WILKES-BARRE – A lengthy discussion Tuesday over renewing a $100,000 annual contract with Hawkeye Security Solutions to monitor cameras at city parking garages turned out to be all for naught after the parking authority's executive director realized he misread the end date of the contract.
Tom Torbik said he believed the contract expired at the end of December, only to realize after the authority's board meeting he had made a mistake. The contract does not expire until November 2013.
Torbik said the error was a simple miscalculation on his part. He was in the process of contacting board members to advise them of the error.
The mistake voids a vote taken by the authority's board, which had decided not to pursue a new contract with Hawkeye. That decision was not based on any dissatisfaction with Hawkeye, but solely because no one from the non-profit group had contacted the authority about renewing a three-year-contract erroneously thought to expire at the end of the month, authority members said.
The authority has paid Hawkeye $100,000 a year for each of the last three years to monitor and maintain cameras in the parking lots and garages operated by the authority.
At Torbik's suggestion, the board voted to continue making the monthly payments, but it would pay the money directly to the city instead of Hawkeye. The city could use the funds as it saw fit.
Torbik said the payment was a good-faith measure on part of the authority to help the city through the difficult financial situation it's facing.
Murray Ufberg, the authority's solicitor, told board members he would write the city a letter, seeking its assurance that the cameras would continue to be monitored.
The letter will make it clear that, although they don't have a contract, the city will continue to monitor the equipment, Ufberg said.
Contacted after the meeting, Ufberg said he realized the entire discussion was premature after taking a closer look at the contract and realizing it had not yet expired.