Mayor Prepares 'Bad-Boy Law'

Article excerpt

Byline: David DeCamp, Times-Union staff writer

Mayor John Delaney is preparing a proposed law to bar companies that engage in bid-rigging or bad faith lawsuits from winning contracts from Jacksonville City Hall.

Coming on the heels of utility contractors' suit over minority business goals, Delaney said city attorneys are reviewing what the city can do to tighten its law. Like state government, City Hall now can bar a company or person from winning a contract if they have been convicted of a crime against a public entity within three years.

However, Delaney said he would like businesses barred if they have been involved in civil rights violations, bid corruption, illegal collusion or filed lawsuits in bad faith against City Hall -- a charge that could be difficult to prove.

The mayor noted he has no evidence that any member of the Utility Contractors Association of North Florida, which sued the city, would fall into the new categories. But the legal fight feeds the mayor's intentions.

"If you're a business, would you hire someone who's in the act of suing you? No one in the private sector would do that," Delaney said.

Paul McCormick, association spokesman, said, "I'm reminded of the quotation, innocent until proven . . ."

So-called "bad boy laws" have long existed on the federal and state levels, said John Pavlick, a Washington attorney who practices procurement law. …