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Council delays library security vote

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It just seemed too good to be true.

Questioning the validity of the company’s bid, the Watertown City Council tabled hiring a Bronx firm to handle security at Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library.

Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns wondered why a security firm from the Bronx would be interested in providing security for the library here.

They also questioned how Denog Protective Security Services Inc., Bronx, could submit such a low bid of $15.35 per hour when Jess Security Services was the next closest with $19.83 and the highest was $30.62 by ICU Security and Private Investigations.

“It just raises a red flag,” Ms. Burns said.

City Purchasing Manager Amy M. Pastuf also wondered about the bid when she asked about whether the company would be able to hire security guards from so far away and the owner answered he would come up and do the work if he could not find anyone.

“It didn’t ring true,” Ms. Burns said.

“I can understand that,” Ms. Pastuf said, adding her hands were tied because the firm “was the lowest responsible bidder.”

Ms. Burns expressed concern because the library has such a valuable collection of items other than books. She plans to do her own research about the company before council members vote on the bid.

In recent years, library officials have talked about increasing security at the Washington Street facility after having to deal with such major incidents as finding a loaded gun in a restroom, several drug deals, fights between patrons, a man selling urine from a dog for urine tests and numerous property thefts.

During this year’s budget process, council members agreed to pay for additional unarmed security, but not the 65 hours a week that library officials requested. They put $43,000 in the 2013-14 budget to pay for it.

In addition, the library’s board of trustees voted in May to appropriate $25,000 to pay for 10 more security cameras, a keypad lock and staff training.

In other action, the council hired Public Sector HR Consultants LLC to develop an employee handbook and supporting policies for the city. The Glenville firm would be paid $6,500 for the work. City Manager Sharon A. Addison mentioned the project during budget talks this year.

The council also authorized the sale of a variety of Public Works and Parks and Recreation department vehicles and equipment. Anyone interested can view them on Auctions International’s website.

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