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City will look for another security firm for Flower Library

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The city will start the process over again to find a company to handle security at Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington St.

On Monday night, the Watertown City Council decided against hiring the low bidder, Denog Protective Security Services Inc., Bronx, after questioning the validity of the company’s bid. Council members rejected that bid and bids by four other companies.

But Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns said the city still will move ahead with the plan. She told her colleagues that a library patron had witnessed a drug deal in the building within the past couple of weeks.

“The need exists, and I know we’ll move as fast as we can,” she said. “But I think we made the right decision on this tonight.”

Two weeks ago, council members questioned how Denog could submit such a low bid of $15.35 per hour when Jess Security Services was the next closest with $19.83. The highest was $30.62, submitted by ICU Security and Private Investigations.

Members also wondered how the company could do the work from its Bronx office. Since that meeting, council members conducted additional Internet research on the company and still were not satisfied that Denog could handle the job.

Two weeks ago, Ms. Burns expressed concern because the library has such a valuable collection of items other than books.

Library officials have talked in recent years about increasing security at the facility, after having to deal with such incidents as a loaded gun left in a restroom, several drug deals, fights between patrons, a man selling urine from a dog for urine tests and numerous property thefts.

Council members put $43,000 in the 2013-14 budget to pay for library security. In addition, the library’s board of trustees voted in May to appropriate $25,000 to pay for 10 more security cameras, a keypad lock and staff training.

In other business Monday night, Jacob S. Johnson attended the meeting but did not address council members about the chain-link fence he built at his home at 261 Mullin St. Two weeks ago, Mr. Johnson created a stir by putting up the fence, even though he knew he was violating city code.

Mr. Johnson said he intends to appear before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals to get a variance for the fence. He also plans to attend the Oct. 21 council meeting to lobby for changes in the fence ordinance.

Council members also agreed with a temporary restructuring plan for City Hall, with the recent departure of Elliott B. Nelson. Mr. Nelson left the position of assistant to the city manager to take a similar job in Illinois.

Until she retires next year, Elizabeth U. Morris, the Civil Service Commission executive secretary, will handle those duties. Council members approved an annual salary of $49,548.

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