Four people voted against renewing the contract. Councilmembers Jarvis Johnson, Jolanda Jones, Wanda Adams and Melissa Noriega cited a lack of transparency in the contract process. Noriega, along with the others, also raised concerns about the lack of minority owned business participation.
"Some of our sins are coming home to roost. We have had problems over a long period of time with our MWBE programs — I don't like how they're administered, I don't feel like we do as good a job of increasing capacity when the purpose of them is to increase capacity in the minority community. We are in a time of economic downturn, and people want contracts."
About a dozen tow companies hold the contract with the city. Councilmember Jarvis Johnson says the results of SafeClear are good. But he thinks the city is sending the wrong message to Houston vendors.
"I'm fearful that we are, by simply extending a contract without having any real merit as to why we're extending the contract, we as a city could possibly be losing value, we could be losing additional revenue, we could — we are not looking fully at the contract."
Despite the objections raised, the mayor and remaining 10 councilmembers approved the contract renewal, authorizing the SafeClear program for another five years.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.