Tag Archives: questioned

State’s No-Bid Rental Car Deal Questioned

In a Phil Williams report, WTVF-TV is raising questions about the Haslam administration’s contract with Enterprise Rent-a-Car as a state motor pool.
“This is not good business,” said Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, who sits on the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee, after seeing the documents that we uncovered.
…(D)uring his first two years in office, Haslam’s administration has been quietly taking jobs from state employees and turning them over to big business. It’s an effort that’s been spearheaded by Haslam’s General Services Commissioner, Brentwood developer Steve Cates.
…In the case of the motor pool, Haslam’s Department of General Services decided in late 2011 to outsource the program to Enterprise and the car-sharing program that it calls WeCar.
The major push for that contract began about that same time that Cates hired former Enterprise executive Kathleen Hansen to head the department’s motor vehicle management division.
In fact, NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered, the Haslam administration made a conscious decision not to put the state’s business up for bids, citing the “difficulty” of going through that process.
“The rental of cars has not been solicited by the Purchasing Division in the past; therefore it does not have experience in developing the specifications,” a justification memo said.
That notion “does not hold one drop of water for me,” Pody said.
…General Services officials justified the Enterprise deal in a memo, saying it would “piggy-back” on the “University of Tennessee’s WeCar” program — which had been put up for bids.
But, in a statement to NewsChannel 5 Investigates, said: “The University of Tennessee does not have a WeCar program.”
UT’s statement “causes me a great deal of concern,” Pody said.
Instead, our NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered, UT’s contract with Enterprise was just for a rental discount program for university employees and alumni who were traveling.
UT never outsourced its own motor pool.
And only one other company even bothered to submit a bid for the university’s business.
…”As a business man, if one of my managers came in and had done this with my money, I probably would have fired them,” Pody added.
…NewsChannel 5 Investigates went online looking for discount codes, then trying to reserve a car.
We found a mid-size car for $26 a day; the state’s price: $31. Our weekly rate: $148. The state’s: $184.
Compared to other states, Oklahoma has a deal with Enterprise to get the same car for less than $160 a week.
And even though WeCar boasts that it offers great rates for quick trips, Tennessee’s contract has no such deal.
The same car in other states is less than $10 for an hour. Tennessee pays the full daily rate — $31 — three times as much.
“There is something bad wrong,” Pody said. “If I can rent it cheaper as an individual or as one car, compared to the state renting a hundred a day, there has to be something wrong somewhere.”
When state employees need a car, they can go to an Enterprise location — or they can come to a state WeCar lot, like one located in the shadow of the state Capitol.
But our investigation discovered, under the Haslam administration’s deal with Enterprise, the company gets paid for just leaving cars there, waiting to be rented.
During the last 12 months for which bills are available, state employees actually used almost $450,000 worth of WeCar services. But Tennessee paid Enterprise $739,000.
…(General Services officials) argued that one of the big advantages of this contract is that the state can get a rebate of as much as 8 percent — money that comes back to taxpayers. The question, critics told us, is whether the savings have been even more if the contract had been put up for bids.

Some Question Whether Rep. Curry Todd Lives in His District

Collierville resident and former Germantown alderman Carole Hinely doesn’t think Rep. Curry Todd lives in the 95th District he represents in the state Legislature, reports The Commercial Appeal.
Todd maintains he does, living with a high school buddy after vacating his Collierville home following a divorce that was final last year. Also, despite his name not being listed as owner, he said he has a bed and clothes in a home on Handforth Cove in Collierville.
Questions about Todd’s residency have been buzzing in Collierville. Once Todd got wind of the inquiries, he addressed them, saying he has always lived in the district.
“I’m back there at least three times a month (during the legislative session),” Todd said. “I come in on Friday (from Nashville). I stay (there) on the weekend and drive back up on Sunday.”
….On re-election papers filed with the Shelby County Election Commission, Todd listed 944 Handforth Cove as his address — a home shown on Shelby County Assessor’s records as owned by Ronald Spurlin. Town of Collierville utility records reflect the same information, and there is no reference to Todd having a connection to the house, which is for sale.
Efforts to reach Spurlin regarding Todd’s living arrangements led to a call from Todd, who identified Spurlin as a high school friend.
“I’ve been there probably awhile,” Todd said. “Ronnie told me to come on over and move in with (him). Nobody there, but him, so I did.
“I have a condo in Nashville I lease when I’m up here. The lease is up in June. I’m not trying to hide anything. Don’t have anything to hide.”
For years, Todd lived on Lancelot Circle with his former wife, Katherine. Their divorce was final last fall, and Todd quit-claimed the house to her.

Knox House Candidate’s Legal Residence Questioned

Knox County election officials have asked the state to decide a legal question about the Knox County residency of a Democrat hopeful for state House of Representatives, .the News Sentinel reports
Shelley Breeding has filed paperwork to run in the newly created 89th District, which lies entirely in Knox County. But her residential property lies partly in Anderson County and partly in Knox County, said Knox County Election Coordinator Cliff Rodgers.
“At this point, we are waiting on guidance” from the state election coordinator’s office, Rodgers said. “We hope to hear from them soon.”
He said an employee in his office noticed that KGIS showed part of her property was in Anderson County.
“Her mailbox and her driveway are in Knox County, but her house is entirely in Anderson County,” Rodgers said. The real estate taxes on the property “are paid to the Anderson County trustee’s office, through her mortgage company.”

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Legislators Question Taft Renovation Estimates

News release from Rep. Cameron Sexton’s office:
Nashville, TN – Over the last few months there has been a lot back and forth about the proposed closing of Taft Youth Development Center in Bledsoe County. The Department of Children Services has maintained Taft needs $37 million in improvements to remain open.
A bipartisan coalition of legislators joined together to oppose the closing of Taft Youth Center. Senator Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere), Representative Jim Cobb (R-Spring City), Representative Bill Harmon (D-Dunlap) and Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).
A few weeks ago Representative Sexton asked Commissioner O’Day to provide an itemize list detailing the $37 million price tag for improvements.
“Yesterday, Commissioner O’Day and her staff sent the requested information to us outlining the cost to rebuild Taft. It appears from the information we received, Commissioner O’Day is more concerned about the rehabilitation of the buildings at Taft than the rehabilitation of the students. To demolish buildings simply due to their age is short-sighted and leaves me to believe there is much more behind her proposal than what is being stated publically. I think it’s time we get to the bottom of it,” Senator Stewart stated.
In the release of information from Commissioner O’Day, DCS stated that five Taft buildings would need to be demolished and replaced at a cost of $28,790,737.50 due to the age of the structures.
“I have toured the facility multiple times and I am incredulous to the department’s desire to demolish buildings based simply on the year the building was built. Using that rationale, we should demolish the State Capitol and rebuild it because it is old too, built in 1859,” said Sexton.

Note/Update: A Crossville Chronicle article on the matter is HERE.

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