Public Contracts (Office Of The City Manager)

Dan Rubins filed this request with the Office Of The City Manager of Santa Cruz, CA.
Multi Request Public Contracts
Est. Completion None
Fix Required


From: Muckrock Staff

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 { days }.


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

Good afternoon,

I am in receipt of your request for public records from the city of Santa Cruz. The City of Santa Cruz does not have a Contract Administration department and your request does not clearly define the departments from which you seek these records. Your request, as written, is overly broad however the City has interpreted your request as seeking the following. Please respond with clarification.

1. Contracts, Agreements and MOU's approved by City Council from July 24, 2016 to present.

2. Contract templates used by relevant departments, if available

3. Policies, procedures and/or training materials used to direct staff in contract administration, if available

4. Audit report/findings regarding contract administration, if available from July 24, 2016 to present

Thank you,

Kelly Thompson
Records Coordinator
City of Santa Cruz

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.

Regarding the first part of the request: 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.

Dan Rubins

From: Office Of The City Manager

Good morning,

A public records request must reasonably describe an identifiable record or records. As written, your request is not focused in a way that we can decipher what records are being sought. Templates or blank forms are considered "non-records", have no retention value and are used as a means to input data rather than convey information. The City has interpreted your request as seeking the following:

"Any Procurement contracts that were active at any time during the past two year period."

Please verify if this is an accurate assessment of your request. I will submit your request upon confirmation that this is what you are seeking. Contracts approved by City Council can be found on our website @

Should you need further assistance in formulating a focused request, please contact me.

Thank you,
Kelly Thompson
Records Coordinator
City of Santa Cruz

From: Office Of The City Manager

Good afternoon,
We have not received a response to our request for clarification. This request will be closed by end of business day today if we have not received a response from you. Should you wish to submit a new request, please use the link below and include the details we have requested to narrow the scope.
Kelly Thompson


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