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Watertown City Council hires Bronx firm for Flower Library security

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A Bronx company had better luck Monday night getting a contract to handle security at Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library.

In a 3-2 vote, the Watertown City Council decided to hire Denog Protective Security Services Inc., Bronx, after rejecting the same company two months ago because it did not have a local office.

Amy M. Pastuf, the city’s purchasing manager, recommended hiring Denog after rebidding the work last month. Out of eight companies submitting bids, Denog was the lowest bid at $17.81 per hour. Wisdom Protective Services had the next lowest at $19.73 per hour.

Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns and Mayor Jeffrey M. Graham voted against awarding the contract. Ms. Burns again questioned the validity of the company and its experience in handling security.

“I have the same concerns that I had the last time it came before us,” she said, adding that she wanted to know exactly where Denog had worked before.

She also wanted to know whether four employees the company has hired live here or are moving from the New York City area.

Ms. Pastuf said that the employees are not local, but that the company hopes to expand here and find security guards who live in the north country. She also could not provide details about Denog’s background, saying only that the city had received good references from a construction company, a municipality and a building complex.

Denog hired a local manager, businessman Harry J. Cleaves. The four employees are legally registered with the state as security guards, Ms. Pastuf said. The company also has opened an office at 1 Edmund St., the former site of Precision Lumber, she said.

Despite the concerns, council members Teresa R. Macaluso and Joseph M. Butler Jr. urged the city to hire the firm since the library board was lobbying for it.

“They want this to get going,” Mr. Butler said.

In his last meeting on the council, Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith also supported awarding the contract.

Ms. Macaluso said the contract with Denog could be terminated if the city is not satisfied with its work.

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

During this year’s budget process, council members put $43,000 in the 2013-14 budget to pay for security. Details about the contract and the hours that Denog would cover security at the library still must be worked out.

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