The Alexandria cable television firm that won an exclusive franchise last week to provide criticized the city procedures by which it was selected over two competitors.
The criticisms, contained in a letter written Monday by Alexandria Carblevision Co. [ACC], and addressed to former Mayor Frank E. Mann, called the process by which city officials selected the winning firm "seriously flawed."
The letter, signed by ACC chairman Charles Henry Smith Jr. and president James W. Carroll, said the company was responding to "an avalanche of accusation and innuendo" growing out of the intense, months -- long competition for the lucrative franchise.
"We cannot permit the strongly adversarial activities and frequent unfair departures from due process to be lost from the public records," the ACC officials said
"It's hard to tell that they won," said one high -- ranking city official yesterday after seeing the letter. ACC and city officials are scheduled to begin discussions next week on terms of a performance contact intended to formalize the promises made by ACC to the Alexandria City Council in winning the cable franchise.
Hard feelings surfaced in the last two weeks on the part of ACC after a fnincial consultant for the city, Lee A. Bertman, recommended -- and the City Council agreed -- that ACC increase its financial base by $1 million to a total of $6.75 million.
ACC raised the additional funds, only to hear Bertman tell the council on the day of last week's final vote that he had discovered a $662,000 error in the company's financial projections.
The council voted 5 to 2 to give the franchise to ACC in spite of Bertman's last -- minute disclosure.
In its letter, ACC criticized Bertman for suggesting that the company was underfinanced, and said the city's cable TV administrators, Mary Sue Smoller, had failed to inform the council that ACC'S budget for local programming was larger than that of one of its competitors.
The $662,000 error uncovered by Bertman was in ACC'S local programming budget.
ACC also said in its letter that Smoller had improperly discussed ACC'S bid with representatives of a competitor, Alexandria Telecommunications Corp. [ALTEC], before the council's vote.
Neither Bertman nor Smoller could be reached for comment yesterday.
City manager Douglas Harman, in a written response to the letter, said yesterday staff and Bertman explain their actions to the council if requested.