Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

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

From: Dan Rubins

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the California Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

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

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

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

Mr. Rubins,

This will acknowledge receipt of your Public Records Act request by this office on July 18, 2018.

The City Clerk's Office will respond to your request in accordance with the timelines prescribed in the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.) by July 30, 2018 (office is closed on Fridays). Eric Danly, City Attorney, will respond formally to your request.

If you have any questions, please contact me or our City Attorney directly.

Sincerely,

Samantha Pascoe
City Clerk's Office, City of Petaluma
11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
Direct: 707.778.4575 Office: 707.778.4360
Hours: M-Th 8am-5pm - Closed Fridays
www.cityofpetaluma.net<http://www.cityofpetaluma.net/>

[cid:image004.jpg@01D092D2.0F161FC0]<http://cityofpetaluma.net/cclerk/index.html>

From: Dan Rubins

Thank you for the quick response! Following conversations with county and city officials in other parts of California, I would like to provide some clarification to limit the scope of responsive documents:

1. I am looking at the last couple years of legal language in documents, so plans, drawings, price lists or other attachments without legal terms are not necessary, if that helps. 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 significantly 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.

2. With templates, I am looking for documents like standard employee agreements instead of requesting a high volume of repetitive documents. Feel free to limit part 2 to documents that were actually used in the last 12 months.

3. Please feel free to exclude presentations, transcripts, and any audio or video recordings. Here, I am looking for the written policies, procedures, and instructions that are 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 any exist.

If any of the responsive records 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

Mr. Rubins,

The City’s responsive records to your requests are as follows:

* Agreement Templates for 2018 are here https://cityofpetaluma.sharefile.com/d-s85ae07d15eb4df3b.

* Council approved agreements through 2005 can be accessed from our City’s website here http://cityofpetaluma.net/cclerk/archives.html. The “Search Archives” function is quite useful for this type of research.

We do not have responsive documents for written policies/procedures, process narratives, or audit reports used in Contact Administration.

Please let me or Mr. Danly know if you need further assistance or have questions.

Sincerely,

Samantha Pascoe
City Clerk’s Office, City of Petaluma
11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
Direct: 707.778.4575 Office: 707.778.4360
Hours: M-Th 8am-5pm - Closed Fridays
www.cityofpetaluma.net<http://www.cityofpetaluma.net/>

[cid:image004.jpg@01D092D2.0F161FC0]<http://cityofpetaluma.net/cclerk/index.html>

From: Office Of The City Manager

Mr. Rubins,

This is in response to your request for agreement records of the City of Petaluma, listed below in this email string, and your follow-up email, below. I have also just tried to contact you by phone and left you a voicemail message, so if you would like to further discuss your request with me, please call.

As you know, we have already provided you electronic copies of the City’s standard agreement templates, as well as information on how to search on the City’s website for records of City Council-approved agreements, which are maintained on the City’s website for the period beginning January, 2005 through the present. Regarding your request for copies of contracting manuals and policies, the City does not maintain formal contracting manuals or policies and therefore does not possess records that are responsive to that part of your request.

With respect to the remainder of your request, unless you are able focus it further, because it covers such a vast array of records that are maintained in various forms throughout the City, literally thousands of pages of documents, and due to the extensive effort that would be involved in gathering and copying those records, we conclude that the public interest served by such effort and disclosure is clearly outweighed by the public interest in not devoting the City’s limited staff resources to that effort with such a questionable public benefit. (See, Gov’t. Code Section 6255, and American Civil Liberties Union v. Deukmejian (1982) 32 Cal. 3d 440.) This is particularly true in a case such as this where the City already makes available, on an ongoing basis, such extensive information regarding the City’s contracting program. It is difficult to see what further is to be gained from such an extensive document production request in terms of the public’s interest in knowing how the City of Petaluma conducts its contracting program. Accordingly, absent your working with the City to further narrow your request to address a more manageable volume of records, the City does not intend to produce further records in response to your request.

I am responsible for this response in my capacity as City Attorney in consultation with authorized representatives of my client the City of Petaluma.

If you would like to discuss your request further, please contact me.

Thank you.

Eric W. Danly
City Attorney, City of Petaluma
11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone: (707) 778-4362 Facsimile: (707) 206-6040
City Business Hours: M-Th 8am-5pm, closed Fridays

[city logo for email]<http://cityofpetaluma.net/cclerk/index.html>

The information contained in this e-mail message is intended only for the CONFIDENTIAL use of the designated addressee named above. The information transmitted is subject to the attorney-client privilege and/or represents confidential attorney work product. Recipients should not file copies of this email with publicly accessible records. If you are not the designated addressee named above or the authorized agent responsible for delivering it to the designated addressee, you received this document through inadvertent error and any further review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication by you or anyone else is strictly prohibited. IF YOU RECEIVED THIS COMMUNICATION IN ERROR, PLEASE NOTIFY US IMMEDIATELY BY TELEPHONING THE SENDER NAMED ABOVE AT 707-778-4362. Thank you.

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