THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 7/8/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the July 8th, 2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the August 12th Regular Meeting Agenda packet.

IV. APPEARANCE OF CITIZENS

Over a dozen citizens spoke against my recent letter and consequential activities regarding school safety. I chose not to respond to them during the meeting (though I could have.)  Instead, after composing my thoughts about that entire day, I chose to respond here.

VII. CONSENT AGENDA 20 items total, 5 removed by Baughn (removed items detailed below remaining items), remaining 15 passed by unanimous vote The consent agenda is meant for “routine” items like meeting minutes, standard form resolutions, and appointments. Piling everything into the consent agenda in this manner is not in line with the Rules And Procedures “Order of Business” nor is it transparent to encourage council to blindly approve so many items of significance without discussion and individual votes.

Regarding waiving competitive bids (discussed here ), of the original $5.5M proposed last month in waived competitive bids, we’ve already approved $3.7M. The items on this agenda total around $1.7M. Other than time saved on smaller contracts ($50K or less) I found little in the way of true justification for not bidding out much of this work. We are precluding an unknown number of businesses from having the same opportunity as the firms who are not competing at large for taxpayer monies. The fact that we are providing an unfair advantage to so many firms makes the resolution on Marketplace Fairness a joke.

Prior to our meeting, my question for staff: : I’d like to get an idea of what % of expenditures that require bids are actually bid out compared to those that are waived.

Staff Reply: Our system does not allow for that type of comparison to be easily figured, however, with that being said I believe it is a low percentage. The following are the COR purchasing guidelines. Items over $25,000 require, advertisement, sealed bids and council approval. Items $2,501-$25,000, do not require advertisement and wherever possible, be based on at least three informally written competitive bids. If an invoice comes across my desk, over $2,500, without the proper back-up attached, I contact the department that submitted it and request the back-up documentation. These documents are stored and are available for the auditors to verify that procedures in purchasing have been followed. Items under $2,500 do not have specific requirements to purchase, however, individual departments may have their own requirements.

My question for staff: Does the $5M+ worth of no-bid expenditures on the original June 10th agenda cover all of the FY no-bid expenditures that exceed the ~$25K limit or will there be additional requests throughout the year for waived bids?

Staff Reply: It is my experience that these have only been taken to council once/year. There are special situations that may occur during the year that may require council approval if over $25,000, such as an Emergency Purchase, at which time a report of the purchase must be submitted to Council.

Remaining Approved Consent Agenda Items:

d. Nomination James W. Charles, Ill. to the OR Utility District Board of Commissioners.

e. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making awards to Poore’s Tree Service, Blank’s Tree Service, Wolf Tree Experts, Inc., and other suitable companies for tree removal and trimming services in the estimated amount of $35,000.

f. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making an award to Rogers Group, Inc., for emergency street resurfacing in the estimated amount of $150,000.

g. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making awards to Superior Pavement Marking, Inc., and Volunteer Pavement Marking, Inc., for street striping services in the estimated amount of $85,000. (last bid out November 2012)

h. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making awards to Curly Contracting, Bruce Long Company, C.K. Masonry Company, Inc., CIPP Technical Services, and other suitable companies as needed for minor manhole rehabilitation in the estimated amount of $50,000.

j. Contract renewal with Grid One Solutions, Inc., for meter reading and associated services July 31, 2014 in the estimated amount of $200,000.

m. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making awards to various area companies for the rental of heavy equipment on an as needed basis for Fiscal Year 2014 in the estimated amount of $100,000.

n. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making an award to Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., for employee uniforms and various other services in the estimated amount of $59,000.

o. Resolution making an award to Park Med Urgent Care for medical evaluations and drug and alcohol testing services for city employees in the estimated amount of $40,000 authorizing the City to renew said contract for up to two (2) additional one-year terms.

p. Resolution awarding Park Med Urgent Care for furnishing hazmat medical services for city employees in the estimated amount of $51,000  and authorizing the City to renew said contract for up to two (2) additional one-year terms.

q. Resolution amending Resolutions 2-9-11 and 4-22-2012 authorizing amendments to the Oral History Project Professional Services Agreements with Secret City Films and BBB Communications, LLC, to extend the contract terms through May 30, 2014 and to provide for $30,000 each in compensation.

r. Resolution to close the Inventory Fund, an Internal Service Fund, at the end of Fiscal Year 2013.

Items Removed from Consent Agenda

Note: Ellen Smith referred to my positions outlined below here as “obstructionism.” I can understand her discomfort given that she sat on council during the time that the city failed to properly respond to multiple EPA requests that eventually led to their mandate and subsequent higher water/sewer rates on our residents. However, I know and respect the fact that Ms. Smith is a strong proponent of transparency and would encourage her to support my proposal that the city conduct a lessons learned endeavor given the magnitude of our failures.

i. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making awards to Performance Contracting Group, Rather Sewer Inspection Services, Intuitive Technologies Inc., and other suitable companies as needed for sewer cleaning and CCTV inspection in the estimated amount of $200,000. Item tabled for lack of required unanimous support (I verbally opposed approving this item) Beehan, Miller & Hensley opposed the vote to table.

Note: I’d submitted questions to staff day after agenda posted but received no response. I found the staff explanation provided during the meeting lacking for the following reasons:

  • This item was presented as a “backup” funding source and therefore not a necessity
  • The Public Works admitted to over budgeting by as much as $200K in a previously waived item (water treatment chemicals) as well as over budgeting item l. below by $250K                 
  • Over the last 20 years, Public Works has negotiated $20M+ with another firm,  Lamar Dunn, further circumventing the bid process
  • The city refuses to accept responsibility for its failures leading up to the EPA mandate (read here)

k. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making awards to Integracon, Infor Global Solutions, Geo-Jobe GIS Consulting, ZI I Communications LLC, and other suitable companies as needed for furnishing temporary technical support in the estimated amount of $300,000. Garcia Garland moved to amend to approve all but the Infor Global Solutions contracts (which supported EPA mandate functions). Approved unanimously.

Note: Questions submitted to staff day after agenda posted, no response.

l. Resolution waiving competitive bids and making awards to Temp Systems Inc., Accountemps, Alternate Staffing Inc., Recruitwise, Staffing solutions, At-Work, and other suitable companies as needed for furnishing temporary employment services in the estimated amount of $475,000. Item tabled prior to discussion at the request of the city manager (I opposed approving this item in part because it was related to the EPA mandate and in part due to the answers provided to me below)

My question for staff: Having worked in this industry, I know that it is highly competitive. Why are we  primarily contracting with Alternate Staffing?

Staff Reply: Alternate Staffing works primarily with the Public Works  (PW) department. In the past, some agencies considered the PW temp jobs as light industrial and when the temporary worker showed up for work he may leave by lunchtime or after one day because he did not understand that it was outdoor work, in all elements, and not an inside warehouse job. Alternate Staffing lets the temporary worker know the situation prior to showing up for work and also does drug screening and background checks at no additional charge to the City.

My question for staff: Further, the documentation states that we only anticipate a need of $225K and that the additional amount is to be set aside if needed for EPA workers. I thought Public Works already had a funding contingency built into their annual budget for an additional 8 employees.

Staff Reply:  You are correct, after further discussion with the Public Works Department they have no need for any additional funds for the EPA related services and the amount can be reduced. In the past we have used up to $500K in a fiscal year and wanted to capture unforeseen temporary employment needs.

s. Resolution supporting the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act … commending United States Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker for their support …urging [passage] granting individual states the authority to streamline their sales tax laws and collect sales taxes directly from online retailers. Passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “nay”

Note: I could not justify expanding an already-bloated government that inherently believes itself to be the source of economic solutions while rendering itself exempt from accountability. Further, the notion that it would create “fairness” is misleading since there’s nothing preventing brick & mortar businesses from joining the world of ecommerce.

t. Second reading an ordinance to establish permission for dogs to be off-leash in city-owned dog parks. Passed unanimously

VIII. RESOLUTIONS

a. Contract renewal with the OR CVB to promote tourism in OR from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $300,000. (Reduced by over $100K from last year) Passed unanimously

b. A resolution removing Pedro Otaduy from the Beer Permit Board. Passed 5-1-1 with Baughn voting “Nay” and Garcia Garland Abstaining

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 7/8/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

  1. Ms Baughn:
    As a taxpayer and believer on the only meaning of governing, I appreciate your work very much.

    VII — COR Staff really provided no answer to your 2 questions. My humble opinion: what the system allows or not was not your question … a simple calculator and may be a couple of hours from the contracts/cost control expert would get you the answer; about the second question, again no answer but to me it sounds like they are always on the defensive which certainly obfuscates their interaction with council… couldn’t you have the last word in cases like this and leave it with …it was not an answer to the question…?

    I for one indeed appreciate your insightful and keen sense of what governing is. Regards; Ed

    1. Thank you, Ed. Unfortunately, I’ve learned early on that it is sometimes difficult to get straight answers to straight questions. Though it may be due, in part, to a communication issue, ultimately it is up to staff to justify their position/requests. My final word comes in the form of my vote.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s