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Wayne County Jail food contract questioned

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DETROIT – Wayne County is moving forward with budget cuts as a way to become fiscally sound, but some of the county's consistent management problems continue to crop up, even with a new executive team.

One of the most vexing problems Wayne County faces is its jails.

The Warren Evans administration has been working on this, but a bidding process for the food contract has left some in the county government saying the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The county annually spends nearly $5 million feeding inmates.  The current contract is with Canteen Correctional Services of Van Buren Township.

The Evans administration chose CBM Managed Services out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to take it over. It's working with Sun Valley Foods in Detroit as a sub-contractor.

These kinds of bids have been controversial in recent years.

Cantten Vice President Steve O'Keefe sent a lengthy protest letter to the Evans administration after losing the bid.

"All we want is a fair process," said O'Keefe.

The letter cited numerous instances where they claim the CBM contract was improperly chosen.

CBM was able to undercut Canteen's bid by making up its own menu, not the one the county requested.

The county also requested that no pork be served, yet O'Keefe's letter shows pork listed on the CBM bid.

"Are they getting separate special treatment here?" asked O'Keefe. "It sure seems like it. As the incumbent, we've done a really good job over the past five years, saved the county a lot of money. We really should be getting the same treatment that some out of town company is getting."

The Evans administration said Friday, "We stand by our procurement process and are unmoved by claims of a company who was an unsuccessful bidder."


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