Legal Fee Windfall
“local government spending is the local’s business”
Little Chicago Watch members are collectively researching the city of Chattanooga’s business practices in the award of legal contracts.
We believe that legal contracts have been awarded without the benefit of advertising for Requests for Proposals in accordance with purchasing policies.
An open records request has been filed, and preliminary information collected from other sources.
Welcome to the world of city of Chattanooga outsourced legal work, most is not even advertised for RFQ so all legal firms can compete. You might see Jack Benson Jr. and other friends of the city attorney’s office.
What we know so far:
Item No. 1
The city of Chattanooga attorney’s office has an annual operating budget of $1.2 million, 12 staff attorneys, 12 support staff, and outsources about $400,000 a year to legal friends without the benefit of making the contract opportunity known to the other legal firm through the RFQ or RFP process, referred to as procurement rules. The city of Chattanooga even pays Chambliss Bahner Stophel law firm to attend stormwater board meetings, and to answer questions for council members. The city attorney’s office essentially hands off their work to outsourced firms without advertised competition, or at times keeps the award under the $10,000 threshold so city council approval is not required. The city attorney’s office is also bypassing the purchasing policy that was in effect for years prior, that required advertisement of contract opportunity.
Item No. 2
The City of Chattanooga is mandated by Tennessee Code Annotated to have purchasing policies adopted by City Council. The City of Chattanooga has maintained purchasing policies for at least 15 years. We are compiling the historic purchasing policies to show a long term business practice. Here is the purchasing policy that applies to City contracts for professional services, including legal or attorney services, appraisal, real estate….
Excerpted City of Chattanooga Purchasing Policy for RFP for Professional Services
Click on photo to enlarge, maybe twice, page 27 purchasing polices,