Insurance legislation questioned
February 17. 2013 5:39PM
In January, council passed a contract with Knowles Associates, LLC, for the city‚??s insurance brokerage services, but amended the contract to expire on June 30, 2011 instead of January 1, 2012 to allow the city to draft a request for proposals.
On Tuesday, council placed the legislation back on the agenda after Mayor Chris Doherty crossed out his signature on the legislation and wrote ‚??rescinded‚?Ě next to it on May 19, according to council. Council solicitor Boyd Hughes said that while he had never seen this type of action before, he assumed this was meant to be taken as a veto, and the mayor only has 10 days to veto legislation.
Believing this to be in violation of the city‚??s Administrative Code and Home Rule Charter, Hughes recommended that council place the contract back on agenda for a veto override. It was overridden unanimously.
‚??Such an act would set a precedent, allowing any mayor, including Mayor Doherty himself, to rescind all or any of the signatures on all or any pieces of legislation at any time. Throughout my eight years of public service as a councilwoman, such an act has never been performed. Mayor Doherty‚??s action appears to grant himself powers that are not provided to him by law,‚?Ě Council President Janet Evans said.
‚??The broker of record has never been put out to bid, thereby eliminating any possibility of competitive bids and saving throughout a 10-year period.‚?Ě
Councilman Jack Loscombe, who works as an insurance agent and real estate appraiser, said that after studying the contract and corresponding documents, he found several city properties to be under- and over-insured. He said that the coverage should be reviewed and put out to bid every three to five years, saving the ‚??cash-strapped‚?Ě city money on premium reductions.
‚??The reason for bidding this coverage out is not solely to reduce the premium, but rather to have a chance to review the coverages for accuracy,‚?Ě he said.
‚??All we‚??ve asked for was a request for proposals, and I‚??m not picking on the current broker ‚?? they may the best broker in this area. I have no clue. I just think there has to be some research done and some due diligence. What I saw when I looked at the policies was some errors on the coverages, and that has to be corrected.‚?Ě
Councilman Bob McGoff later asked about the status of the proposed park on Perry Avenue, which was awarded a $50,000 grant by the state Department of Community and Economic Development last month.
‚??I kept it off the agenda because I thought it was a project, certainly, that is worth the consideration of city council. Because of this outstanding and significant problem we‚??re facing with the broker of records and city insurances and the fact that some things are, as was noted, insured inappropriately, I don‚??t think we want to add anything to that list right now,‚?Ě Evans replied.
When reached for comment on Friday, Doherty said what he rescinded was an addendum that came down to him just the previous week. The city‚??s insurance has already been paid for the year, he explained, as had been done in prior years. The contract will be put out to bid by the end of the year.
‚??The new insurance should go out to bid in October or November,‚?Ě Doherty said.