Suffolk council votes against allowing new councilman to bid on $157,000 city landscaping contract

SUFFOLK, VA. (WAVY) – A newly-elected Suffolk Councilman is unable to make a sealed offer to reclaim a $ 157,000 lawn maintenance contract previously signed with the city.

As 10 On Your Side reported last week, when LeOtis Williams City Council won his seat, the Suffolk City Purchasing Department sent him a notice in January that the contract would not be renewed due to potential conflicts of interest in awarding a city contract to a seated city council.

Williams reached out to the Virginia Advisory Board on Conflicts of Interest and Ethics, which indicated that the council must pass a resolution in support of the treaty in order for Williams to bid on the treaty. That resolution would have to say that Williams, who has the contract, would be in the best interests of the city’s taxpayers.

Suffolk City Council is trading a $ 157,000 landscaping contract for a $ 15,000 seat on the city council

But on Wednesday, Williams City Council members closed the door to that opportunity.

Councilors Roger Fawcett, Donald Goldberg and Timothy Johnson voted against allowing Williams to bid on the town contract. Mayor Mike Duman and Alderman Lue Ward voted for Williams. Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett abstained.

So Williams lost the chance of the contract 3-2 when a member abstained. Williams was not allowed to vote.

Suffolk City Council, LeOtis Williams, is unable to make a sealed offer to reclaim a $ 157,000 turf deal with the city. Not extended if the contract is selected. Mayor Duman & Lue Ward voted for him to bid. Fawcett, Johnson and Goldberg voted no. Vice Mayor Bennett abstained. @WAVY_News

– Andy Fox (@AndyFoxWAVY) February 4, 2021

Williams’ business, LW’s Lawn Service, was paid $ 157,000 by the city to design several urban properties, including Suffolk City Hall, the Riddicks Folley area next door at the Suffolk Visitors Center, and the pavilion. The company also looks after 12 other townhouses and some cemeteries.

Last week, Williams said at a press conference that losing this significant contract could mean his employees lose their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A group of Williams’ workers protested outside Suffolk Town Hall on the Wednesday before the council meeting.

They said they were calling on Suffolk City Council to save their jobs and allow Williams to bid on the contract.

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