Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of Monterey Park, CA.
Status
Rejected

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

Dan Rubins,

Thank you for submitting your records request to the City of Monterey Park.

I would like to ask if there is something in particular your are looking for in the agreements? Currently our agreements are not in our online records management system. I will have to go through my files and locate the agreements that match your search criteria.

I would appreciate you getting back to me with clarification.

Thank you,

Helena Cho, CMC
City Clerk's Office
City of Monterey Park
320 West Newmark Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 307-1362

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, I certainly don't want to be a burden.

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: Office Of The City Manager

Dan Rubins,

Thank you for getting back to me on my request for clarification. A majority of city agreements are on city approved templates. This year alone, the city has processed over 200 agreements. I will have to go through the agreements to determine which ones are not done on a city approved template.

I will reach out to you via phone on Monday to get a better understanding of the agreements you would like.

Thank you,

Helena Cho, CMC
City Clerk's Office
City of Monterey Park
320 West Newmark Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 307-1362

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dan Rubins,

Per our phone conversation, you stated that this request was sent to multiple municipal organizations. You also mentioned that this is a time consuming request and understand that it will take some time to fully respond. I appreciate you communicating this information and giving me the opportunity to respond to this request beyond the 10 day requirement.

I'm providing you with city agreement templates. I'm currently going through all active agreements to determine the agreements that did not use city templates. This will take some time so I appreciate your patience and understanding.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.
Regards,

Helena Cho, CMC
City Clerk's Office
City of Monterey Park
320 West Newmark Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 307-1362

From: Office Of The City Manager

Cho, Helena would like to recall the message, "California Public Records Act Request: Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)".

From: Office Of The City Manager

The request has been rejected by the agency.

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dan Rubins,

This email is in response to your public records request. Please see attached response letter, city policy, and link for agreements below. The original letter will be sent to you via USPS.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jv26lpjku9ajxzd/AAAStONemK9lAKBjeqE1LPEDa?dl=0

Thank you,

Helena Cho, CMC
City Clerk's Office
City of Monterey Park
320 West Newmark Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 307-1362

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