Professional services

Bellevue Council will solicit proposals for professional services in two areas, with one of them likely to generate a lot more discussion in future months.

As expected, council voted unanimously at its regular meeting Tuesday to issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) for auditing services. The motion had been presented at the pre-council meeting the week before, and there was no discussion of the matter.

Council also, however, approved a motion that was not on the agenda and had not been discussed at the pre-council meeting, to issue an RFP for a solicitor.

The same motion earlier this year had been voted down with strong opposition from officials who saw it as a political move by the new council administration.

Tuesday’s motion was made by finance committee chair Susan Viscusi, who said it was “strictly a financial move.” The motion was approved in a 5-2 vote, with Jim Scisciani and Frank Camello opposed, and Kathy Coder and Mark Helbling absent. There was no discussion until Helbling arrived some 35 minutes into the meeting.

Helbling asked why the motion had been made when council had agreed in the past that professional service RFPs would be issued only every two years.

“Is anybody willing to tell me the name of the firm you want in here?” Helbling asked.

The response from council president Linda Woshner was: “That’s already been decided. We’re not discussing that.”

In fact, it has been more than two years since Tom McDermott was hired as the borough’s solicitor. He was hired in council’s final meeting of 2009, and began work as the solicitor in January of 2010.

Earlier this year, council approved issuing an RFP for engineering services. No action has been taken other than to extend the contract of the current engineer until the end of 2012.

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