Monday, October 12, 2009

How Does Fitz Hill Get All These Jobs?

Today's TimesDaily informs us that renovations of the former License Commissioner's office in the Lauderdale County Courthouse are going well, at least according to County Administrator Jenoice Bevis. We're glad that representatives of the local press were able to contact Ms. Bevis, who is normally away from her desk when anyone from our blogging group attempts to speak with her; instead we are usually at the mercy of young females who sound as if they have not yet attained voting age and think the Queen's English is a girl band featuring Cheryl Cole.

Alas, we digress. Some time ago our blogger friend Matt Osborne (Osborne Ink) made us aware of the role of Fitz Hill and his partner in the renovations of the Royal Avenue pool. Now Mr. Hill is in charge of the ongoing renovations to the courthouse. Obviously Hill's firm must do excellent work at competitive prices.

Competitive prices? Actually architectural services are exempt from state bid laws--so how did Mr. Hill attain his current position as architect in charge of these long-anticipated renovations? Our answer should lie in the minutes of past Lauderdale County Commission meetings.

Well, good luck there; we do find in July that Commissioners Larry Irons and Rhea Tays Fulmer presented Fitz Hill's name to the commission, there was discussion, and Hill soon became the unanimous choice for this plum project. Unfortunately, the commission minutes do not relate the nature of the discussion. Did someone initially oppose Hill? Were other architects available for the job? Was Hill the most viable candidate both in quality and value for money? Unless a faithful reader was at the meeting and wishes to report to us, we may never discover the answer to those questions.

Of course no one would ever suggest that Fitz Hill often receives these county and city contracts because he's the brother of Bob Hill Jr., UNA lobbyist and former state senator who proudly announces he knows where the bodies are buried. No, I'm sure that thought would never cross anyone's mind.

Speaking of: Don't miss Matt Osborne's columns in the Huffington Post. Excellent and insightful work!