CSU No-Bid Contract Questioned

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting
that a Georgia-based labor consultant earned $4,000 a day while
working for the California State University system under a no-bid
contract that violated state procurement laws.¼

Three CSU employees, including two labor lawyers for the system,
say they were fired this year for questioning the deal with C. Robert Barnes, a former director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Barnes has been paid nearly $2.5 million since November 2005 representing the university in labor negotiations, the newspaper said.

State agencies are allowed to award contracts without putting them out to bid only when in emergencies, when the hired contractor provides services that can't be obtained elsewhere and when a
contract's value is less than $50,000.

CSU's first contract with Barnes fell under the $50,000 threshold, but three extensions granted since then were worth between $500,000 and $1.3 million, according to the Chronicle.

CSU officials, including Chancellor Charles Reed, described Barnes as uniquely qualified to help the system with labor relations, but acknowledged in memos that they failed to provide a written explanation for why they decided not to solicit bids from other consultants.

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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