Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Return to Sender: McAllen scuttles private jail bid without opening it

The McAllen Monitor reported Monday ("McAllen City Commission rejects sole bid for private jail," Sept. 23) that the City of McAllen will not move forward with a private prison project hatched in secret with the collusion of the local newspaper to keep things mum. Once the public found out about it, opposition quickly grew and the city commission now has backed off. Reported the Monitor:
The City Commission effectively killed McAllen’s private jail project Monday night, unanimously voting to reject GEO Group’s proposal without opening the hefty FedEx box.
McAllen started soliciting proposals for a privately operated jail, which would hold inmates under the city’s contract with the U.S. Marshals Service, during July. Two months later, only Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group replied.
Police Chief Victor Rodriguez advised against opening the lone proposal.

“Given the discussion and debate we’ve had over the last few weeks on this, it’s my recommendation that we reject the single offer,” Rodriguez said, adding that if the Commission desired, the city could explore alternatives and seek new proposals later. That reversed an earlier recommendation from the city Purchasing Department.

If opened, the proposal would have become public, which weighed on the Commission’s decision. The Monitor and others had requested the document.
That last paragraph cracked me up! It's one thing to decline GEO's offer, but what might have been in the RFP response so embarrassing to city government that they don't even open their mail? Alas, we'll never know. Glad the project went down the tubes, though.

Even so, this may not be the last we hear of the idea. A local TV station reported that McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez "told Action 4 News that he is for the prison and just wants more options."

MORE: From Texas Prison Bidness.

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