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Bunnell Commission, With 14 Jobs in Jeopardy, Calls Emergency Meeting for Today

| November 2, 2011

Bunnell's contract with the Florida Department of Transportation, which underwrites 14 jobs in the city, may be going down the toilet. (12th St. David)

For the past six years, the Florida Department of Transportation has contracted with Bunnell government for road maintenance in DOT’s local district. The current contract is valued at $1.3 million and represents 14 jobs on the city’s payroll. It also represents the equivalent of a third of the city’s general fund.

Now Bunnell may be on the verge of losing it all, a consequence of the state’s privatization drive.

The city commission has called an emergency meeting for tonight at 6:30 p.m. to deal with the contract and discuss an injunction against the state.

Monday is Bunnell’s deadline to bid on the contract. What precipitated the emergency meeting is a requirement–which was either revealed late to Bunnell from the state, or that Bunnell itself was late in discovering–that the city buy two performance bonds, one valued at about $11,000, the other, a recurring, annual bond, valued at $30,000. Tonight’s meeting is designed to give the administration authority to spend the money for the bonds. That money is not in any pre-approved budget. Performance bonds, which can take a few weeks to buy, have to be secured ahead of a bid being put in. It’s not clear how Bunnell will have time, despite tonight’s action, to secure the bonds in time for the bid.

That brings up tonight’s other discussion item: “The city is evaluating whether or not it makes sense to get an injunction and more importantly, when to seek that injunction,” before or after the bid is awarded, City Attorney Sid Nowell said. The reason: the state is making explicit its objections to Bunnell even submitting a bid. “Initially we were told we were not allowed to bid because we were a public entity, we were going to be precluded,” Nowell said. But nowhere in state law is such an exclusion permissible. “Then they backed up and said OK, you can bid, but we’re not going to guarantee that we’re going to accept your bid, or consider your bid, is the term that was used.”

The city has been disallowed from accessing pre-bid data through the state’s bidding website. All the information it has gathered had to be acquired through public record requests. Nowell, who has been preparing a legal strategy with Dennis Bayer and Jim Manfre, his legal team, said he was leaning toward recommending against enjoining the state before the bid process is complete, and instead file a bid protest afterward, should Bunnell continue to be sidelined. (Bayer will be sitting in at this evening’s meeting, as Nowell, who’s had a loss in his family, is in Tennessee.)

Until this year, the state has had a memorandum of understanding with Bunnell to keep the contract. This year, Gov. Rick Scott is requiring all state-issued contracts to be reviewed and put out to bid. In essence, Bunnell is having to compete with others to keep the contract. Some 24 companies are bidding for the contract, which has a maximum value of $1.9 million.

Scott has made no secret of his distaste for government jobs if he can get them replaced by private-industry jobs. He’s under immense pressure to make good on his promise, so far nowhere near kept, to produce 700,000 private-sector jobs in seven years over and above the 1 million jobs that would normally be created in a moderate-growth economy. Just 71,000 jobs were created overall between January and October. Shifting such contracts as Bunnell’s from government to private industry would, by Scott’s calculations, add to the private sector job rolls, even though Bunnell itself would be losing the jobs.

Should Bunnell lose the contract it would result in a loss of jobs won’t severely impact the running of the city, Bunnell manager Armando Martinez said. “We’ve been slowly preparing for it,” he said.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Government Services Building in Bunnell.

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12 Responses for “Bunnell Commission, With 14 Jobs in Jeopardy, Calls Emergency Meeting for Today”

  1. Kip Durocher says:

    All you Bunnell residents who voted for Scott ~ you chickens have come home to roost.
    This is a GOP m.o. – lots of unnecessary performance bonds that hinder and help
    exclude small players. The thing is rigged ~ Scott already knows who will get the DOT
    Scott will create 700,000 jobs by laying off 1.5 million government employees. And all the new
    scottjobs will have no benefits.
    And Scott overwhelmingly won the vote in Bunnell.
    Gosh – maybe those occupy people have something.

  2. Nigel says:

    Nice to know that Martinez cares so much about his employees…

  3. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    “And Scott overwhelmingly won the vote in Bunnell” Really? How do you know?

  4. palmcoaster says:

    Totally agree with Kip. That performance bond a hoax.
    While reading, I was interrupted by “robo-call” not this time from R.Scott, after about 20 times of those endured ….now the first one from who else than….. Herman Cain!
    Never mind Martinez caring for his employees, we should all care for those potential 14 workers to be layoff, as sooner or later affects us all as well. I wonder if those Scott voters have learned anything yet.

  5. Rick says:

    It would be a good thing if this contract goes elsewhere. This little Town has been living beyond its means through this fat contract for years. All you need to do is pull the annual budget to see that the Town dumps over 500k into its general fund from the excess built into this contract. I, personally, am tired of my Florida taxpayer dollars going to this backwards Town. Give it to a private sector company who will provide better service for less. It is time to wean Bunnell off the tit of the Federal and State government. Add up this contract with all the other grants and subsidies given to this municipality and it will show that this Town is a welfare town that wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the fat we can no longer afford as taxpayers.

  6. John Smith says:

    Well the private contractor that they seem to want will come and do the jobs with DAY LABOR guys paying them $8.00 or so and NO benefits. The guys from Bunnell work in Flagler Bch to clean the streets and maintain 100 and A1A so maybe when they get laidoff by Bunnell they can go to work out of the labor hall for LESS money and NO benefits. Man that Rick Scott KNOWS his stuff on screwing his state residents. Gota love that TEA PARTY.

  7. PJ says:

    RICK your really un-informed about a thing called a budget. Your TAX dollars do not run this operation as it runs just like a private business. The good part about the operation is that it also funded the city for the clowns that ran it before Martinez. with the mis-management that was running a muck the city of Bunnell was using thismoney to manage it’s operations. for the first time the city under martinez is budgeted as it own tax revenues run the city. In the past funds were there from this operation but now the city is budgeted on it own. Thanks to Martinez and his staff who are really managers.

    Rick stop complaining and go to a meeting or two, heck why not run for office they could really use a guy like you on the board with your type of reasoning…………………

  8. Rick says:


    Pick up the budget and see for yourself. Take a look at how much money is transferred out of Bunnell’s “Special Revenue” Fund on an annual basis. Trace the money and see exactly what it pays for. Please I invite you to do it. I have done it and I can tell you that it is not just paying for the crew and equipment to maintain the roads. Runs like a private business? You can’t be serious. FDOT is funded by state tax payers. Why should I as a taxpayer contribute to a 1.8 million dollar State contract that can be serviced for 1.2 million or even less?

    I am amazed to read the comments of those in favor contining to fund this operation… you want to take my money so that you can pay some guy twice the going rate for a road crewman while I struggle to make ends working in the private sector Why? Because the government has police power to enforce taxes? You want me to saddle my children with a debt that is going to leave them broke and struggling to have a fraction of the quality of life I had growing up because we can’t stop the sweet heart deals coming from the Feds and the State? The sense that we cannot cut the fat is exactly what is wrong with government these days. Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. Government is a fat hog. I don’t care for everything Scott is doing but he is right in cutting government waste. Bunnell needs to be weaned off the nipple.

  9. palmcoaster says:

    It is time to demand from John Mica, Thrasher, Nelson and the other legislators to place Governor recall provision in the Florida constitution.

  10. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    How does John Mica, a US Congressman, and Bill Nelson a US Senator, place a recall provision in the FLORIDA constitution? If you want a recall provision added, get off your computer and start the process yourself, you don’t need the legislature to do it for you, you can organize, get enough signatures and get a referendum on the ballot.

  11. PJ says:


    I see your point and I somewhat agree. The history of this service that Bunnell provids to the FDOT was one of convienance for FDOT. At one point they did not even have anyone to do this work hence Bunnell was already doing this work in the city roads FDOT asked them to pick up other areas because there were no company’s interested. Some 6-7 years later now they want to put it out to bid.

    With pleanty of peole going in their own business the field is a pleanty with folks to bid. It seems like there is fat in the Bunnell government but this is not the case. Better management has arrived and many of the departments are well managed. In this case the work crews were getting high performance reviews but that does not seem to matter it is now all about creating jobs in the private sector.

    Rick, I simply have one question what about those people that work for Bunnell that will not have a job if they are not allowed to bid it?

  12. palmcoaster says:

    @Jhonny. I understand that the only way to place a governor recall in Florida’s constitution is first thru our legislators in Tallahassee. Once the recall provision is in our Constitution then the petition can be passed along to materialize the recall by referendum. The legislature already voted it down by majority, in the first try. For your enlightment, please see the following link:

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