.

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