City Staff’s SNAFU or is it something Worse? The $2.1 M Boondoggle
The Council meeting last week 9/12/17 was confusing and disconcerting so lets go over the numbers, so we’re all on the same page.
On 9/25/12 the Council authorized a five year contract with Garrett Thompson for hot patch work (street repair from water meter installation and small water main repairs) for $749,700 per year totaling $3.748 Million. Within two years the city had spent 75% of the money. So on 12/9/14 two years into the contract staff came back and asked for and received another $3.1 Million to be added to the original agreement.
On 12/15/15 the Finance staff increased the purchasing authority to $9.6 Million WITHOUT the Council’s approval. And last week staff tried to slide a $2.2 Million catch-up/increase on the consent calendar on a week when it was known it was going to be a short meeting because the Council had to be in Riverbank for joint meeting with the Riverbank City Council.
First of all it’s almost the old bait and switch. Staff tells the Council that $3.748 Million will pay for five years of hot patches and then the amount spent goes up 250%. It wasn’t cost overruns or because of change orders like Tony ‘the clueless one’ Madrigal wondered. Yes, Garrett was the low cost bidder but the contract was by the square foot and that price didn’t go up, city staff just kept ordering more patches and spending money that hadn’t been authorized.
Deanna Christensen claimed someone had entered erroneous numbers multiple times into the city’s Oracle financial system. The Oracle system was purchased in 2010 at the cost of $7.4 Million and was supposed to prevent just this kind of problem. And to protect the citizens the questions of whether inducements were offered to make the mistakes or could the missing contract language and oversight be intentional?
Among other questions we have are did staff intentionally put out to bid a RFP that could never cover all the worked scheduled/planned? Was easier to get Council’s buy in for a much smaller amount than was needed figuring then it would be easy to up the approval in the future? If it was the latter then it worked.
Talk about a lack of trust. Kristi Ah You asked Mayor Brandvold how the search was coming for an in house auditor. His reply was he’d been working on it the last few weeks. But why the questions about an auditor? We already have an independent outside firm, Moss Adams, auditing anything they’re asked to audit. The Council wants someone that reports to them at more than twice the cost and not to the City Manager. If you don’t trust Joe Lopez, and we don’t, then get rid of him and look outside for someone else. As an aside you might not want to hire someone that works for the headhunters you hire like you did the last time.
Zoslocki, Kenoyer, and Madrigal all voted for the second expansion of the contract and have been there during the boondoggle. All of them seemed concerned but appeared to be willing to vote to pay the $306,000 that night (but only Kenoyer was willing to verbalize her thoughts). Doug Ridenour made some of his usual comments that he doesn’t believe in emotional decisions or feelgood proposals but never actually said what those might be.
Zoslocki claimed he talks with respect and doesn’t let emotion enter into his thinking. That would have drawn a laugh from the audience the night of the General Plan discussion after he melted down and verbally attacked a speaker who showed Zoslocki was hiding his council communications from the public. And talking about Kenoyer, there is still the video where she rants “If you work for the city, I’m the boss of you”.
The bottom line is it doesn’t take 10 to 12 weeks to discover how and when the erroneous changes were inputted. It doesn’t take 10-12 weeks to know who was involved. You don’t get a contract from the city and not know how much it’s worth. For trying to slide this by on consent, Joe Lopez should be gone. Zoslocki, Kenoyer, and Madrigal by their actions and disconnect don’t deserve to be on the Council. All three would like nothing better than to have this be swept under the rug until after the elections. And last but not least Garrett Thompson should not be allowed to bid in the current RFP. People need to be held accountable starting with our elected officials.