Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of Calistoga, CA .
Multi Request Public Contracts
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: Dan Rubins

Hello,

I have not yet received a response to my public records request submitted on 7/13/18. As a reminder, the California Public Records Act requires an initial response within 10 calendar days. 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.

Regarding the first part of the request: 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).

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.

Finally, please feel free to email or call me at (415) 894-0240 if you have questions or need any clarification.

Thanks,
Dan Rubins

From: Dan Rubins

To whom it may concern:

The California Public Records Act (Cal. Gov’t Code § 6253(c)) specifically requires that an agency provide a response to a public records request within ten business days of receipt of that request. I submitted this request 11 months ago.

By failing to respond to this request within the legally-mandated timeframe, this agency is in violation of the law.

Please provide acknowledgment of this request and the responsive materials forthwith. If such materials cannot be produced, please provide an appropriate explanation for this rejection, as is dictated by this agency's legal obligations under the California Public Records Act. Your accelerated attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

From: Office Of The City Manager

Hi,

I have received your email, thank you. Your contact is City Clerk Irene Camacho-Werby at 707-942-2807 or icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us<mailto:icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us>
She will be back in the office on Monday.
Best regards,

Melissa Velasquez
Executive Assistant

City of Calistoga
1232 Washington Street
Calistoga, CA 94515
Ph: 707.942.2805
www.ci.calistoga.ca.us<http://www.ci.calistoga.ca.us/>

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Dan Rubins:

The City of Calistoga ("City") is in receipt of your Public Records Act Request, dated June 21, 2019 ("Request"). Copy of the Request and the City's response are enclosed for reference.

The City fully wishes to cooperate possible with the Public Records Act (Government Code section 6250 et seq.). Under established California law, the City is obliged to comply with a request for a public record so long as the requester makes a specific and focused request for information, that information is maintained by the City in its ordinary course of business, the information is disclosable, and the record can be located with reasonable effort. The Public Records Act provides for the inspection or copying of existing identifiable public records; it does not compel the City to create new records, lists, privilege logs, or reports in response to a request.

The City is required to determine whether the Request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records. Ordinarily, this determination must take place within ten (10) days of the City's receipt of the Request. However, a fourteen (14) day extension is available in certain circumstances. Pursuant to Government Code section 6253(c), the City is hereby invoking its right to extend the time to respond to the Request by fourteen (14) days for one or more of the following reasons:

* The need to search for and collect the requested records from facilities separate from the office processing the request.

* The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request.

* The need for consultation with another department or agency that has substantial interest in the response to the request.

* The need to compile data, to write programming language or a computer program, or to construct a computer resort to extract data.

Accordingly, the City will provide an updated response to your Request on or before July 15, 2019.

Sincerely,

Irene Camacho-Werby, CMC
City Clerk
Ph. (707) 942-2807
icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us<mailto:icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us>

City of Calistoga 1232 Washington Street
Calistoga, CA 94515 www.ci.calistoga.ca.us<http://www.ci.calistoga.ca.us/>
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8am- 4:30pm
[cid:image003.png@01D5301A.3A5D3E90]

From: Dan Rubins

Ms. Camacho-Werby,
Thank you very much for providing a timely acknowledgment. I understand we are asking for a lot of documents, so if it helps, we can figure out a monthly production schedule to ease the workload on your office, as we have done with other cities that are responsive to our requests.
Sincerely,
Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Thank you Dan,

I do have two follow-up questions:

1. Would you be willing to limit #2 and #3 to only current contract templates or policies?
2. What information are you referring to when you state by “process narratives” and “findings regarding contract administration?

Sincerely,
Irene

From: Dan Rubins

Irene,
Thanks for your continued work on this request.
1. Yes, that would be fine. This limitation is meant to avoid the busywork of producing many duplicates of nearly-identical standard agreements.
2. Some cities have records related to an internal or external contract audit (which occasionally go by different names). If your city has undergone a recent audit on procurement or contracts, we'd like to see the materials that went into that audit, and most importantly, the results.
Sincerely,
Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Thank you Dan.

Irene

From: Office Of The City Manager

Hello Dan,

Please find attached the City’s letter of notification that we have identified potential non-exempt records. Due to the volume of records, the City has been unable to complete its review. The City anticipates providing you with an update as to the availability of the responsive records on or about July 29, 2019.

Sincerely,

Irene Camacho-Werby, CMC
City Clerk
Ph. (707) 942-2807
icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us<mailto:icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us>

City of Calistoga 1232 Washington Street
Calistoga, CA 94515 www.ci.calistoga.ca.us<http://www.ci.calistoga.ca.us/>
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8am- 4:30pm
[cid:image003.png@01D53B1C.79D80160]

From: Office Of The City Manager

Good afternoon Dan,

Please find attached the City’s response letter and responsive records. Due to the volume of records this email will be sent in a total of four (4) emails.

Sincerely,

Irene Camacho-Werby, CMC
City Clerk
Ph. (707) 942-2807
icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us<mailto:icamacho-werby@ci.calistoga.ca.us>

City of Calistoga 1232 Washington Street
Calistoga, CA 94515 www.ci.calistoga.ca.us<http://www.ci.calistoga.ca.us/>
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8am- 4:30pm
[cid:image003.png@01D5461B.749E7260]

From: Office Of The City Manager

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From: Office Of The City Manager

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