Chattanooga City Council derails temporary staffing vote

Chattanooga City Council derails temporary staffing vote

October 18th, 2017 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

The Chattanooga City Council discusses agenda items for its Oct. 17 voting session.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The Chattanooga City Council has sidestepped an up or down vote to hire a temporary staffing company it set aside three weeks ago.

The council has circled around whether to include MSi Workforce Solutions in a $1.8 million blanket contract for short-term work assignments, after ditching the company when it first considered a $1.8 million dual blanket temporary staffing contract. The other vendor, Outsource Staffing, was approved.

Council members have discussed a number of concerns about MSi since then, including the amount of time the company has been in business and personal bankruptcies filed by company principals J. Marty and Donna Christian Lowe.

Tuesday night, Councilman Chip Henderson motioned to vote on the reconsideration, clarifying the motion was "for discussion purposes only." The motion died, with no discussion, when no other council member offered to second Henderson's motion.

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After the meeting, Henderson said he would have voted against the measure, citing concerns over the company's business experience.

While Lowe cites many years in human resources experience, the company itself has only been around for about a year.

"While the city did not necessarily rank their recommendations highly based on experience, it's important to me," Henderson said. "A proven track record is important."

Maura Sullivan, Chattanooga's chief operating officer, stands by the MSi recommendation to the council.

"We're always looking to have great local vendors and I hate that this became such a public event, because I don't want any local vendors to ever be discouraged from doing business with the city," Sullivan said. "There's great businesses that just need a leg up, and doing business with the city gives them that."

Dan Gilmore, attorney for MSi, said the company had no comment.

In other business, the council voted 9-0 to formally urge the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Chattanooga State Community College to not participate in a statewide outsourcing program for facility services.

The council also voted 7-2 in favor of a 15-year tax break for a developer to renovate the Bayberry Apartments in East Chattanooga.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@timesfreepress.com.

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