Business Owners Confront Council: Can't My Local Company Get This Contract?

Council votes to limit Office Depot contract extension in order to look into considering local vendors

Published : Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | 5:52 AM

Perhaps you can’t fight City Hall. But maybe you can join them.

The item was buried deep in Monday evening’s consent calendar for the City Council meeting — action items that generally get voted on in a “sweep” motion, save for any Councilmember wishing to question them.

This one was to authorize an increase to the City’s contract with Office Depot, Inc. (formerly Office Max) by $490,000 for a total amount not-to-exceed $1,240,000 for the purchase of office-related supplies.

The original contract had been approved in August of 2015, to provide citywide, office-related supplies in an amount not-to-exceed $375,000 for a period of one year, or until the funds have been expended, with a one-year optional extension subject to approval by the City Manager for the same price, terms, and conditions, for a not-to-exceed amount of $750,000.

In June 2016, the previously approved one-year extension was awarded by the City Manager, which increased the contract amount to $750,000 and extended the date to June 30, 2017. According to a staff report, and based on previous materials and supplies ordered by the City from this vendor, a new and second contract extension was recommended to take the contract through June 30, 2018.

And then Karl Percell II, owner of Pasadena-based SupplyMates, stood up and told the Council his company could match the volume and price of the Office Depot contract, and asked to be considered.

And then another local business owner posed the same question.

And then the City Council stopped what usually is a routine rite.

Acting on a suggestion by Councilmember John Kennedy, they tabled the original motion and agreed, as Mayor Terry Tornek put it, “to investigate the opportunity for the city to buy local.” In other words, to give small local companies like SupplyMates and others a chance to bid on the $1 million-plus contract.

Then, per Councilmember Victor Gordo’s recommendation, the council voted to give Office Depot only a 60-day extension on the three year-contract, while they took another look at the contract and local vendors.

“This is why I always pull items like these out of the consent calendar,” said Councilmember Tyron Hampton, who joined the council in unanimously approving the motion.

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