Legislators not told comptroller asked re-bid of JLL contract

An official with the state comptroller’s office suggested in an email that Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration should scrap a portion of a state contract with Jones Lang LaSalle and put it back up for competitive bidding, reports WTVF.

Reporter Phil Williams says the email indicates administration officials may not have told state legislators “the whole truth” during a hearing before the Fiscal Review Committee on the Jones Lang LaSalle contract to manage state government buildings.

They were asked point-blank if contract watchdogs from the state Comptroller’s Office had raised any concerns.

“Did the Comptroller’s Office have any comment on the way it was being done as it moved along?” asked state Sen. Douglas Henry Jr., D-Nashville.

Department of General Services lawyer Chloe Shafer responded that the comptroller’s staff had provided “feedback.”

“They asked for information about what we had looked at, just as you did… and we provided them with answers that we believe they found satisfactory,” Shafer told Henry.

But what the General Services lawyer did not tell the committee was that she had received emails from the Comptroller’s Office just two months earlier, urging that a portion of one of those contracts be scrapped.

That portion lets JLL handle lease negotiations for the state and ask for a 4 percent commission from landlords who want to lease the state a building.

“This was negotiated with JLL with no opportunity for anyone else to offer their services,” wrote Melinda Parton, director of the comptroller’s Office of Management Services.

“Don’t agree with continuing to negotiate services without competition,” she concluded.

…(W)hen lawmakers gathered to review that contract, they only heard the administration’s side. That’s because the Comptroller’s Office is now in the middle of the a big audit of the Department of General Services — and they weren’t ready to talk about their findings.