Honolulu Ethics Panel Investigating Fire-EMS Merger Contract

Honolulu Ethics Panel Investigating Fire-EMS Merger Contract.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission has begun an investigation into the bid process used to select a consultant back in 2010 to help assist with the merger of the Honolulu Fire Department and the Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

The consultants/bidders were ranked by a matrix scoring system, and the allegation has been made that scores were changed so that Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI), an affiliate of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, would receive the award. The total amount paid was $175,000.

The ethics complaint claims Fire Chief Kenneth Silva’s relationship with the IAFC may have played a role in what transpired.

Three evaluators were tasked with ranking the bidders by a numerical score. The scores were then tabulated. EMS Chief Patty Dukes gave Ralph Anderson and Associates 31 points, ECSI 26 points, and the other bidders 25 points.

Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Perkins gave ESCI 38 points and Ralph Anderson 35 points.

The third evaluation came from attorney Paul Au, from the city’s HR department. Au gave both companies 39 points. Based on those scores, Ralph Anderson appeared to have won, 105 to 103.

A few days later, Au was allegedly given his scoring sheet back and asked to pick between ESCI (supported by Chief Perkins) and Ralph Anderson (supported by Chief Duke). He downgraded Ralph Anderson to 36 points, giving Emergency Services Consulting International just enough to win, 103-102.

The article has the actual scoring matrixes used by the parties, and does a good job of laying out the issues.

 

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer’s Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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