Becker & Poliakoff lobbying firm at center of, um, veeerrryyy interesting bidding decision in Broward

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Earlier this week, I wrote a post about some curious staff abilities and responsibilities in Broward County, which caught my attention after the Broward Bulldog did a story on staff making decisions and awarding contracts.
Since my blog hit, I have heard from several readers, via emails and private messages on Facebook, that not only is the process more tangled a web than first thought, but the outcome could cost taxpayers 22 MILLION DOLLARS.  Evidently, that is the difference between the original highest bidder and the lowest, which is now the lowest bidder because of cost normalization and the lowest is now the highest … well, you get the point.

I also came across some interesting information on where 
the highly unusual cost normalization idea came from.

The originally-highest bidder who is now the lowest bidder thanks to the cost normalization concept – a concept that evidently they recommended this staff -run selection committee – is tied to the consulting firm which did the normalization. According to lobbyist registrations, the same South Florida lobbyist, Bernie Friedman of Becker Poliakoff, represents Ciber and the firm (Plante Moran) which was chosen to do the cost normalization.

Following along? The consulting firm which did the cost normalization is represented by the same lobbyists who represents the bidder (Ciber) which benefited most from the process.
Really?  Nobody else saw this?  And nobody else sees this as a problem?  Earlier this week the selection committee met and heard from bidders on how this highly unusual normalization process is flawed and they decided to go back and think before making their final rankings.
Maybe they should go back and REALLY think now.  And they should keep in mind that this process only gets one to the table to negotiate and they are not bound to this normalization so their price will not be the lowest.  What is at stake is potentially 20 million dollars in taxpayer money when this cost normalization exercise, which increased the lowest bid price by 400 percent, proves to be a bad idea.
Almost as bad of an idea as staff making decisions on matters like this.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.