By Ted AYALA
Glendale City Council approved a series of contracts Tuesday night for the maintenance of city infrastructure and the purchase of equipment for staff.
The first contract approved was for approximately $182,000 for Taser International for the upgrade of the Glendale Police Dept. (GPD) non-lethal weaponry.
Taser is set to phase out its 2003 model X-26 by the end of the year in favor of the newer X-26P. Currently, GPD officers employ the former model. The most notable improvement listed over the soon-to-be-obsolete model is the ability to fire 300 more times than was possible previously.
City Manager Scott Ochoa said that competitive bidding was dispensed with as Taser is a “leader in their field” and their equipment is a “sole-source product.”
“So if we want to stick with Taser, we have to stick with their product,” he said.
Another sole-source contract was awarded to Mitsubishi Electric and Electronics USA, Inc. for maintenance of the elevators at GPD headquarters.
When asked by Mayor Zareh Sinanyan as to why competitive bidding was cast aside, director of Public Works Steve Zurn answered that Mitsubishi works exclusively on its products. It neither sells its products to others, nor does it permit other manufacturers to work on their products.
“We cannot combine with other manufacturers under Mitsubishi,” he said.
Mitsubishi’s policy triggered a rebuke from Councilmember Frank Quintero, who criticized the decision to go with the company in the first place.
“There’s plenty of American manufacturers that produce elevators for the rest of the world,” he said. “We wind up with Mitsubishi and now they have the gall to not let us enter into maintenance contracts with other companies.”
Mayor Sinanyan assured Quintero that council would make a “mental note” of the issue and keep it in mind when it arises again.
Finally, a five-year contract not to exceed $340,000 was awarded to Red Wing Shoes for the purchase of protective footwear for eligible city staff. As with the previous companies, the contract to Red Wing is sole-source.
Ochoa explained that the city had formerly given its employees a stipend to spend on appropriate footwear. The results, he explained, were uneven: some employees would purchase quality shoes, others would buy shoes that failed to meet national safety standards.
“So now we’re going directly to the manufacturer,” he said.
Councilmember Laura Friedman was absent from the council dais this week.