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City Will Not Look for Parking Utility Software Vendors After Council Vote Fails

A resolution to go out to bid for a towing software company failed in a 4-4 stalemate on Wednesday night.

The process of retrieving one's car after it has been towed in Hoboken hasn't changed in many decades.

On Wednesday night, Assistant Business Administrator Stephen Marks explained to the city council that the current process is still done with "paper and pencil" and made the city's case for going out to bid to hire a company that will provide the parking utility with the necessary software to digitize the process.

"It's antiquated," Marks said. "This new system would make it 100 percent digital." 

Instead of going to three places  — city hall, the police station and the tow yard — people would be able to go to the tow yard directly, Marks said, if the software is installed.

A resolution during Wednesday's meeting asked the council to allow the city to use a competitive contracting process rather than a public bidding process, because "the cost of these services will exceed the City’s bid threshold."

"We need a vendor who can get the job done," said Fifth Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham.

The resolution ultimately failed in a 4-4 stalemate after council members Terry Castellano, Beth Mason, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti voted "no."

Andy February 07, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Imagine that, the 4 who can't seem to do anything but fill their own pockets voted "no" on something to help the city and its residents.
recallbethmason February 07, 2013 at 01:03 PM
time to recall beth mason...she is not doing anything productive for the residents of hoboken and is playing political games. if you see her on the street, we should all let her know how we feel. enough is enough.
CaptJackd February 07, 2013 at 01:04 PM
How about a fax machine or email instead? No excuse for the current system. The towing companies use pencil and paper, too--do we need to train them on software and expect them to keep it up?
Eric February 07, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Anyone else think it's funny that Russo would vote against something related to towing cars?
jake shaker February 09, 2013 at 02:37 PM
I think the key here is that the vote was for a no bid contract. That is wrong, and anti competitive. Leaves the door open for corruption, and at the very least, gouging of the city. They were RIGHT to vote it down. Change the system, open it to competitive bidding, open source it.
Scott M. Siegel February 09, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Imagine that. The incompetent minority wants the utility to use paper and pencil and have you go to 3 spots versus one. Shows once again how little they care about the constituents they serve.
Ojo Rojo February 09, 2013 at 07:58 PM
There was no contract being voted upon. The vote was on if the city could engage in a competitive contract bidding process to find a vendor. And if you knew anything about state law, you'd know this is the standard process used when hiring people pursuant to professional services contracts, soft ware vendors and dozens of other types of services. We aren't buying T-shirts here. Factors other than price matter, And when you find an open source vendor that will provide this software for free, you go ahead and tell us Jake. I won't hold my breath on it though.
Scott M. Siegel February 09, 2013 at 09:42 PM
The issue is the fact that this type of software is specialized and proprietary. Here's the verbiage: WHEREAS, under the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-4.1, competitive contracting may be used by local contracting units in lieu of the standard public bidding process for procurement of specialized goods and services where the price exceeds the bid threshold, particularly software; WHEREAS, the City meets the criteria of Local Public Contracts Law N.J.S.A. 40a:11-4.1 which allows the use of a methodology to rank and evaluate proposals received to not only secure the best price but the best service to suit the City’s needs.
Scott M. Siegel February 09, 2013 at 10:19 PM
The competitive contract also involves bidding and is not a no bid. Sometimes bids exceed the threshold but offer something of value in return.Unlike general bids it is highly specific and must comply with pay to play laws. Hoboken has one of the strictest pay to play regs in NJ. This ensures that the taxpayer gets something in return.
Scott M. Siegel February 09, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Here's some good info and link to the subject: EXCEPTIONS Certain types of contracts are specifically exempt from the public bidding process even though the cost or price of the contract exceeds the bid threshold. N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5. Under recently enacted “Anti Pay-to-Play” legislation, participants in non-bid contracts must strictly comply with restrictions on campaign contributions. Professional services contracts, contracts for extraordinary unspecifiable services and contracts made or entered into with a governmental entity are three of the most common exceptions to public bidding. See N.J.S.A. 40A:11-2, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5 and N.J.A.C. 5:34-2.1 et seq. Another less common but essential exception to public bidding is for emergency contracts. Any contract may be negotiated or awarded without public advertising for bids and bidding, notwithstanding that the contract cost or price will exceed the bid threshold, when an emergency affecting the public health, safety or welfare requires the immediate delivery of goods or the performance of services. N.J.S.A. 40A:11-6. There are 33 other specific exceptions to public bidding provided by the LPCL. N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1). http://www.njslom.org/magart0607_pg34.html
CaptJackd February 09, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Wonder how many residents are towed vs. out-of-towners. 3 spots + competition over one mile sq + monopoly is a win for residents. Incompetent HPU is a liability that software won't fix. DaVinci used pencil and paper. The problem isn't the tools, it's the 'tools'.
Ojo Rojo February 10, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Incompetent? Seems like the HPU has gone a long way since reformers took over city hall. They no longer lose millions in quarters. They have put much of the permit ordering system online for people smart enough to know how to use a computer and avoid the lines over at the HPU and they are the ones trying to update their systems so people no longer have to go to multiple places to get their towed cars. They have computerized many of their systems creating an information trail that can be tracked and audited. And who is stopping them w/ their progress? The same incompetent tools that want to go back to the days of the past when things were so screwed up at the HPU that nobody noticed any missing quarters or certain CC members "cleared up" up that situation without really doing anything. Glad the FBI cleared up that situation for real and very glad reformers are fixing the HPU so things like that can never happen again.
CaptJackd February 11, 2013 at 02:42 AM
You need to get your nose down in there and take a whiff. Ever use those new systems?

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