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Saturday, 17 December 2011


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Barbara Stratton

I don't know how you found this example, but good work & thanks for the research. This is a real genuine effort to produce government transparency. Anything short of this is faux transparancy. Can you find out how the citizens were able to get this good faith transparancy enacted?

I am expecially concerned with the cloudy transparancy on RFP & bidding procedures within our county. Having spent 12 years in government construction contracting I know the detailed safeguards that have been enacted to protect the taxpayers from contracting fraud & crony capitalist back door agreements. It is my observation that these safeguards are being bypassed by end around tactics & the current popularity of public/private partnerships has a plethora of possiblities for good old boy system abuses. Recently a local contractor started work on an unfunded, unawarded government project that was exposed by the local newspaper. The city's answer to the illegal contracting procedures was to issue a contract change order for $143,807 with a 10% contingency. It has been my experience that anytime a contractor starts work on an unfunded project said contractor eats the cost of any work completed & all contractors are aware of this rule. In addition it is a dis-service to taxpayers for that amount of money to be awarded as a change order with no public discussion & no bidding process to make certain the work could not be done at a cheaper rate. Nothing personal to the contractor envolved, but if we citizens sit back & allow this type of end around to legal safeguards for bidding procedures then we are enabling possible crony capitalism (AKA good old boy system) abuses. At least one city council person questioned if bids had been obtained & was shut down by the statement that it was a change order. How many more multiple thousand dollar change orders can be expected to be tacked on? I think interrogatories of all bidding & contracting procedures for all governmental entities within our county need to be made public so citizens can be aware of how their interests are being protected. In addition if it is brought to the attention of public officials that it is possible for an existing contract to be rebid at a cheaper rate then said officials should be required to issue proper RFPs instead of issuing blanket change orders or contract extensions.

Citizens need to get a handle on how contract awards are being managed locally before public/private partnership permanently cloud the issues. In addition no public/private partnership should be entered into without full public disclosure & opportunity for public discussion. Once a public/private partnership is enacted open record transparancy is history because the private entity envolved can & will claim proprietary exclusions. Conflict of interest & kickback abuses can easily be hidden under these proprietary exclusions.

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