CITY HALL — Elected officials have postponed a vote on a $2 million contract that has been at the center of discussions over enacting Santa Monica’s recently approved boycott of Arizona businesses.

A decision about whether to acquire real time, digital signs for Big Blue Bus stops from Trapeze Group has been delayed, but not because of concern the purchase would violate the City Council’s boycott, said Stephanie Negriff, BBB’s director.

A proposed $2 million contract for the signs with Trapeze fell into doubt two weeks ago when the City Council passed a boycott of Arizona businesses over that state’s recently adopted law that requires police officers to check immigration papers if they have a “reasonable suspicion” someone they’ve stopped is in the country illegally.

Though Trapeze is based near Mississauga, Canada, it has an office in Arizona.

The council had been set to vote on the BBB sign contract on Tuesday, but the item was pulled from the agenda at the last minute. Negriff said that decision had nothing to with the boycott but was rather to give staff more time to work out a separate contractual issue.

Since the council adopted the boycott, Negriff said she’s received assurance from Trapeze that the contract for the signs would be handled through the company’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa, office.

Trapeze confirmed that “we would not be doing business with an Arizona-based firm” by approving the contract, Negriff said. But she said she had not received confirmation that no component of the signs would be manufactured or designed in Arizona.

Trapeze previously delivered software to the BBB that is used in planning bus routes. In the past, Negriff said BBB employees have traveled to Arizona to attend customer training sessions held at Trapeze’s Phoenix-area office, but would not be permitted to do so while the boycott is in effect.

Councilman Kevin McKeown on Tuesday said he was satisfied that approving the contract would honor the boycott, but said he believed the staff report on the proposed contract was “insufficient” in providing the council with assurance.

He said BBB staff “decided to hold off and reissue a staff report that explains the situation in more detail.”

“There was no rush to finalize the purchase, apparently, so this is a small blow for transparency,” he said of the delay.

Negriff said she expects the council to vote on the proposed Trapeze contract at its next regular council meeting June 22 or else in July.

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