Allegations by former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano that Honolulu violated procurement law are “so obviously political, it’s not even funny,” city spokesman Bill Brennan told reporters at Honolulu Hale Thursday afternoon. The mayor did not attend the press conference.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann had called a press conference to respond to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser about the city possibly awarding design contracts — including some related to the Honolulu rail project — without following proper bidding procedures.
The original complaint, filed with the state attorney general’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office two weeks ago on behalf of Cayetano and others, claims the city did not negotiate with the top-ranked bidder in each case. But city spokesman Bill Brennan said this was untrue. Bidders are listed on the city’s website in alphabetical order, not in ranking order, which City Budget Director and Chief Procurement Officer Rix Maurer said might have caused confusion.
The complaint also claimed that the three-bidder requirement to create a competitive environment was waived in several instances. Brennan said procurement rules allow the awarding of contracts when less than three qualified people or organizations submit proposals.
An audit in 2009 found that all three rail transit contracts in question complied with procurement requirements. Brennan confirmed that procurement records are public information and available for inspection.