Public Contracts

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of Ontario, CA.

It is a clone of this request.

Est. Completion None
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Partially 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: Office Of The City Manager

Good morning Mr. Rubins,
We have received your Public Records Request dated Friday, July 13, 2018. However, I have some questions regarding the information you have requested. Can you please contact me at (909) 395-2162 at your earliest convenience to discuss the information you are seeking?
Sincerely,
Tina Fernandez

Tina Fernandez
Senior Records Specialist
City Clerk / Records Management
(909) 395-2162

From: Dan Rubins

Ms. Fernandez,
Thanks for your speedy acknowledgement. I just called and got your voicemail, I'll try again later this afternoon.

In the mean time, because I know this seems like a large request and I want to be sure we do not place undue burden on your office, here is some clarification that I hope will answer some questions and possibly narrow the request:
1. We are looking at the legal language of documents, so plans, drawings, price lists or other things without legal terms are not necessary, if that helps narrow the request. Also, if there seem to be categories of highly repetitive documents other than standard employee agreements, please let me know and we can see if an existing template or a significantly limited request will be sufficient for our work.
2. With templates, I am looking for documents like standard employee agreements instead of requesting a high volume of repetitive documents. Please limit part 2 to documents that were actually used in the last 12 months, if that helps.
3. Please exclude presentations, transcripts, and any audio or video recordings. Here, I am looking for the written policies, procedures, and instructions that get used in Contract Administration.
4. Documents like process narratives, audit reports, and findings are important for this work, but presumably these documents are a small portion of the request.

If there is something particularly burdensome, like a type of search, or redacting personally identifiable information across a document type, please let me know. With just some limited detail, I am happy to see if there is another way to frame the request or even exclude a whole category of documents.

I truly appreciate your assistance and will try your number again this afternoon.

Thanks,

Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Tina Fernandez
Senior Records Specialist
City Clerk / Records Management
(909) 395-2162

From: Office Of The City Manager

Good afternoon Mr. Rubins,
Per our conversation yesterday afternoon, I have attached the agreement logs for 2017-2018.
Sincerely,
Tina Fernandez

Tina Fernandez
Senior Records Specialist
City Clerk / Records Management
(909) 395-2162

From: Dan Rubins

Thank you, this is very helpful. I will send you a list of the specific agreements that we are looking for later this week.

From: Office Of The City Manager

My pleasure, thank you for your response.
Sincerely,
Tina Fernandez

Tina Fernandez
Senior Records Specialist
City Clerk / Records Management
(909) 395-2162

From: Office Of The City Manager

Good afternoon Mr. Rubins,
In response to your Public Records Request received on July 13, 2018, attached are responsive documents regarding Items #2 and #3 of your request. However, there are no responsive documents available regarding Item #4. Also, as per our telephone conversation on July 16, 2018, I will be happy to provide the agreements you are seeking once I receive direction from you. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or contact me at (909) 395-2162.
Sincerely,
Tina Fernandez

Tina Fernandez
Senior Records Specialist
City Clerk / Records Management
(909) 395-2162

From: Dan Rubins

Ms. Fernandez,
Thank you so much for this information! I apologize that I have not yet returned the list of contracts we are interested in, but will work on that this week.
Thanks,
Dan Rubins

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