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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The parking meter scandal, as seen by the other Portland

Here's an interesting coincidence: The City of Portland, Maine has recently awarded a contract for high-tech parking meters. And the lucky winner is none other than Cale, the Florida-based outfit that's been raided by the FBI as part of the ongoing Portland, Oregon criminal investigation into suspected bribes or kickbacks. Cale supplies Portland, Oregon with its meters, and serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of the process by which it got that contract.

In Maine, although city officials have chosen Cale over its only competitor, Parkeon, they haven't signed a contract yet. And some of the bureaucrats who made the choice are reportedly having second thoughts in light of last week's dramatic developments in Oregon:

Dick LeGarde, a member of the section committee and the head of Portland’s Treasury Division, said knowledge the of FBI probe into Cale would have absolutely impacted his decision when rating the competing parking meter proposals.

"As a member of a committee making a decision, if we had known that in advance, sure, that would impact my personal decision," he said yesterday.

Jan Beitzer, head of Portland Downtown District and another member of the parking meter selection committee, wouldn’t say how news of the FBI probe into Cale would have affected her decision during the bidding process.

"I don’t know what you’re talking about," Beitzer said, adding that she didn't recall giving a score to the parking meter contracts. She referred questions on the issue back to Clegg.

[City parking manager John] Peverada, who was also on the selection committee, said that knowledge "might have" affected his rating during the bid review. But, he added that much is still unknown about the federal inquiry into alleged kickbacks in Portland, Ore.

Parkeon had its public relations firm send an e-mail message to the Portland, Maine paper, gleefully pointing out Cale's problems here in Oregon. Who knows how much business the firm might lose as a result of its relationship with Ellis McCoy, the now-suspended Portland, Oregon parking meter manager?

Comments (6)

Must've sent the bribery check to the wrong zip code.

LeGarde sounds like a pol with a conscience. Too bad we don't attract ones like that. They must be using a different growth medium out that way.

This is just another reminder to the "there ought to be a law" crowd (left and right).

Milton Friedman had it right:

“Where are these angels who are going to organize society for us?”

"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it."

Unfortunately, Ellis continues to get paid.

"I don’t know what you’re talking about," Beitzer said, adding that she didn't recall giving a score to the parking meter contracts. She referred questions on the issue back to Clegg.

Sounds as clueless as the over here. The fix is in there too!

Yes, Beitzer sounds like many of numerous people (Stakeholders) who serves on the numerous committees around here. An issue is presented by staff, no questions or comments, maybe a vote is taken or not, then low and behold a Report, Letter, Memo is sent to Council or some Board that a Committee has strongly supported a position.

Then, when that is contested, or explained what really was/wasn't decided by a Committee based on their own minutes, these same Committee Stakeholders, who said nothing-can't remember and they come out of the woodwork claiming strong or not support.

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