City Council last month awarded a nearly $30,000 contract for a new vendor to design and maintain the city’s website.
AR-70-15 awarded a contract to Arkady Strategic Communications in Roselle Park for “web design, management and maintenance” for 2015 in the amount of $28,800. The resolution was awarded unanimously, 8-0, at the March 9 meeting. It was moved by Councilwoman At-large Joanna Miles and seconded by Councilman At-large Jeremy Mojica, who both ran with James Baker for the At-Large City Council seats last fall with Mayor Samson Steinman. The quartet was elected in November to four-year terms.
Another firm previously handled the city’s website, however, the availability and ability for updates and designers by the firm were extremely limited, and billed the city hourly, according to City Administrator Cherron Rountree.
It’s unclear how much the previous vendor was paid. UPDATE, May 4: Last year, the city paid Tinton Fall-based U.S. Biz Online Computer Consulting about $4,000, according to monthly invoices to the city. It’s unclear how or if the services differ between the two vendors.
The city’s website recently was updated for the first time in probably a decade or more. Rountree said the new site will allow better and up-to-date communication with the public. “This provides for a much more dynamic service with news feeds, emails, updates and much more,” she said in an email.
A review of New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reports shows that the Arkady firm (listed with addresses in Elizabeth and East Newark), was paid a total $46,000 for consulting by the Election Fund of Samson Steinman and Rahway Democrats 2014; about $33,785 for the primary and $38,000 for the General Election. The reports can be found in the following links, preceded by the relevant pages: ($30,400 – full report) ($7,600 – full report), ($21,218 – full report) ($12,569 – full report).
Rountree said she had very little involvement with the campaign and was unable to speak to that but emphasized that the city works hard to ensure that local public contracting laws and regulations are followed. City Council President Bob Bresenhan declined comment.
The public information officer and confidential aide to Mayor Samson Steinman, Jorge Casalins, also was a consultant at Arkady from February 2013 to March 2014 before being hired with the city.