The latest Detroit Fire Department story by WJBK-TV’s Charlie LeDuff has the reporter soaking his feet in a container of dirty water at the site of a burned out home. It’s part of the theatrics we’ve come to expect as LeDuff shows his disdain for one of hundreds of pairs of new fire boots purchased by the City of Detroit. LeDuff makes the case that the boots aren’t very good and that officials paid $12 more per pair than the low bidder.
As usual, Detroit officials follow the same script they always have and refuse to talk to the reporter about his story and answer questions about how taxpayer money was spent. Remember how well that tactic worked for them during the dust up about the paramedic who faced internal charges after giving away a blanket to an elderly man who was burned out of his home?
Now we’ve chronicled leaking fire trucks, missing money, cutbacks, feces bubbling out of the floors of the firehouses and no toilet paper. Now this week’s outrage is the new fire boots.
Now while they are fire certified, fire officials tell us that the new boots aren’t even the ones they agreed to buy this past summer. The new boots are flimsy. They don’t fit. They don’t have support and nails go through the bottoms. Nevertheless, we paid top dollar. Why?
In July, the City of Detroit accepted bids for a $188,000 contract to purchase fire boots. Now the low bid was $106 per pair. But the city went with the high bidder who was asking $118 a pair. Why? Because that company is a Detroit-based contractor, which is allowed to charge more by city ordinance.
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