The City of Indianapolis’ Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County council have settled a lawsuit over a Vision Fleet contract to lease 425 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The council filed the lawsuit in June, stating that the mayor didn’t follow the city’s procurement policies in signing the contract without council approval.
The agreement means the city will continue the Vision Fleet program on the 212 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles already deployed in the fleet, but that no new vehicles will be added. Meanwhile, the city will put out a new competitive contract similar to the current contract, with additional protections and oversight.
"Both parties recognize that each side has legitimate opposing interpretations of state and municipal bidding laws and procedures," a joint statement by Ballard and City-County Council President Maggie Lewis stated. "Rather than press to have our legal arguments determined by a court, however, all parties feel it is in the best interest of taxpayers to compromise."
Vision Fleet will continue to provide management services for the vehicles in the fleet until the new contract is awarded. Vision Fleet CEO Michael Brylawski said the request for proposal (RFP) for the new contract was issued on Sept. 2, and although he hadn’t reviewed it yet when he spoke to Government Fleet, he expects Vision Fleet will compete.
While rebidding a contract is not an ideal situation, Brylawski said he does see some potential benefits. The contract winner would have more direct engagement with the police department and could potentially expand the program to more vehicles.
The new RFP is for the entire contract, not just for the remaining vehicles that haven’t been replaced with electric or plug-in vehicles, Brylawski said. If Vision Fleet doesn’t win the contract, the company will be reimbursed for its vehicles and other capital investments, and the contract winner will roll out a full program.