Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

MID’s Layers of Deception – the Public Information Requests

Modesto Marathon  7983

By Emerson Drake

After Tuesday’s meeting I think some clarity needs to be added to the way MID spends our money.  The most used way is through the Purchase Order system. They put contracts out to bid and choose the lowest responsible bidder, at least in theory.  A lot of attention has been focused on purchase order #54981 which was effective from 7/19/2010 thru 12/31/2012, with a “not to exceed” cost of $450,000.  Yet this purchase order authorizations continued to come through signed by Allen Short and initialed by “J.W.” for payment. A minimum of $90,000 has been paid on this expired  Purchase Order numbe,r all containing the same generic billing reasons. No contracts for subcontractors have been made available and MID’s Joy Warren has yet to explain how this contract was part of the competitive bidding process.  These typically included:

Client Meeting/Planning Fees…..$5,000

Consulting…………………………$7,500

Communication services…………$3,500

Outreach/Transparency………….$5,000

According to MID, Martino Graphics uses four subcontractors to fulfill their contract. This Contract  Purchase Order is issued to provide professional services to Refocus and Enhance Public Education and Information Services per Board Resolution # 2010-35.  The following link is to the Board Resolution #2010-35  Slegal12110816440

The following is a response to several question in regard to Martino Graphics PO#54981.  It includes the pages of invoices, copies of authorizations, and checks (well at least the ones they sent us). It’s a lot of work/pages  so don’t hit print unless you mean it.

Slegal12101913110

 MID has consistently ignored  requests to release the total amount of money spent (including details) using PO#54981.

One of the reasons I question if all of the requested information is being supplied is that they have been charging consumers a falling water charge for over 20 years according to Van Groningen.  So I thought I would cut them a break and only ask for 10 to 15 years worth.  All they were willing to send were 5 years.  Here is the copy of the PIR. son_Drake_dated_October_26__2012_re_Falling_Water_Charge

Last week much of the conversation was about the “Serpa” rule.  Here is the link Slegal12110515150

It was gratifying to see Mike Serpa vindicated by the present MID Board and obviously showed the prejudice he was subject to by Van Groningen, O’Laughlin and Short.  I will take this moment to point out how the Bee’s Opinion Editor Judy Sly never spoke out against the treatment former City Councilman/MID Director Serpa endured. If fact, Ms. Sly helped the three amigo’s cause by heaping abuse on Mike in her Editorial Column as often as she could work it in.

Lets look at Carol Whiteside and her California Strategies  Company for a minute,  She received over $15,000 in payments $6,000 of it almost two months AFTER she terminated the contract.  This money was funneled through Martino Graphics WITHOUT a contract.  At least no contract with Martino Graphics (MG). Ms. Whiteside supposedly has a contract with MG but we aren’t privy to it. There also is no contract with MG since Short, Van Groningen, and Wild took it upon themselves to spend this money BEHIND the rest of the Boards back.

I believe Short, Van Groningen and Wild should be held personally liable for this money and should pay it back to the MID  ratepayers.

In my opinion it’s time not for an audit. but an investigation of how MID’s been spending our money.  It appears services for lobbyists have been procured by upper management  with the help of two Board Directors and I’m not sure they did it legally.

I also don’t believe MID should  financially support Allen Short’s new position with The San Joaquin Tributaries Authority.

You can hear more about MID and the City Council by checking out any of the “What’s on America’s Mind” broadcasts. Just click on the link and it will take you directly to the show archives for a listen.

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