In a letter dated April 25, 2012 and received this week, the Department of Health responded to a March 21, 2012 post regarding a DOH contract with Healthy Hawaii Coalition, controlled by Sen. Mike Gabbard and his daughter, Honolulu City Council member and Congressional candidate, Tulsi Gabbard (“Gabbards get no-bid contract from Dept. of Health“).
The DOH letter, signed by Gary Gill, deputy director for environmental health administration, explains that although the contract was posted on a State Ethics Commission web site usually reserved for nonbid contracts awarded to state employees pursuant to Section 84-15(a) HRS.
§84-15 Contracts. (a) A state agency shall not enter into any contract to procure or dispose of goods or services, or for construction, with a legislator, an employee, or a business in which a legislator or an employee has a controlling interest, involving services or property of a value in excess of $10,000 unless:
(1) The contract is awarded by competitive sealed bidding pursuant to section 103D-302;
(2) The contract is awarded by competitive sealed proposal pursuant to section 103D-303; or
(3) The agency posts a notice of its intent to award the contract and files a copy of the notice with the state ethics commission at least ten days before the contract is awarded. [emphasis added]
However, Gill’s letter explains the listing with the Ethics Commission was only done out of an abundance of caution and was not required.
The contract was actually awarded via a Request for Proposals, “otherwise known as a request for competitive sealed proposals.”
According to Alison Riggs, the program director of Healthy Hawaii Coalition, the group is not required to file with the Attorney General as a charitable organization because it normally receives less than $25,000 in annual contributions and doesn’t pay any “professional solicitor or fundraising counsel.”
Further, the letter states that the contract is federally funded, so that Sen. Gabbard has “no direct influence” over the program budget, “even with the Senator chairing the Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment.”
In any case, you can read the full letter here, or via the link at the beginning of this entry.