ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, JANUARY 27, 2003
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Special Meeting at 4:00 p.m., in the Board Room, at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel Building, 215 West Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chair: Ms. Linda Finkelstein
Vice Chair: Mrs. Cary Stidham
Board Members: Mrs. Carissa Bergosh (entered the Special Meeting at 4:01 p.m.)
Mr. Ronnie L. Clark
Dr. John DeWitt
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul (was not present)
I. CALL TO ORDER
Ms. Finkelstein called the Special Meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
II. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
On motion made by Mrs. Stidham and seconded by Dr. DeWitt, adoption of the agenda, was approved 4 to 0, with Mrs. Bergosh absent for vote.
Mrs. Bergosh entered the Special Meeting at 4:01 p.m.
III. ITEMS FROM THE BOARD
1. Consider Oral Presentations from Bidders and Take Final Action with Regard to the Request for Proposal (RFP) for School Board Legislative Liaison/Consultant/Lobbyist
[NOTE: The following discussion refers to a motion approved at the December 17, 2002 Regular Meeting, to prepare and advertise a Request for Proposal (RFP) for legislative consulting services. (This issue was last addressed at the January 23, 2003 Special Meeting.)] Ms. Allison Watson, Senior Purchasing Agent, briefly outlined the procedures to be used during the meeting. She noted that the Board had previously evaluated RFP responses at the January 23, 2003 Special Meeting, and had awarded the following total points for each bidder: Mixon and Associates, 353 total points; Poole, McKinley & Blosser, 181 total points. Ms. Watson noted that each Board Member had previously received evaluation worksheets that would be used for assigning points for each bidders oral presentation. She advised that both bidders had been invited to make oral presentations to the Board at this meeting, however, the firm of Poole, McKinley & Blosser had declined. Ms. Watson explained that the oral presentation consisted of a fifteen-minute formal presentation and a five-minute session for responses to questions posed by the Board, each of which were worth a total of 50 possible points (for a combined total of 100 possible points.) She stated that the total points from the oral presentation would be combined with the total points from the written RFP responses (which were assigned at the January 23, 2002 Special Meeting) to develop an overall total points awarded.
Oral Presentation by Mixon and Associates
Mr. Juhan Mixon, President of Mixon and Associates, gave a formal presentation to the Board regarding his firms proposal for legislative consulting services. The Board then posed the following questions regarding the Mixon and Associates proposal:
Dr. DeWitt noted that the RFP response did not address relationships with federal and local government agencies. Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Mixon stated that while his firm could assist the District with local issues, no one can do that better than the Board Members and the staff of the District. He noted that the cost indicated in the RFP response was for state relations.
Dr. DeWitt noted that a claims bill was currently being filed against the District and questioned whether Mixon and Associates could assist with that situation. Mr. Mixon stated that while he was aware of the claims bill situation and would be comfortable assisting the District in that regard, he would need to be provided with the details first. He noted that if he thought that it would help, he would recommend that the District hire an outside firm.
Dr. DeWitt noted that the RFP response indicated weekly conference calls and questioned whether those calls would include the participation of all districts represented by Mixon and Associates or each district individually. Mr. Mixon stated that the proposed weekly conference calls would involve only the participation of each individual district. He noted that the weekly conference calls were being proposed in addition to the monthly meeting provided under the RFP, due to a lot of legislation that comes up weekly, that the Board would need to be advised about.
In response to concern expressed by Mrs. Stidham, Mr. Mixon suggested that a workshop be scheduled prior to the 2003 Legislative Session, to review all major legislation that is available. In addition, the firm would provide a website (specific to individual districts) which would be accessible for daily (legislative) bill tracking.
Mrs. Bergosh noted that the RFP response indicated that Mixon and Associates had access to local committees. Upon inquiry by Mrs. Bergosh, Mr. Mixon provided the names of legislative committees and political action committees, which were accessible to the firm.
Mr. Clark noted that the RFP response indicated that Mixon and Associates had never had a conflict of interest between the different (school) boards that the firm represents. Upon inquiry by Mr. Clark, Mr. Mixon explained how the firm would handle a situation involving a conflict of interest.
Upon inquiry by Dr. DeWitt, Mr. Mixon explained that out-of-pocket expenses would be billed separately from the base contract fee and would be generally less than $2,000 per year (based on cost estimates from other clients that the firm represents).
Ms. Finkelstein noted that the RFP response indicates that the personnel fo Mixon and Associates, specialize in specific areas (i.e., communications, finance, politics). Upon inquiry by Ms. Finkelstein, Mr. Mixon stated that the Board would be provided with a general contact rather than trying to reach someone specific, should the Board need to contact the firm regarding a particular issue.
Each Board Member was given the opportunity to explain the points that they had assigned for each session of the oral presentation (formal presentation session and question and answer session). Dr. DeWitt assigned a total of 100 points; Mrs. Stidham assigned a total of 90 points; Mr. Clark assigned a total of 95 points; Mrs. Bergosh assigned a total of 60 points; and Ms. Finkelstein assigned a total of 80 points, for an overall total of 425 points. Mrs. Bergosh expressed concern that Mixon and Associates was not a local firm and may not represent the local community.
Ms. Watson noted that the total of 425 points for the oral presentation combined with the total of 353 points from the written RFP responses (which were assigned at the January 23, 2002 Special Meeting) resulted in a total of 778 points awarded to Mixon and Associates.
Motion was made by Dr. DeWitt, seconded by Mr. Clark, to grant the bid award (RFP award) for School Board Legislative Liaison/Consultant/Lobbyist to Mixon and Associates, subject to the Boards review of the final contract. Dr. DeWitt noted that the contract could possibly be added as an item to the already scheduled January 31, 2003 Special Meeting agenda for Board review and/or approval.
Mrs. Bergosh believed that the RFP for legislative consultant services should be re-advertised noting that only two bidders had responded to the RFP and only one bidder had given an oral presentation to the Board. Mrs. Bergosh moved to table the bid award (RFP award) for School Board Legislative Liaison/Consultant/Lobbyist, to allow for re-advertisement of the RFP. Motion died for lack of second.
Motion to grant the bid award (RFP award) for School Board Legislative Liaison/Consultant/Lobbyist to Mixon and Associates, subject to the Boards review of the final contract, was approved 4 to 1, with Mrs. Bergosh voting No.
There being no further business, the Special Meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.