Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of Placerville, CA.
Due Aug. 19, 2018
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


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.


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.


Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins,

This email is in response to your request for public records received via
email on July 18, 2018. To the extent that the records requested exist,
the City will comply with your request. While the records themselves may
not be confidential, they may contain confidential or exempt information.
In receiving the documents, if confidential or exempt information is
discovered, it will be redacted. At this time, it is unclear if the City
possesses materials relating to items 2-4. Additionally, the documents
relating to item 1 will likely be voluminous, as we would be including
engineering and construction agreements, which may contain large bid files
and other materials. I anticipate having these documents ready in the next
14 days, but I will also inform you of any fees prior to releasing the

Kind regards,

July 18, 2018
Regina O'Connell
City of Placerville Administration Dept.
City Clerk/Human Resource Officer

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins,

I am contacting you regarding your Public Records Act request directed to
the Office of the City Manager, City of Placerville in an effort to
clarify and focus your request so that the City can better provide you with
the records you want.

The City Clerk has previously responded to you and indicated that she hoped
to have the documents to you in approximately two weeks. Because of the
voluminous nature of documents which could be encompassed in #1 of your
request, it now appears that it will take considerably longer than two
weeks. The response time will be directly affected by your response to this

The contract documents for many projects may have several attachments with
them and incorporated into the contract. These attachments often include
the specifications for the project as well as the state standards and are
generally quite lengthy. Also many of the documents are not in an
electronic format.

The purpose of this inquiry is determine if you want all of the attachments
or just the contract itself. Also do you want documents that are not held
in electronic format. Because of the large volume of documents that are
subject to request #1 and the amount of work and staff time required to
retrieve those records, the City Manager has indicated that he is not
willing waive the fees/charges for this request. Additionally if the City
has to convert some records to an electronic format, pursuant to section
6253.9 of the California Government Code, you would be charged the cost for
such a conversion. Please advise as to how you would like to proceed.

If you would provide me with a contact phone number, we probably could
discuss this more efficiently as opposed to an exchange of several emails.
As I mentioned, our purpose is to get you the records that you want without
any unnecessary costs.

John Driscoll

John Driscoll
City Attorney
City of Placerville

From: Dan Rubins

Ms. O'Connell and Mr. Driscoll,

Thank you for your timely acknowledgment. I do not want to disrupt regular business so I understand if such a request takes some time, please let me know if additional response time is needed. I would be happy to narrow the request as well. Here is some clarification that I hope will answer some questions and perhaps limit the scope:

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. 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. 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 (415) 894-0240 if you have questions or need any clarification.

Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins,

Thank you for your email response. You helped clarify a number of issues.
As the City attempts to locate and assembles the requested documents, I
will contact you further as to what may or may not exist and what would
have to be converted to an electronic format.

John Driscoll
City Attorney
City of Placerville

From: Office Of The City Manager

Dear Mr. Rubins,

In working with the City Clerk to gather the requested records, we are a
bit confused. Item #1 seems to exclude employee agreements ( "other than
standard employee agreements") while in your email of August 2nd you
reference that with item #2 you are looking for templates for standard
employee agreements. Do you want only templates for employee agreements or
both templates and the actual executed agreements?

Once we have complied a list of the documents that may be responsive to
your request, I will review that list with you to make sure that you want
those documents as well as to determine if there were other documents that
you wanted.

John Driscoll
City Attorney
City of Placerville


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