REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: DIB Seeking General Counsel

Posted: Feb 18, 2021 06:06 pm Updated: Oct 18, 2023 12:10 am

Proposals are now being solicited from experienced and qualified Florida attorneys or law firms to provide legal services as General Counsel for the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board (DIB), a political subdivision established by the Florida Legislature in 1972.  


The mission of the DIB is (i) to market downtown Pensacola to business prospects and investors, (ii) to serve as an advocate for projects necessary to revitalize downtown Pensacola and to create in downtown a thriving urban neighborhood; (iii) to enhance downtown Pensacola as a place to work, visit, live and be entertained, and; (iv) to raise awareness of downtown Pensacola as an important business, residential, cultural and entertainment center in the Triangle metropolitan area. The DIB was incorporated as a dependant special district of the City of Pensacola per Chapter 189, Florida Statutes.  The DIB was formed in April 1972.  The long-term strategy of the DIB is formulated by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of Downtown property and business owners, while the day-to-day affairs are executed by the DIB’s Executive Director and staff. 


All Federal, State, County, and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations that in any manner affect the items covered herein shall apply, including but not limited to the DIB Special Act, Laws of Florida, Section 72-655 as amended. 

This RFP and the resulting contract will be made and ended in Escambia County, Florida and shall be governed by the laws of the State of Florida. A proposed contract for services shall accompany the proposal. 


The DIB seeks to engage an attorney with prior experience (paid or unpaid) as General Counsel of a public agency to be responsible for all facets of the general types of legal issues that might arise for such a position. The General Counsel will be expected to keep current on all aspects of law relevant to a special district and provide counsel and support to the Board and Executive Director in the following ways: 


1. Attendance at meetings of the Board of Directors as requested by the board for the purpose of providing legal services and consultation; 

2. Attendance at such other meetings as requested by the Board of Directors or Executive Director; 

3. Preparation of resolutions, contracts, and the like concerning DIB business; 

4. Preparation of written legal opinions on matters concerning the DIB at the request of the Board of Directors or the Executive Director; 

5. Review of contracts, bid specifications, and purchasing documents for the purpose of legal and policy compliance, appropriate risk transfer, and risk analysis and avoidance; 

6. Consultation with DIB staff regarding personnel matters, litigation, and other matters concerning DIB business; 

7. Analysis of proposed or enacted legislation, published legal opinions, and other matters that may have an impact on the operations of the DIB; 

8. Advising the DIB as to whether to file claims or commence litigation, and representing the DIB in connection with certain claims and litigation filed by or against the DIB except where, in the opinion of the General Counsel, special expertise is required; 

9. Providing advice and assistance on matters of law related to the Florida Sunshine Statutes, conflict of interest,  the DIB enabling legislation, and in seeking advice from other public entities; 

10. Provide legal assistance and consultation to DIB staff and directors on matters of property rights and property management, including trespass, encroachment, lessee obligations, easements, and access; and 

11. Such other activities as may arise from time to time and as requested by the Board of Directors or the Executive Director. 


Proposals must be submitted in writing and describe in adequate detail the following elements:  a.) a description of the attorney’s qualifications and experience, including areas of expertise, accomplishments, previous employers and previous or current public sector clients, b.) a description of the law firm including the size of the firm, others attorneys and support staff, location of the firm, and scope of its practice, c.) a resume including years of experience, education, and professional affiliations and licenses, d.) a description of legal services currently being  performed or previously performed for public agencies,  e.) a description of backup attorney(s) within the firm who would be available in the absence of the designated General Counsel,  f.) describe regulatory action, tax liens, or legal sanctions taken or pending against the attorney or firm, g.) the addition of any “value-added” services that the responding attorney might bring to the engagement beyond the scope listed above, and h.) the total annual cost for each of next three years that the attorney or law firm proposes to provide the legal services desired.  The Proposals shall also include certificates of insurance for Workers’ Compensation to meet statutory limits in the State of Florida and professional liability insurance of no less than two million ($2,000,000.00) dollars. 

Proposals will be accepted during normal business hours via US Mail, hand-delivery, or courier service in the offices of the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board at 226 South Palafox Place – Suite 106, Pensacola, Florida 32502 until 4:00 p.m. (central time) on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Eight copies of the complete response to this RFP are required. Proposals shall clearly indicate the legal name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of the Proposer (company, firm, and partnership, individual). Proposals shall be signed above the typed or printed name and title of the signer. The signer shall have the authority to bind the Proposer to the submitted proposal. All expenses for preparation and submission of the RFP to the DIB are to be borne by the Proposer. The Proposals will be opened at 5:00 PM (Central) at 226 South Palafox Place – Suite 106, Pensacola, Florida 32502 on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. 


The DIB seeks to obtain and purchase all services noted above at the lowest possible cost.  In its evaluation of the proposals received, the DIB will consider and factor the cost structure proposed, compliance with the noted specifications, the relevant experience of the respondents, and understanding of DIB mission and authority.  An examination of the firm’s ability to perform the services desired, the reputation of the officers or representatives assigned to provide legal services on behalf of the DIB, and the location of its facilities may also, at the sole discretion of the DIB, be part of the criteria used to select an acceptable vendor before a contract is offered. 

The DIB will meet on April 27, 2021 to consider the proposals and may elect to interview one or more of the proposers before a contract is offered at the meeting on April 27, 2021 or at a subsequent meeting on May 25, 2021.  The successful proposer must be prepared to begin work no later than June 14, 2021. 

In evaluating proposals, the DIB will consider all information that it deems relevant for awarding a contract including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, price, ability to perform, experience and past performance. With regards to any proposals or proposals submitted in response hereto, to the extent permitted by law the DIB reserves the right to waive any errors, omissions, irregularities, and deviations if the DIB determines that such action is in the best interest of the DIB and/or public health, safety and/or welfare. Furthermore, to the extent permitted by law the DIB may waive any requirement or provision hereof and reserves the right to modify the requirements referenced herein, to reject any and all proposals, to modify (with the approval of the proposing party) the proposal, to negotiate with any proposing party regarding any price, term and/or condition, including increasing or decreasing a proposed price and/or the scope of the project. 

This RFP is utilized merely as a vehicle to facilitate the evaluation of a Proposers and proposals. Except as required by law this RFP shall not in any manner grant and shall not be construed in any manner grant rights, benefits or expectations of any manner whatsoever to any person interested in submitting, contemplating submitting, or who in fact does submit a proposal in response hereto. The final terms and conditions of any project contemplated herein may be negotiated between DIB and any responsive Proposer and, except as required by law, the DIB shall not be required to accept any proposal or negotiate with any responsive Proposer notwithstanding perceived favorable provisions of price, time of performance, experience, quality of service, etc., contained in a responsive proposal. The DIB reserves the right to negotiate a proposal in the best interest of the DIB which may include adding or deleting terms and conditions from those specified herein and/or from the proposal upon by a responsive Proposer or contained in a responsive Proposer’s proposal. 


Questions regarding this RFP process and questions relative to the scope of services shall be addressed to Walker Wilson, DIB Executive Director, in writing at and be received no later than 4:00 P.M. (Central) on March 31, 2021. Any interpretations, clarifications, or changes made will be in the form of written addenda issued by April 7, 2021. Oral answers will not be authoritative. 


Pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 287.133(2)(a), are hereby notified that a person or affiliate who has been placed on the convicted vendor list following a conviction for a public entity crime may not submit a bid, proposal, or reply on a contract to provide any goods or services to a public entity (defined as the State of Florida, any of its departments or agencies, or any political subdivision); may not submit a bid, proposal, or reply on a contract with a public entity for the construction or repair of a public building or public work; may not submit bids, proposals or replies on leases of real property to a public entity; may not be awarded or perform work as a contractor, supplier, subcontractor, or consultant under contract with any public entity; and may not transact business with any public entity in excess of the threshold amount provided in Florida Statutes Section 287.017 for CATEGORY TWO  for a period of thirty-six (36) months from the date of being placed on the convicted vendor list. A “public entity crime” means a violation of any state or federal law by a person with respect to and directly related to the transaction of business with any public entity or with an agency or political subdivision of any other state or with the United States, including, but not limited to, any bid, proposal, reply, or contract for goods or services, any lease for real property, or any contract for the construction or repair of a public building or public work, involving antitrust, fraud, theft, bribery, collusion, racketeering, conspiracy, or material misrepresentation. 


Proposers are hereby notified that all information submitted as part of, or in support of, proposals will be available for public inspection after opening of proposals, in compliance with Chapters 119 and 286, Florida Statutes, “Public Records Law” and the “Government and Sunshine Law” respectively. 


In connection with carrying out any project, the selected Proposer shall not ever have engaged in, and shall not during the term of the contract engage in, any discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, or physical handicap. 

If a proposal of a Proposer is deemed non-responsive or non-responsible, the Executive Director of the DIB shall provide written notice of the decision to all Proposers. 

The Executive Director of the DIB shall provide written notice of the decision to all the Proposers of an award of a contract. 

The procedures outlined under Section 120.57(3), Florida Statutes shall be utilized to resolve any protests of a decision of the DIBarising from the contract solicitation or award process under this RFP with the exception that any person who is adversely affected by  a decision of the DIBarising from the contract solicitation or award process under this RFP shall file with the Executive Director of the DIB a written notice of protest in writing within 72 hours after the a proposer’s receipt of the written notice of the decision from the Executive Director of the DIB. 

Any Proposer filing a protest shall submit with its protest a protest bond, payable to the DIB, in the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).  If the protest is decided in the protester's favor the entire protest bond is returned. If the protest is not decided in the protester's favor the protest shall be forfeited to the DIB.  The protest bond shall be in the form of a cashier's check.