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Accountabilityby Mark Reutter2:00 pmJul 13, 20160

BOE approves another $1.8 million for uniforms and t-shirts

Cost of city-supplied clothing adds up to more than $7 million

Above: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake poses with members of the Fire Department Honor Guard at the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (bcfdhonorguard.com)

Baltimore City Hall may have trouble keeping recreation centers and municipal pools open, but it isn’t stingy when it comes to formal and informal wear for city employees.

Today the Board of Estimates unanimously approved $1.5 million for dress and work uniforms for the Fire Department and $300,000 for t-shirts, caps and other “active wear” for employees at Public Works, Recreation and Parks, Transportation and other non-uniform departments.

Combined with previous appropriations by the board, the city has spent or allocated $4.1 million for fire department uniforms and accessories since 2011 – and just under $1 million for t-shirts and caps since 2014.

Additionally, the spending board has approved about $2.6 million for police uniforms since 2012 through separate contracts, making for a grand total of over $7 million in clothing.

The Fire Department uniforms will be tailored by two venerable Baltimore companies, F&F and A. Jacobs & Sons and Howard Uniform Company, according to records from the bureau of purchases.

The lion’s share of the uniform order (up to $1.3 million) will be supplied by the Jacobs company that traces it lineage in supplying uniforms to the military, police, fire and sheriff departments back to 1891.

The Howard group was handed $200,000 today, mostly for the supply of accessories such as badges, belts and headgear.

Heavy Demand for T-Shirts

In the case of t-shirts and related leisure wear, the purchasing bureau said that demand has rapidly escalated among city agencies, resulting in today’s request of $300,000 above the previous contract amount of $605,580.

All of the product comes from the same company – Nightmare Graphics of Columbia, Md.

The company has supplied the city since 2007, except for a short period in 2009 when another group underbid the company but failed to meet the terms of the contract.

In addition to making the orange t-shirts worn by sanitation workers and the polo shirts used by police and fire department recruits, the company supplies t-shirts and caps worn by children enrolled in sports leagues and other activities run by the Department of Recreation and Parks. Each t-shirt costs roughly $5.

Today’s contracts were approved by voice vote by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Comptroller Joan Pratt, Public Works Director Rudy Chow and City Solicitor George Nilson.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not attend the meeting. She was represented by Finance Director Henry Raymond, who okayed the expenditure.

The mayor is traveling and will return to Baltimore tonight, her press office said.

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