Winter Park commissioner took contribution from company bidding for contract

WINTER PARK, Fla. — A Winter Park city commissioner took a $1,000 contribution from a company bidding to be the town's garbage hauler.
Waste Pro is employed by the city, but the contract expires soon and new bids will be rolling in.
In November, the city told its commissioners not to engage with any garbage companies vying for the job during the bidding process.
A month later, the city said there was some confusion with the wording of the request for proposal and the bidding process would be briefly suspended before it started again.
Commissioners making votes on business contracts with companies usually don't take contributions from the companies for ethical reasons.
According to Commissioner Carolyn Cooper's finance reports, she took a $1,000 contribution from Waste Pro on Jan. 19.
Cooper did accept the contribution in the window when the RFP was suspended.
Cooper told Channel 9 she wasn't informed until Monday the bidding would be reopened.
She said even though she didn't have to, she was going to return the contribution in the name of transparency.
"I would like to be clear that a contribution to my campaign would never influence my vote on any issue coming before me as a commissioner. That is simply not in keeping with my character," Cooper said.
City officials said there will be no delay in garbage pickups and a new RFP will be out by the end of the month.