Reversing an earlier statement, city Procurement Commissioner William Gamble yesterday said there would not be a decision this week on who will be awarded a controversial airport contract worth $50 million over the next four years.
On Monday, Gamble said the winning bidder for the deal, which covers maintenance of most facilities at Philadelphia International Airport, would be announced today. The decision had already been made, he said.
But in an interview yesterday, Gamble said that when he spoke on Monday he was unaware of certain developments involving the contract because his deputy commissioner, Barbara E. Evans, had been on vacation.
"There were some things that didn't take place," Gamble said. "There are issues that need to be resolved."
Asked whether those issues concerned reaching goals for minority participation - a matter of past dispute with this contract - he declined to comment.
Two firms are competing for the work. One, Elliott-Lewis Corp., which held the contract for 11 years, submitted a $14.9 million bid, which is $2.3 million less than its rival's.
"I'm sure procurement has its reasons for not announcing the award since there is over $2 million in savings to be realized under our new contract," Jim Gentile, an Elliott-Lewis executive, said yesterday. "Our company remains prepared to start on Oct. 1 as originally required."
The company's rival is Philadelphia Airport Services, which is trying to hold on to work it has been doing at the airport since 2001. Linc Facility Services, the Houston-based parent company of Philadelphia Airport Services, also has maintenance contracts at airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Newark, N.J.
Gamble did not indicate when a decision would be made public, except to say that a deal would be in place before the current contract expires on Sept. 30.
He also said the current contract would not be extended past that time.
The airport maintenance contract caused controversy two years ago, when Philadelphia Airport Services tried to award Mayor Street's brother, T. Milton Street Sr., a $1.2 million deal to oversee the baggage-conveyor systems. The mayor quashed the contract. But it was learned that the company also paid Milton Street $30,000 a month in consulting fees.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press
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