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Siesta Key Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 5 years ago

Sarasota County Commission approves new software contract

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

After about $987,000 in work orders, 15 months of contract time and two lawsuits, county commissioners voted June 5 to terminate its contract with EnerGov, the software company hired to upgrade the county’s online building department system.

Commissioners approved a $2.6 million contract with CSDC Systems Inc. Dec. 4 and will pay CSDC $200,000 on top of that to settle an ongoing lawsuit with the firm.

The two moves are the latest actions in nearly a decade of legal issues in the purchasing department surrounding CSDC’s IT software, called Amanda.

The county signed a contract with CSDC to implement Amanda in 2003, but did not use a formal bidding process. Instead, it used a process called piggybacking, which prompted a lawsuit from two of CSDC’s competitors shortly after. Five years and several appeals later, a court ruled the CSDC contract void; thus terminating the lawsuit.

CSDC claimed copyright infringement when the county continued to use Amanda after the contract had been nullified. The Dec. 4 settlement resolved the legal dispute to avoid further court costs, according to a memo from County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to commissioners.

“We all felt comfortable with the settlement,” said County Commissioner Joe Barbetta.

The new CSDC contract sets a 16-month timeframe for project competition, which will re-brand the building department site and improve its efficiency, according to a staff report prepared by County Building Official Greg Yantorno.

EnerGov and county staff delayed the launch of its system, which later had operating issues, due to planning errors made by the contractor, according to Yantorno’s report.

Barbetta said the settlement with CSDC was in part to expedite implementation of the new system.

“We had to get some system in place, and Amanda is the preferred system,” Barbetta said.

The county will pay $75,000 of the settlement, and its insurance carrier will shoulder the remainder.

Now that EnerGov’s contract has been terminated and CSDC has been hired in its place, the county legal team will pursue nearly $1 million it paid out to EnerGov.

Legal legacy
June 2003 — CSDC was hired to implement a new software system, Amanda, via a no-bid piggybacking process.

August 2003 — Competitors of CSDC sued the county for violating its purchasing policy.

September 2008 — Courts ruled in favor of competitors and nullified the contract, but didn’t force the county to remove Amanda; the county continued to use Amanda. CSDC filed a lawsuit against the county for using its system.

June 2010 — The county chose Energov instead of CSDC for comparable software. It took advantage of two extensions and paid $1 million, which ultimately provided no result.

June 2012 — The county terminated the EnerGov contract.

December 2012 — The county settled with CSDC for $200,000; approved a new $2.6 million contract with the firm to update the Amanda system.

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