Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of American Canyon, CA.
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Dan Rubins

To Whom It May Concern:

I. Background Information

Contract administration is frequently a source of concerning behavior in the public sector. For example:
- In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a company with only two employees (Whitefish Energy) was hired hired by PREPA, Puerto Rico's public utility company, to restore power to the island at a cost of $300M. The contract had audit-proofing clauses and left little recourse for PREPA due to nonperformance. After 8 months, Puerto Rico did not have power fully restored and now Congressional and FBI investigations are pending.
- During an internal audit of the City of San Diego's contracting practices, the contract with office products supplier Staples was found to exceed the City Council's approved $2M annual threshold by a full $1M. Auditors found found insufficient financial controls and produced a further 60 pages of recommendations.
- The US Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) found sustained exceptions for incurred costs audits 28.6% of the time in its 2017 Report to Congress.
- From 2010 to 2013, a Maryland Transit Authority employee allegedly used poor contracting oversight to siphon $6.3M from the state coffers.
- The City of Vallejo, CA was recently the victim of an alleged contracting kickback scheme run by the city's landscape maintenance manager, only uncovered in an FBI investigation. The kickback scheme occurred only a few years after the city was in Chapter 9 bankruptcy because of ballooning contractual obligations.
- In recent years, officials in the southern California cities of Bell, Irwindale, La Puente, Monterey Park, Pico Rivera, Temple City, and Vernon have been brought up on various public corruption charges.

While the vast majority of public contracting is done with integrity, bad actors and a lack of public knowledge have a disproportionate effect on the fiscal wellbeing and public trust of every level of government.

II. Requested Records

Pursuant to the { law }, I hereby request the following records:

1. Any and all executed contracts, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), and other equivalent agreements that are currently active, or were active within the last two years, other than standard employee agreements. Please provide a copy of the executed document as well as any addenda, amendments, attachments, exhibits, materials, and schedules.

2. Any and all contract template documents, for example, employee agreements, vendor agreements, master services agreements, nondisclosure agreements, or interagency cooperation contracts.

3. General policies and procedures for contract administration, including training materials and records used to instruct members of your agency in contract administration.

4. Any available process narratives, audit reports, or findings regarding contract administration covering the last two years.

I am happy to discuss any issues or suggestions to make fulfillment more manageable for your office.

III. Fees

If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me in advance of fulfilling the request.

I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public's understanding of how governments manage public money and the obligations to which they are entrusted.

Neither I, nor my company (Legal Robot), has any commercial interest in obtaining the requested information. Rather, we intend to use software to analyze and disseminate the requested information free of charge so that the public may identify patterns of bad behavior that, when eliminated, will benefit governments and the public alike.

We plan to enrich and cross-link the information we receive from multiple jurisdictions, and provide an exploratory interface for the public on the internet, for free. Because we consider this work to be Data Journalism, and we further expect to provide our analysis to other media organizations for additional print and online publication, I ask to be categorized as a representative of the news media. Upon request, I am happy to provide our analysis and any articles we write based on our analysis in advance of publication, though I cannot speak for other media outlets.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Dan Rubins

From:

Good Morning,

I am acknowledging receipt of your public records request received on July 24, 2018. The City of American Canyon is requesting an extension due to more information needed from you and further review from the City Attorney.

Please list what type of records you are requesting without the background information you included in your original requests.

For Example: Request for documents related to permits at 555 Test Lane, MOU with Napa County Flood Control, copies of staff reports regarding the 2018 Election.

If you have any questions, forward your response to me.

Thank you.

Cherri S. Walton, CMC, Deputy City Clerk
City Clerk's Department
City of American Canyon | 4381 Broadway Street, Suite 201 | American Canyon, CA 94503
707 647 4369 | Cwalton@cityofamericancanyon.org<mailto:Cwalton@cityofamericancanyon.org>
www.cityofamericancanyon.org<http://www.cityofamericancanyon.org/> | www.facebook.com/CityofAmericanCanyon<http://www.facebook.com/CityofAmericanCanyon>

Want to know what's happening in the City of American Canyon?
Sign up<http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v=001t3qFX4kUbZdoF3JIxVH2hg%3D%3D> now for the City Manager's <http://www.cityofamericancanyon.org/index.aspx?page=33&recordid=64&returnURL=%2findex.aspx> Friday Update<http://www.cityofamericancanyon.org/index.aspx?page=33&recordid=64&returnURL=%2findex.aspx>.

From:

Please see the attached communication.

William D. Ross, Esq.
Law Offices of William D. Ross
A Professional Corporation
400 Lambert Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94306
Tel: (650) 843-8080; Fax: (650) 843-8093
E-Mail: wross@lawross.com<mailto:wross@lawross.com>

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From: Dan Rubins

Thanks for your quick response! I understand the first part of my request is relatively large, so hopefully my comments here limit the scope of responsive documents. Also, please let me know if you need more time.

1. I am looking at the last couple years of legal language, primarily in procurement documents, so plans, drawings, price lists or other attachments without legal terms are not necessary, if that helps. We can easily exclude agreements that use standard templates, if I can get a blank template (hence, request part 2). I listed "standard employee agreements" as an exclusion since most organizations have one (or a few) boilerplate agreement(s) for employees and we don't need to analyze each individual signed copy. Similar case for standard vendor agreements, etc.

Perhaps we can start with a subset of records that are already in electronic form? The actual signature is not important for my work, I am just looking for the version of the document that was executed. If any of the agreements are already online through agendas or meeting minutes, please direct me to those and we can easily exclude those documents from this request.

2. With templates, I am looking for documents like standard employee agreements instead of requesting a high volume of repetitive documents. Feel free to limit part 2 to documents that were actually used in the last 12 months.

3. Please feel free to exclude presentations, transcripts, and any audio or video recordings. Here, I am looking for the written policies, procedures, and instructions that are used in Contract Administration.

4. Documents like process narratives, audit reports, and findings are important for this work, but presumably these documents are a small portion of the request, if any exist. By process narratives, I mean any periodic descriptions of processes, irregularities, and corrective actions around, for example, financial controls that relate to contracts. If someone keeps a log of exceptions to contracting processes like missing approvals or contracts exceeding their approved threshold, I would want to see that (perhaps not copy the whole thing, though).

Finally, please feel free to email or call me at (415) 894-0240 if you have questions or need any clarification. I live nearby, so I'm happy to review physical documents in person rather than paying for copies.

Thanks,
Dan Rubins

From:

Hi Dan,

This is a response to a Public Records Request (PRR) you submitted. The documents attached are templates of standard contracts indicative of what the city uses as referenced in Items No. 1 and No. 2 of your "PRR". Also attached, is a copy of Ordinance No. 2007-05 and click here<http://qcode.us/codes/americancanyon/> to view the City of American Canyon Municipal Code Chapter 3.12 in response to Item No. 3. After carefully searching our records, I was unable to find any audit reports or findings with regards to contract administration covering the last two years as requested in Item No. 4.

If there is anything else you need, please forward your response to me.

Thanks.

Cherri

Cherri S. Walton, CMC, Deputy City Clerk
City Clerk's Department
City of American Canyon | 4381 Broadway Street, Suite 201 | American Canyon, CA 94503
707 647 4369 | Cwalton@cityofamericancanyon.org<mailto:Cwalton@cityofamericancanyon.org>
www.cityofamericancanyon.org<http://www.cityofamericancanyon.org/> | www.facebook.com/CityofAmericanCanyon<http://www.facebook.com/CityofAmericanCanyon>

Want to know what's happening in the City of American Canyon?
Sign up<http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v=001t3qFX4kUbZdoF3JIxVH2hg%3D%3D> now for the City Manager's <http://www.cityofamericancanyon.org/index.aspx?page=33&recordid=64&returnURL=%2findex.aspx> Friday Update<http://www.cityofamericancanyon.org/index.aspx?page=33&recordid=64&returnURL=%2findex.aspx>.

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