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Mr. Orange said he is considering separate emergency legislation that would strengthen the certification process for local minority firms.

In August, when Mr. Staton addressed bidders on the UMC contract, he stressed that “time was of the essence” and the “integrity of the process is most important,” according to the emails obtained by The Times.

Yet that declaration was followed by peculiar delays and other concerns called to his attention and the attention of other contracting officials.

Mr. Turnage, who also received emails expressing concern, deferred contracting questions to Mr. Staton, but on Tuesday offered that he saw the second round of “best and final” offers as part of an agency-wide attempt to re-assess pending contract awards in the wake of an unrelated adverse ruling by the Contract Appeals Board.

During the delay, however, Huron dropped subcontractor HGM Management and Technologies, which city records show was not certified as a local minority business, and added Compass, which is.

Eventually, Huron was awarded the contract, originally budgeted for $10 million, with an additional $2.7 million added to the price.

One highly regarded local businessman involved with the competitive bidding process said it “totally reeks.”

“What one looks to do is play by the rules, and in this process the rules changed,” said the businessman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he has business pending before the city. “Someone wanted to hire Huron, and they found a way to do it.”