It is a clone of this request.
|Multi Request||Public Contracts|
|Submitted||July 12, 2018|
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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 California Public Records Act, 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.
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.
I have not yet received a response to my public records request submitted on 7/23/18. As a reminder, the California Public Records Act requires an initial response within 10 calendar days. Also, I understand this is a large request, so I would like to provide some clarification and 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.
Dear Mr. Rubins,
This responds on behalf of the Shasta County Clerk of the Board to your Public Records Act requests, dated July 12, 2018; July 23, 2018; and August 3, 2018; respectively, which the County received for the first time on August 14, 2018. It is my understanding that the above-referenced letters from you arrived simultaneously via fax to our office on August 14, 2018. Each of the three letters includes a request for the same set of four categories of records.
The Shasta County website may contain records in which you are interested. Please see https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/support_index/personnel/MOUs.aspx for certain personnel-related MOUs. Some contracts that you may be interested in reviewing may be accessible online via the respective County Board agendas at https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/cob_index/agendas_minutes.aspx. In addition, a copy of the County's contract administration policy (Policy 6-101) is attached. You are welcome to peruse any of Shasta County's web pages at https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index.aspx for any additional information and records.
Otherwise, your request seeks an extremely broad category of records, including a large volume of contracts, including but not limited to all contracts, MOUs, and "equivalent agreements" within the last two years. The total number of records number in the hundreds, and possibly thousands, of separate documents. As such, your request does not appear to "make a focused and effective request that reasonably describes an identifiable record or records." (Gov. Code §§ 6253(b), 6253.1(a).) Nor is the request limited, focused and specific as required by law. (Rogers v. Superior Court (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 469, 480-481.) In addition, the Public Records Act is limited to writings prepared, owned, used or retained by a local agency. (Gov. Code § 6253(e).) It does not require the agency to create new records. (Fredericks v. Superior Court (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 209, 227.) Therefore, in order to further respond to your request, please contact me so that I can assist you with formulating a specific, focused request. The County will then determine what records, it has, if any responsive to your request and will make available all public, non-exempt records available to you.
Deputy Clerk of the Board
Shasta County Board of Supervisors
1450 Court Street Suite 308B
Redding, California 96001-1673
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