State Scraps Questionable Vehicle Maintenance Contract

(Story originally created June 10, 2013)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A questionable state contract, first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, is being scrapped.

That's what the Haslam administration told lawmakers Monday afternoon.

The contract is a $2 million deal to outsource the maintenance of state vehicles.

When it was put up for bids two years ago, only one company -- Bridgestone/Firestone -- even bothered to bid.

"That's something that's been on our radar screen for awhile and, again, I think the idea is to infuse more competition to get more suppliers into the mix," procurement officer Mike Perry told the legislature's Fiscal Review Committee.

Peny admitted that the Department of General Service's own consultants had looked at the vehicle maintenance contract and, like our investigation, those consultants had determined that taxpayers might not be getting the best price.

As our investigation noted, the original contract was structured so that only full-service facilities with a statewide presence could bid.

Pen'y told lawmakers that the state will now divide the contract up into regions which brought praise from one veteran lawmaker.

"So when you do it in a geographic area it's going to let the smaller guys have a chance," said Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta.

"You still may be some large guys be successful but it's going to open the door for some smaller vendors. And I think when you see that you'll see a savings."

The Fiscal Review Committee and its staff continue to look into some of the contracts uncovered by our investigation.

Lawmakers expect to have a lot more questions at their next meeting.

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