Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of Chico, CA.
Est. Completion July 23, 2018
Status
Fix Required

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: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins,

The City Clerk's office is in receipt of request for records under the California Public Records Act. A response as to the availability of records will be provided on or before July 23, 2018 (the 10-day response falls on a Sunday).

The fee for duplication of documents is $.25 per page. Once the documents have been compiled and the number of pages can be determined, you will be notified of the estimated cost.
Regards,

Dani M. Rogers, CMC
Deputy City Clerk
City of Chico
530-896-7253

From: Dan Rubins

Thank you for your speedy acknowledgement!
I understand this request may take some time to process. In the mean time, please let me know if there is anything I can do to make fulfillment more manageable for your office.
Thanks,
Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins:

Due to the voluminous amount of records requested, specifically all city contracts, MOUs, and agreements for the past two years, the City is respectfully requesting that you narrow the scope of the request to a particular subject or department, and to narrow the timeframe of the request.

In regards to the request for the City's contract templates, the documents are exempt from disclosure as they are draft documents. The documents are being withheld pursuant to California Government Code 6254(a).

In regards to the City's policies and procedures for contract administration, the City's Policy and the Purchasing Manual are attached.

In regards to audit reports, the City's audit reports are available for public viewing on the City's website and can be found at the following link:

http://www.ci.chico.ca.us/finance/CAFRMainPage.asp

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Regards,

Dani M. Rogers, CMC
Deputy City Clerk
City of Chico
530-896-7253

From: Dan Rubins

Thank you for working with me on this request. The materials you sent are quite helpful.

For the first part of my request, I am primarily interested in the legal language in procurement documents, so attachments like plans, drawings, price lists or others without legal terms are not necessary, if that helps. We can also exclude contracts with a value under $5k (if there is no contract value assigned, please do provide the document). If there seem to be categories of highly repetitive documents other than standard employee agreements, please let me know and I can see if an existing template or a more limited request will be sufficient for this work. Perhaps we can start with a subset of records that are already in electronic form? The actual signature is not important, I am just looking for the version of the document that was executed. Finally, if any of the agreements are already online through agendas or meeting minutes, please let me know and we can easily exclude those documents from the request.

Thanks!
Dan Rubins
(415) 894-0240

From: Office Of The City Manager

Hi Dan,

It looks like the Finance Dept. was putting the agreements on our website for a period of time. Here is a link to the agreements:

http://www.ci.chico.ca.us/finance/PurchaseAgreements.asp

Please take a look at the agreements posted and see if you can obtain the information you are seeking.

Thank you,

Dani

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