Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of Eureka, 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: Dan Rubins

Christine,
Thank you for speaking with me earlier today. I just left a voicemail, but wanted to follow up with an email as well. I looked through the documents available on the Eureka city website and found the approvals in the City Council agenda packets, but from what I can see, the actual agreements are not available online. I understand that because this request spans a number of departments, fulfilling it may take beyond the statutory limit. In the past, we have negotiated with other cities delivery schedules as long as 6 months; we're quite flexible when cities are responsive but under-resourced. Since we're doing this project for the public benefit we don't want to put unnecessary strain on public entities, but it looks like we will not be able to cancel the public records request. I also understand that people are out of the office so I'm happy to discuss in more detail as they return instead of interrupting vacation or personal time. Perhaps we can schedule a quick call after July 4th? I am available any time.
Thanks,
Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins,

Please see the City's response to your Public Records Act Request dated June 20, 2019.

Respectfully,

Christine Lopez, Legal Assistant
City Attorney's Office, City of Eureka
531 K Street, Room 209
Eureka, CA 95501
Telephone: (707) 441-4147

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

From: Dan Rubins

Ms. Lopez,
Thank you very much for providing a timely response as well as the spreadsheet with links to some of the agreements. I look forward to receiving additional materials as they are available. I understand we are asking for a lot of documents, so 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

Dear Mr. Rubins,

Thank you for your email below.

Please see attached the City’s response to your Public Records Act Request dated June 20, 2019.

Respectfully,

Christine Lopez, Legal Assistant
City Attorney’s Office, City of Eureka
531 K Street, Room 209
Eureka, CA 95501
Telephone: (707) 441-4147

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins,

Attached is the City's response to your Public Records Act request.

Respectfully,

Christine Lopez, Legal Assistant
City Attorney's Office, City of Eureka
531 K Street, Room 209
Eureka, CA 95501
Telephone: (707) 441-4147

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

From: Office Of The City Manager

Fantastic job in completing this enormous PRA! Thank you for all your hard work on this, pam

From: Office Of The City Manager

Thank you, Pam!

Respectfully,

Christine Lopez, Legal Assistant
City Attorney's Office, City of Eureka
531 K Street, Room 209
Eureka, CA 95501
Telephone: (707) 441-4147

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

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