Cleveland City Council passes LED ordinance

Submitted by briancummins on Thu, 08/19/2010 - 13:29.

The ordinance passes 12 votes to 7 -- see Plain Dealer article:

Cleveland City Council finally passes legislation to seek bids for purchase of LED lights
By Mark Gillispie, The Plain Dealer, August 18, 2010.

It was the Jackson administration's second try at convincing council to give one company the exclusive right to sell the city LED lighting for 10 years in exchange for building a manufacturing facility here and creating 350 jobs. See full article here.

I hope the best for the Administration and our City, but am very disappointed by the lack of due diligence Council placed on reviewing this legislation.  In both rounds of deliberations, the Administration touted their strategies without any third party expertise and Council leadership did little to dig into the matter.

The end result is a very restrictive bid process that limits competition and ignores trying to partner with the largest lighting company in the US, GE as well as the upstart Green Mill Global LLC and their partners from South Korea, Fawoo Tech North America.

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Other comments today that I made at cleveland.com

Although this is complicated and multifaceted it breaksdown to some basic issues:

  1. The ordinance as passed is very similar to the original and primarily seeks to attract a sole-source provider for the City’s LED lighting needs with the promise of 350 jobs within 5 years  (30%, or 105 which will be required to be Clevelanders).
     
  2. The technology and industry are developing very rapidly and firms are making overstated claims about products that are ultimately not living up to claims when actually tested.
     
  3. Most if not all other municipalities in the USA are taking an approach of piloting products and building relationships with multiple firms.  Those cities internationally that are doing more procurement from single source companies are doing so with subsidies to those firms by their government, e.g. China.
     
  4. Cleveland has the USA’s largest lighting company in our region and will not provided equitable terms within the ordinance for that company to be able to fairly compete with what we expect from the RFP.  The ordinance requires a job count and jobs created only in Cleveland.  Those of us who opposed the ordinance were barely given the opportunity to bring third party expertise into the deliberations.  When we did, the suggestions and amendments we had to include a count of payroll generated (as opposed to only a job count), or to include in the economic benefit analysis the jobs and payroll generation of jobs within Cuyahoga County, i.e., GE in East Cleveland, less than two miles from our City, were not given any consideration.

Ultimately the Mayor and his Administrations got what they want with a few important concessions/amendments added.  The Administration was always quick to point out that there are sufficient exit clauses and warranty requirements so we can get out of the deal we eventually broker.  That does not build much trust or faith that this strategy will work, but at this point I hope some good can come from this.

Brian Cummins
Cleveland City Council, Ward 14

REF:
* August 19th - http://www.brewedfreshdaily.com/2010/cleveland-city-council-passes-led-ordinance
* July 14th - http://www.brewedfreshdaily.com/2010/ord-829-led-lighting-comprehensive-draft-amendments-prepared-for-discussion
* July 11th - http://www.brewedfreshdaily.com/2010/clevelands-led-future-facts-or-fiction-competition-or-contract-steering

 

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flawed bidding process?

 After months of back and forth about a competitive bidding process for the contracts for LED lighting, the months of committee and council meetings, the deadline for submitting bids has arrived and we have two (2) companies that placed bids. Why? What was it about this "competitive bidding" process that dropped the actual potential bidders from 22  to 2? Are we better off, or more importantly, is the process actually realized?

Something is seriously wrong here.  Is it too much to ask that the same amount of time and energy that went into this process would lead the City of Cleveland to drop those bids, analyze, with input from all 22 companies, the process that got us here today. I would hope that the City would fix those problems, make the competitive bids open to all, and reopen the bidding period.