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Awarding of contract questioned

County officials are investigating allegations that a committee assigned to grade the competitors for a $60,000 county contract slanted the outcome in favor of one bidder. The county's purchasing and contracts department and a special top-level committee are conducting the investigation, which began after one of the competitors protested the results.

That company, Professional Psychological Services (PPS), was ranked second among four companies competing for a contract to provide counseling and referral services for county employees. A four-member evaluation committee gave the top ranking to Tampa Bay Consortium, the company currently providing the service, even though its bid was $18,000 more than the runner-up.

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