Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Commission Meeting June 30, 2011

The Waste Management contract is up tomorrow night. It is a completely different contract than was proposed earlier and significantly different than the RFP.

The latest version as seen on the detailed agenda at apparently changes the Waste Management outsourcing to only be for commercial and apartment buildings and leaves the city collecting the garbage at the single family homes, while maintaining side yard pickup.

Even discussing this on the dais tomorrow is a bad move. The city rejected a protest by Choice Environmental Systems saying that Choice had not scored well in the RFP. But the RFP is no longer the governing document. There has been substantial revision to the contract as proposed and the RFP response as accepted. This puts us in a bad legal position and as someone who has sold services to governments for many years, I would not hold back in challenging the awarding of this contract and I doubt that the losing bidders will either. It's just too transparently wrong.

What should happen is that the commission should vacate the contract, and start the evaluation process from the beginning with a properly evaluated study of the savings and the impact. If an RFP is pursued, it should match standard procedures as this one did not and the evaluation should be done publicly and transparently.

Let's talk about the "savings." on September 28, 2010, city manager Bob Pushkin stated clearly that the savings were at least $500,000 per year. This savings was not reflected in the budget, which had been delivered an hour before the commission meeting, and was not on the worksheet that he himself had used to prepare for the meeting that same afternoon. The most optimistic forecast for savings, achieved by eliminating side yard pickup from the single family homes was $80,000, or less than 2% of our operating budget.

Today the savings stands at around $50,000. 1% of our operating budget and we lose 5 employees and the flexibility to control our own garbage services.

The whole deal was so badly done that it really appears corrupt. Note that I said "appears". Maybe the city is that incompetent. I won't rule that out.

We are in serious financial trouble and a 1% reduction in our operating budget when our other costs remain soaring out of contral won't matter at all. That's a rounding error, not a savings.

The commission should vacate the RFP and instruct the administration to come back with something clean and transparent.

Further, I can't believe Waste Management wants our business so badly that they would be willing to accept the reduced contract terms and the taint of incompetence or corruption in order to win it. Businesses have to choose their customers well or they get dragged down.

Two other items of note on the agenda are the selection committees for the city manager search and the charter review board.

These are citizen advisory groups. The city manager group will evaluate the responses to the resumes submitted and make their recommendations to the commission for who should be interviewed. The commission can override the decision as they have final say. Since there is little hope that the commission will be transparent on the selection, it's more theatre than reality. The twins, Eddie and Connie Lim Kreps and Mrs. Vogel will vote as instructed regardless of any recommendations.

The charter review board matters - a great deal. Every decade or so, the charter is revised and this is where the governing document is formed. It was during such a revision that term limits were introduced, the city manager authority was established and other fundamentals of our government were formed.

The revised charter needs to contain a transparent bid process to prevent bad contracts, tax reform so that we are not arbitrarily taxed each time the commission fails to balance the budget and should contain significant process reforms.

A quick example - why exactly do we have the requirement that one commissioner must come from each neighborhood? It might make sense but it surely needs to be discussed.

Now Vice Mayor Connie Lim Kreps has requested two things respectively. (Since the Vice Mayor doesn't understand the word respectively, I will define it for her. First one, then the other. You know like, first the mayor signs checks, then if the mayor is not able, the vice mayor. It does not mean whatever.)

Vice Mayor Connie Lim Kreps wants the search committee to only look at candidates from South Florida. Her reasoning is that we had a city manager in the past who briefly worked in Washington state (and had twenty some odd years in Miami) and she was told she didn't like him. That's good enough for Connie Lim Kreps.

Vice Mayor Connie Lim Kreps also wants the members of the charter review board to be residents for at least five years. Considering that a full 1/4 of our population lives here less than five years, that's a bad idea for a democracy. So no matter what the qualifications and interest level are, these arrivistes are to be shunned. After all, they paid the highest prices for their houses or condos but they are NOCD (a trite expression meaning "Not our class, darling" used to describe vacuous snobs.)

Imagine if former presidents Carter, Bush, Clinton and Bush Redux all washed up in North Bay Village. We would have to tell them, sorry, no new people.

It's typical of a small mind to make sweeping decisions and not understand consequences, kind of like a five year old saying "I want it to never, ever rain again.", an unrestrained ego in search of adult supervision. I hope the nearly 2,000 new citiznes will not be summarily excluded from the selection committees.

Finally, going back to the money issues, I hope that acting city manager Robert Daniels, the former police chief, will look into exactly why the city has been providing both Dr. and Mrs. Vogel with cell phones for four years. The two numbers are 786 999 5454 and 786 877 1680 and it appears to be a violation of Florida State
Statute 838.016- Unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior. This
crime is a felony of the second degree.

For your convenience, here's the link to the statute.

Kevin Vericker
June 29, 2011

1 comment:

  1. was it done corruptly???? unless you can prove otherwise!!!!!! suggest you read the codes and learn to interpret them.


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