Bross Chingas Bross Real Estate,Riverside Realty,#1 in 2014
 CraftWestport - November 7 &8,2015,Staples High School  Westport Downtown Merchants Association
 Jillian Klaff Homes: real hard facts for really smart moves. 203.858.2095. Westport,CT
Thursday, October 08, 2015

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

A Second Downtown ‘Visioning’ Workshop

By James Lomuscio

The second downtown master plan workshop drew about 70 Westporters tonight to the McManus Room at the Westport Library. Image
Workshop participants go over picture postcards tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Hosted by the Downtown Steering Committee (DSC), the workshop included a representative from the RBA Group, Inc., which was hired to develop the plan.

According to Melissa Kane, the new DSC chair, tonight’s workshop was designed to allow input from residents unable to make the previous one held June 7, a sunny Saturday afternoon, at Bedford Middle School. (See WestportNow June 7, 2014)

She noted that her group has already received about 2,800 suggestions posted at, and that more are welcome.

More "A Second Downtown ‘Visioning’ Workshop"

07/01/14 03:05 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkDigg Favicon Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon
Page 1 of 1 pages
SB Exit 18 S/O Hales Rd.

(Click image to resume)
Click for ConnDOT View

Realtime NY Metro-area traffic reports from

 Discover Earthplace!
 Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County,Connecticut  Walrus + Carpenter: Voted one of the Best Restaurants in Connecticut for Barbecue,Craft Beer,and Cocktails by the readers and experts of Connecticut Magazine for 2014 and 2015 WestportNow Year in Pictures 2014 Give to Public Schools in Need! - Go to












Write to all RTM representatives, Bart Shuldman and Michael Calise,… by Kristan Hamlin

You better hurry up and get this approved.  At last… by Bart Shuldman

competitive bidding is always a desirable process.
However it…
by Michael Calise

Clarissa, thanks for posting the link of the RTM debate,  which supports exactly what I have said above, and not the version reported by the Finance Dept in the lead article above. The record link indicates that after McCarty asked for the $308k, I got up and asked: “1. Was there an RFP that was done? Did you send it out for at least three bids? 2. What were those other bids? How did they come in? 3. Is there any warranty for how long this work would last?”

McCarthy then answered: “We went out for an RFP several months ago to see if there were other pool contractors that were interested in bidding on that work and there were not. We had a single bid. We did, however, have another contractor who reviewed the project who gave us very good advice and confirmed the direction we were taking.”

I (Hamlin) then responded: “Two follow ups: With respect to the RFP, itís my understanding from what you just said, that you only received one bid. Iíd like to know how many different companies did you go out to bid this because for the work thatís described based on my own experience, this is exceedingly high ... “

McCarthy once again tried to suggest to the RTM that he had actually put this work out to bid but that no one else responded because no one else wanted the work when he answered: “Your question about the bidding, there was only one response to the RFP. The RFP was put out by the Finance Department as are all requests for proposals and bids from the Town of Westport. They are advertised on the Townís website. They are publically advertised.They go out to all the various trade organizations that pick up Town bids and distribute them widely. There are few companies in the area that want to deal with commercial pools. Itís different that dealing with small residential pools. Most companies are not interested in doing that kind of work. They are not interested in getting called out on Saturday on Fourth of July weekend because we need to have our pool operating ... ”

Clarissa then got up and said: “Iím surprised we only got one and when you said you we only got one because people donít want to get called out on a weekend, was the bid to do just this renovation work or is it some ongoing contracting? If itís just to do the renovation, they should be able to do the timing when they are going to do that. ”   

McCarthy then was vague again in his response to Clarissa Moore, so I (Hamlin)  tried again to get a straight answer: “Do I understand from your answer to Ms. Mooreís question that what you bid out was the service agreement but the actual plastering agreement you made part of that, you did not bid out the actual plastering to anyone other than the contractor who had already won the service agreement. From a governmental ethics perspective, I have a fundamental problem with not bidding out and receiving at least three responses to an RFP. I think thatís a transparent way that our Town government should run. Iíd like to move that we require as an RTM that Parks and Rec. get another two bids before we vote on this.”

Mr. McCarthy then represented that it was the Westport Finance Dept that instructed him to put only the $15k pool cleaning job out to bid (which it was anticipated only CCA would bid on) and then award unilaterally the much larger $308k renovation bid on a sole-sourced basis:  McCarthy represented: “We had a discussion with the Finance Department about the proper way to manage this project; again, because there are two elements to this project. It is not a new construction. It is a renovation. We have a reputable pool contractor under contract with the Town and the advice of the Finance Department was to redo the RFP for the contract for the maintenance of the pools. The successful contractor under contract would then do the renovations of the pools under the contract. That was the advice of the Finance Department and that is how we proceeded. Is it possible to go out to bid for this work? It is certainly possible to go out to bid for this work. Given the circumstances, given the market out there that we had only one bidder for the maintenance of the pool, I donít anticipate that generating much interest. I am not recommending that ... ”

Sometime later in the debate, I clarified again the legal and ethical dilemma by proceeding this way. I said: “It is my understanding from what has been answered tonight that the service maintenance contract has already gone out to bid and it was for $15,000 per year and then they had this renovation and they didnít send that out to bid. They awarded it to the guy who has been doing maintenance. It is my view that sometimes people low bid a service agreement and then if you say the renovation is going to be on a non-bid basis, you are going to make up any saving you gave the Town by having a really high bid. And this is a real high bid. This is governmental ethics 101. We need to have the renovation go out to bid. There has been no bid for it. ” 

Mr Lebowitz still tried to pin down whether the renovation had been awarded on a no-bid basis on advice of the Westport Finance Dept and asked: “Thank you for that clarification. Iíll ask my question of Stuart. Is this correct that the maintenance contract was bid by the Finance Department and it did not include the renovation?”

Mr. McCarthy answered Lebowitz thusly: “Correct.”

Later Stuart McCarthy added :“If the RTM says you want it to be bid, we will bid. We are not recommending that but if thatís what you want, weíll do it.”

David Floyd stated that: “He did have this checked so if we are going to save any money, it is probably in the order of 10 percent.”

In fact, we saved 24% once it went to bid and we could have saved even more if the successful bidder, CCA, had not gotten the unfair advantage described in my earlier post.     

This is why we need an ordinance—because you cannot “waive” a law, but you can list out valid exceptions.  The way this was done was not a “valid exception.” That is why I took the time to draft a proposed ordinance and find co-sponsors.  If you review the above RTM debate, it is clear why the five Petitioners—Hamlin, Karpf, Briggs, Moore and Levy— believe strongly in the need for an ordinance:  so the Finance Dept cannot “waive” the law like they can a policy and cannot do what McCarthy claimed they did—advise town employees to skirt a competitive bidding “policy” by putting out to bid a tiny $15k pool cleaning project and then award without a bid the $308k renovation project.

In my experience, emails to the RTM have a strong influence on how RTMers vote.  If you want clean government and competitive bidding, please email your RTM members and tell them to support a competitive bidding ordinance.  Kristan Hamlin, RTM dist. #4

by Kristan Hamlin


Reader nominations welcome:

Westport Info Stuff

Enter your email address to get delivered to your inbox

Powered by FeedBlitz

Contact the Editor

How to Submit
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Newsfeeds / Syndicate
RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Add to My Yahoo!


Find more about Weather in Westport, CT
Register / Log in
Registration is required to post comments.
Sign Up  •  Login
Comment Policy
Westport-Area Blogs
 The Better Crumb
 Chicken Spaghetti
 Crisis Management for Business
 CT Bites
 CT News Junkie
 Dayle Brownstein Poetry
 Dr. Annie Abram: Relationships
 Fairfield Co. Real Estate
 Farewell Travels
 Fishing-Foto-Fun (Dick Alley)
 Friends of Westport Parks/Rec
 French Food & Me
 Hostile Entry
 Jane Green
 Kosher Like Me
 Living with Technology
 Major Knitter
 Much Ado About Stuffing
 Nancy on Norwalk
 Nina Pomeroy Photography
 Open the Door
 Our Town Crier
 Prill Boyle's Defying Gravity
 RE Gem of the Week
 Robert Steven Williams
 Robin's Resources
 Sherwood Island Friends
 Taking the Kids
 Videler Photography
 Volunteer Square
 Westport Weather Website
 Westport's Knitting Librarian
 Who, What, When -- and Y
 Y's Women

Suggest a Westport-area blog by sending email to