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Streetlight contract dispute could cause problems down the road

Most people assume that if there's any one place that has it together when it comes to the law it is Washington, D.C. But a recent contract dispute regarding streetlight management has people in Florida worried that a similar problem could occur in their hometowns too.

In what began as a contract dispute between firms over who would maintain the city's street, bridge, sign and trail lights, has snowballed into a possibly bigger problem. If a contract is not established by the end of October, who will conduct the maintenance on the city's lights?

The answer seems to be somewhere within the ongoing contract disputes between the city and the two firms competing for business with the city. According to reports, the dispute began when the city chose M.C. Dean Inc. back in July of this year as its streetlight contractor. The competing company Citelum, who also placed a bid for the contract, quickly filed a protest.

In September of this year, the District Department of Transportation issued what it called a Determination and Finding in favor of M.C. Dean, justifying the awarding of the contract while the protest was ongoing. Citelum immediately appealed stating that the decision was a "calculated action" in an effort to deny Citelum's right to protest.

At stake is a $100 million contract which could be a big deal for either company. At present, the District Department of Transportation has withdrawn its Determination and Finding, giving M.C. Dean a 30-day temporary contract with the city. City officials are worried however because as of yet, there is no long-term streetlight agreement, and in a city with some 70,000 lights to maintain, a contract dispute such as this could red light the city for quite some time.

Source: Washington Business Journal, "Big stakes, big questions in $100M D.C. streetlight contract dispute," Michael Neilbauer, Oct. 2, 2012

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