The Board of County Commissioners are reviewing a long-standing policy of ranking proposals after a snafu with the selection of a new management company for the Navarre Pier revealed a chink in its legislative armor.
A lawsuit was filed against the county after the top-ranked proposal was dropped, and the commissioners opened discussion on the subject again, seeking to draw a new contract with the current managing group.
A simple majority vote would have given the contract to the current managing firm, but the commissioners use a weighted system to rank proposals. They have been using the system for around 20 years.
County staff entered contract talks with the top-ranked proposal, as it was custom. The commissioners chose to bring up discussion of staying with the current operators during a public meeting.
It was clear there was no concise rule as the commission itself seemed to be confused about how the ranking system worked and how the current management company could be ranked number two. The favoritism was overwhelming, and the commission now wants to rewrite the rules to fit the majority decision of going with the number two candidate.
During a commission meeting, it was revealed that there is no law on the books that gives precedent surrounding the move to contract talks with the number-two ranked proposal.
There is no written policy. It is just the understood policy. And that makes for bad policy.
The lack of specifics opened the county and public money to lawsuits and potential legal action. The sudden change of heart seems more kin to good ol' boy politics than a bold, legislative stance by three commissioners.
If we suddenly want to flip over the card table, let's make sure we understand the game we're playing and the stakes.