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I tried to schedule the Constitutional Revision hearings, but was unable to attend either the Pensacola or Tallahassee meetings. If it would be ok, I would like to express my concerns here in this email and ask for any ideas or suggestions to help others on the committee understand how important this is.
There is a local concern here in Jackson County where un-licensed contracting is being used so that the normal competitive bidding process is avoided. If it can happen here, and there is nothing in the law to prevent it, it could also be happening in the other 66 counties of Florida. It concerns revising the Florida Constitution for Competitive Bidding.
I would like to see some language that addresses this loop-hole in the law, as we have unlicensed, unqualified and permanent road contractors in this part of southwest Jackson County ( Compass Lake in the Hills). There seems to be a word game on whether the road contracts are for "maintenance" or "construction". I would like to see our Constitution make competitive bidding the norm no matter what type of contracting is required. If our local county has requirements for general contractors, roofers, hvac, and many,many other contractors, it should have one for the very important work of road contracting. The threshold should be in the dollar amount, not in the type of work. For example, if a road maintenance job involved work that was over $250,000 or whatever agreed on amount, then it would trigger the competitive bidding process.
I, along with several other concerned citizens have been fighting against this type of government corruption for over 10 years now, and although the county calls this 30 plus year partner of theirs, an "independent contractor", they are in effect a long term "employee" who has no other purpose, or job than this one road system, for their one employer - the county commission. This same entity was not allowed to bid on the FEMA road work, as they are not qualified with the FDOT. The county however, uses them for basic road maintenance and even some undefined and non published road construction.
It is a difficult problem, but that is what the Florida Constitution should address, namely the protection of the citizens and our tax dollars. Please le me know if I can speak towards this issue or if there is anyone I could contact to help move this along.
James D. Cowart
829 Anderson Drive