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Ex-worker denies favoring McKees Rocks firetruck maker for Pittsburgh contract

By Margaret Harding and Jeremy Boren
Saturday, June 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A member of the committee that analyzed bids to supply Pittsburgh with firetrucks previously worked for the company that won the contract.

Alan Hausman, the fire bureau's logistics manager, acknowledged he worked for Keystone Fire Apparatus in McKees Rocks for three years in the late 1990s.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss said he learned on Friday that Hausman previously worked for three manufacturers, including Keystone.

“He's going to have to be removed from the committees,” Huss said, citing the potential for a conflict of interest.

Fire Chief Darryl Jones put Hausman on the four-member apparatus committee that evaluated bids from Keystone and Precision Fire Apparatus of Missouri. Jones hired Hausman in 2007.

“He's a technical adviser,” Jones said. “I asked him to participate because of his experience.”

Hausman said he showed no favoritism to his former employer. He said Jones was aware of his time with Keystone.

“It was on my résumé that I turned in when I interviewed for the job with the city,” Hausman said. “These people knew me, so they know what I've done.”

Keystone's bid was not the lowest, but it beat one from Precision Fire Apparatus because Precision's bid contained 64 “discrepancies” that deviated from the city's specifications, Jones said. An April 30, 2012, letter from the apparatus committee — signed by Hausman, Assistant Chief Thomas Cook, Deputy Chief Frank Large and Lt. James Ellis —– stated that Precision's proposal “does not meet our specifications.”

Jones worked as a salesman for Keystone more than decade ago.

A licensing database the Pennsylvania Department of State maintains shows a “vehicle dealer” license Jones had with Keystone expired in 2005, and he said he hasn't received a paycheck from the company since 2001.

The city purchased eight trucks and could buy up to nine more if funding is available. The 17 trucks would cost roughly $8 million.

Thomas Ball, owner of Keystone, said Hausman worked in the company's office ordering parts and equipment. He said neither Jones nor Hausman helped his bid win. Ball said none of the other members of the committee worked for him.

Huss said Thursday that he asked the city's Office of Municipal Investigation to look into Jones' connection to the company. An independent solicitor for the city's Equipment Leasing Authority investigated Jones' relationship to Keystone in 2011 and determined there was nothing that would prevent the authority from entering into a contract with Keystone.

Ball blamed the controversy and the ensuing investigation of the bid on competitors who are unhappy that they did not win the city's business

Margaret Harding and Jeremy Boren are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Harding at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com. Reach Boren at 412-320-7935 or jboren@tribweb.com.

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