Councilman pushes for revised legal publishing solicitation
Bidders on a Law Department request for proposal to publish the City Charter, rules and laws in a format more accessible to the public will not be able to derive revenue from that official online publication following revisions to the R.F.P. advocated by Councilman Ben Kallos.
For Kallos, who along with Councilman Brad Lander spearheaded the legislation requiring online publication of the laws, the episode also illustrates the need for more transparency around requests for proposals, as he is involved in a separate effort to make City Record notices more accessible as part of a partnership with government and technology advocacy groups.
Kallos obtained a copy from the Law Department after learning about it during a March preliminary budget hearing, and said he was struck by a paragraph that stated the contractor could "derive revenue" from selling the official version of the city rules.
"There is no way to honor what the law says in plain language if you're trying to make money off of it," he said. "The original R.F.P. was invalid on its face because anyone who would say they could make money was doing something wrong.""When I got it, I was very disappointed ... because it seemed like the R.F.P. was just going to recreate the exact same system we previously had which made me really angry because I put so much time into passing a law and the R.F.P. was disregarding it," Kallos said.