No-Bid Contract for Pines Outsourcing Goes to Favored Contractor

The founder of the private firm set to receive a controversial, no-bid outsourcing contract in the City of Pembroke Pines has a long history of raking in millions of dollars in business from Broward's second-largest city.

St. Augustine-based Facility Contract Services LLC. was founded by Shawn Hiester, who once owned Capri Industries, a firm that has earned at least $9.3 million doing electrical projects for Pembroke Pines.

Major Capri projects include a $4 million gig installing electrical service, phones, and data systems for the Pines Academic Village, which houses a charter high school and Broward College campus. Capri provided similar services, to the tune of $3.4 million, for the senior apartments at the Howard C. Forman Health Campus.

It's unclear how much Facility Contract Services will earn, now that it's set to employ about 200 city workers who handle tasks from accounting to zoning, under an outsourcing plan.

Some workers have already received letters saying they will be laid off or will soon be employed by Facility Contract Services. City leaders have not revealed the amount of the contract or any written terms. The decision to outsource the jobs was made at a private meeting in May.

Some workers have been told that they will keep their current salaries for six months before their pay will be reevaluated, says Jim Silvernale, spokesman for the local chapter of the Federation of Public Employees.

Union reps are scheduled to meet with city leaders this afternoon to try to hammer out a way to save more jobs.

Meanwhile, many wonder: How did Hiester's firm win the outsourcing contract without submitting a bid and without a public meeting?

"There's something smelly here," says Silvernale.

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