Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of El Monte, CA.
Tracking #


Multi Request Public Contracts
Est. Completion July 15, 2019
Partially Completed


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.


Dan Rubins

From: Dan Rubins


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.

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

Good morning,

The City of El Monte is in receipt of your public records request. Your request will be processed accordingly. Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact our office Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm.


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Karina Casas
Office Assistant
11333 Valley Blvd,
El Monte. CA 91731
(626) 580-2001



Good afternoon Mr. Rubins:

This e-mail is a follow-up to our telphone conversation of July 3, 2019 concerning your request for public records submitted to the City of El Monte on June 20, 2019 (Request # 251) (See Request #251 Attached). My firm serves as City Attorney for the City of El Monte and we have been working with the City Clerk's Office in responding to your request.

As per our telephone conversation of July 3, 2019, per Government Code Section 6253(c)(1-4), the intends to avail itself of the right to extend the 10-day response period by an additional 14 days from the end of the initial 10-day response period. Accordingly, the City will provide its response on Monday, July 15, 2019.

As per our conversation, you have advised that as to Request Category #1 of Request #251, you are agreeable to limiting the City's production records to contracts that are already scanned and maintained in PDF format, subject to all other request parameters set forth in Request #251. Also per our conversation, recongizing that the there is a potentially voluminous number of contracts involved and given that that the search for such contracts will require consultation with multiple departments of the City, you have also advised that you are agreeable to the City producing any non-privileged, responsive records on a rolloing basis with the first batch to be provided purusant to the timeframe which we will spell out in our July 15, 2019 response letter. (We should have a better sense by then as to how soon we can beginning rolling out records). You have also advised that you are amenable to receiving these records on a flash drive or disc.

Finally, please understand that nothing in this e-mail confirmation should be construed as a waiver of the City's right to invoke any privileges which may legitimately apply to any of the records which you request or any priviliged information which may be contained in such records.

Thank you for your kind cooperation. We will circle back with you on July 15, 2019.

Richard Padilla, Partner

MOBILE: 626-627-1194
TEL: 213.744.0099 • FAX: 213.744.0093

Privileged and Confidential Communication
This e-mail message is intended only for the personal and confidential use of the designated recipients. This message may be an attorney-client communication, and as such is privileged and confidential. If the reader of this message is not an intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, use, dissemination, forwarding or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. Please notify us immediately by reply e-mail or telephone, and delete the original message and all attachments from your system.

From: Office Of The City Manager

Re: California Public Records Act Request received June 20, 2019.

Dear Mr. Rubins:

As required under California Government Code Section 6253(c), the attached letter is in response to your written records request pursuant to the California Public Records Act (California Govt. Code Section 6250 et seq.).


Karina Casas

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Karina Casas
Office Assistant
11333 Valley Blvd,
El Monte. CA 91731
(626) 580-2001

From: Office Of The City Manager

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Dan Rubins

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it. We have started our analysis of the documents and will process additional batches as we receive them.

Dan Rubins