Mayoral candidate Cyndi Lamm said she would bring additional transparency to the mayor's office in response to news that energy service companies, known as ESCOs, can legally bypass the city's open bid process.
State law does not require Schneider Electric, an ESCO that has the contract for the city's LED streetlight conversion project, to use the city bid process in selecting subcontractors.
"There is no doubt in my mind that more transparency is needed at city hall," Lamm said in a news release.
On June 4, Lamm voted no on the city's ESCO agreement to do the LED conversion all at once, saying her primary concern was that the $12.2 million cost of the project was being borrowed from city reserve funds.
“Even before that, I was concerned with the proposed lack of transparency of this mayor's proposed process,” Lamm said in a news release.
When the use of ESCOs was originally presented to the City Council by Mayor Chris Beutler, it provided that the mayor alone could execute ESCO agreements without further council oversight. Lamm worked to amend the legislation so the mayor’s office would have to present individual ESCO projects to the City Council before they could be finalized.
“In amending the process, I expected that the council would receive full disclosure from this mayor about the Nebraska law surrounding municipal use of ESCOs, including information that when used, the energy services company would be able to bypass the city’s open bid process," Lamm said.
Lamm has learned the project will involve many Lincoln-based employees.
She said she would have asked additional questions about the bid process if the ability to bypass the city process had been disclosed by the mayor's office.
Lamm said as mayor she would "be committed to true transparency, providing full disclosure when working with businesses, taxpayers and the City Council.”