June 9, 2015

Indy's Electric Vehicle Provider Seeks Mediation Instead of Lawsuit Over Its Contract

The provider of Indianapolis' electric vehicles has filed its own legal action in response to the lawsuit approved by city-county councilors over the vehicle contract.

Vision Fleet says it's asked a five judge panel to review the validity of that contract, arguing mediation would be much cheaper than a court battle.

Vision Fleet has a $32 million deal with Indianapolis to provide 425 electric power cars for city departments. But the program has been mired in controversy, including police officers not being able to fit their equipment into the Chevy Volts it was given.

The city-county council yesterday approved suing Mayor Greg Ballard, saying the contract is illegal.

"For the past two months, we've felt like the rope in a game of tug-of-war between the City and the Council. We're stuck in the middle, just trying to do the job we were hired to do," said Vision Fleet CEO Michael Brylawski in a statement sent out Tuesday.

Councilors are arguing the contract with Vision Fleet is illegal because it’s actually a purchasing agreement and not a service agreement. The city is leasing the vehicles for about $75,000 each. A purchasing agreement would have to be bid out, which this deal was not.

A review by the Marion County auditor has also found the city may have wrongfully paid part of its bills to Vision Fleet out of its stormwater utility fund. 

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