From CT News Junkie
HARTFORD, CT — A state contract to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of Connecticut government that ended last fall will be renewed on Nov. 1. The nonprofit Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN) won back the contract to operate the Connecticut Television Network (CT-N) after a yearlong dispute and a rebidding on the contract.
“The legislature restored enough funding to the project to figure out a business case to run the network again,” William Bevacqua, president of CPAN, said.
Around the same time the contract ended last fall, the Bond Commission approved $1 million in borrowing to install the new cameras and upgrade other equipment. The new contract that starts on Nov. 1 is about $900,000 less annually than it had been.
It’s a three-year contract renewable up to six years and first-year budget is roughly $1.83 million for the year. It had been $2.7 million in 2017 before CPAN learned it would be cut as part of the bipartisan budget.
CPAN beat out three other bidders, including WFSB, for the contract. According to bidding documents, CPAN asked for $1.83 million in the first year with a three-percent increase in future years. WFSB asked for $1.97 million in the first year with a 2.5 percent increase in future years.
“CPAN provided the best proposal, particularly with their demonstrated experience and plan of operation within available funding. CT-N is a an critical resource in giving the public a window into their government, and CPAN showed a real understanding of the importance of that mission,” Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said.
All of the employees for CPAN were laid-off last year and rehired directly by the Office of Legislative Management as temporary employees without any benefits in order to continue to operate the network in the absence of a contract. CPAN is in a process of interviewing and rehiring back those employees.
Bevacqua said the new skills they learned to operate the network in the absence of a contract will serve the organization well in the future as it seeks to diversify its revenue sources.
There were about 18 former CPAN employees who have been operating the network since the contract ended, but a few have since found employment elsewhere.