Dewey hires consultant for human relations work

Resident says position should have been advertised
March 20, 2017

Story Location:
105 Rodney Ave.
Dewey Beach  Delaware  19971
United States

A member of Dewey Beach’s Investment Committee is crying foul after town officials hired a third-party vendor for human resources-related work because no request for proposals was issued for the work.

“Open competitive bidding makes for good government,” wrote David Moskowitz, investment committee chair, in a March 15 email. “It ensures towns get a fair value price for the service they are purchasing and prevents the risk that taxpayer dollars are misused.”

During its March 11 council meeting, town commissioners approved the hiring of Rehoboth-based Lyons Companies to provide human resources work for the town on an as-needed basis.

According to the proposed contract available on the town’s website, the company would charge from $100 to $125 an hour for various services: For example, Lyons would charge $100 an hour, with a $1,000 cap, to review the town’s medical and dental insurance benefits. It would also charge $125 an hour, with a budget cap of $2,750, for developing job descriptions and an organizational chart. The list of services is a full page.

Mayor Dale Cooke said March 16 the town was not required to open up the position to a competitive bidding process because the work falls under the category of professional services. He said the company will work on an as-needed basis and came as a recommendation from the town’s insurance company.

In his letter, Moskowitz, a chartered financial analyst and public accountant with master’s degree in business administration and industrial relations, said he volunteered his time for free to the town, but never received a response. At worst, he said the town could use the request for proposals to get a better price. He describes the costs as, “somewhere between high to crazy.”

“In comparison with me, they had inferior qualifications,” he wrote. “Then factor in $125/hour vs. free.”

Cooke said he appreciated Moskowitz’s offer, but, he continued, it would be wrong for the town to have a volunteer do the kind of work it’s asking Lyons to do.

“It used to be volunteers who made this town work. Dewey wouldn’t have survived without their help,” Cooke said. “But the town’s residents are expecting more services and that means the town has to be more professional. It’s not a bare-bones operation anymore. People want more.”

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect that the list of services Lyons will provide includes more than the two mentioned in the story and that Moskowitz is a chartered financial analyst.