Council in battle with mayor on insurance brokers

It’s been three years, and the city has the same insurance brokers.

The broker handling liability insurance is Dunn Inc., while Sims Agency provides service for workers’ compensation.

Now, City Council wants to know why Mayor Gabriel J. Campana isn’t permitting a request for proposals for brokerage firms to move ahead this fall.

Campana maintains he is taking “politics” out of the insurance broker selection process and said council has over-stepped its legislative authority by battling him on the issue.

However, Steven W. Cappelli has an executive-level position with Dunn Insurance. Cappelli is a former city mayor and the new borough manager of South Williamsport. He was a state representative and is chairman of the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority.

“Outside businesses trying to manipulate a fair and open process of picking brokers is not in the best interest of taxpayers,” said Councilwoman Liz Miele, chairwoman of council’s finance committee.

“We should be able to bring the brokers in,” said Councilman Randall J. Allison, vice president of council.

Campana promised a request for proposals process will be done next year. Council believes brokers should be able to come in and answer questions so that it can evaluate issues with current providers and others.

“I’m tired of it,” Council President Jonathan Williamson said of the mayor’s decision to spend the past three years halting a process that is supposed to be open and transparent.

Attorney Jill Nagy, the city insurance consultant, is expected at the next council meeting. She was at prior finance committee meetings when the request for proposals for brokerage firms was to be issued.

Nagy’s salary is $1,000 a month, according to William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director.

The potential exists for the city to have spent more on consulting over the years than it could have saved had there been a fair, open and transparent process to issue request for proposals, according to Williamson.

“Williamsport has to have fair and open processes for all contracts,” Councilman Derek Slaughter said.

“This should not be an issue,” he said. “Council is right to insist on this.”

Slaughter noted how Miele, as chair of finance committee, has worked to create a fair request for proposal process to choose the city’s next insurance broker.

“The administration is wrong to try and sabotage the efforts of council on this matter,” Slaughter said. “The mayor has forced our hand on this, therefore council will go forward without his participation. He has given us no viable choice.”

When asked about that, Miele said the finance committee will review request for proposal coming from council not the administration and believes it has legal standing.