"We are worried about the continuing long term financial damage to our city"

From: Dianne Gardner [mailto:dtgardner@cfl.rr.com]
To: Ted Noftall
Subject: Re: A $35 million dollar disaster waiting to happen
Dear Ted, cityHall
Good observations!!
I too am very worried about the continuing long term financial damage to our city and the long term taxpayer commitments that are being made by this council and this mayor before an election can occur to save us.   3/2 votes repeatedly on disastrous projects including but not limited to Riverwalk, unfair distribution of TIF monies to only certain developers in the CRA, a proposed Sports Complex out on 415 that I think could break the city, the meter fiasco, Cypress Head renovations and improvements, unfunded liabilities of about 35 million dollars and consent agenda items which in my perception have become a stealth device to gloss over repeated financial errors and omissions by various departments including the most recent $411K ” honest mistake”.  I mean just read this entry below. Copied and pasted from Consent agenda for May 27, 2014.
Item 18 –        Change Order #1 to the current contract with Sunstate Meter & Supply, Inc. dated September 17, 2013
On September 17, 2013, City Council approved a contract with Sunstate Meter & Supply in the amount of $500,000 for the purchase of Neptune meters and associated parts. During the course of the year, staff inadvertently believedthe contract amount to be $1,000,000 and continued to purchase needed inventory items for the meter change out program. This resulted in purchases that exceeded the initial contract amount by $411,510.11. Utilities staff was notified of the error by Purchasing and no further purchases with Sunstate have been made. Subsequently, all purchases with Sunstate were reviewed and it was determined that supplies in the amount of $131,211.10, while necessary, were for items not listed in the original contract. A detailed listing of items is attached.
In order to cure the situation, Change Order #1 in the amount of $1,000,000 has been prepared to cover the cost of the materials purchased to date and add an additional $500,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year.  In addition, Amendment 1 to the original contract has been prepared to increase the scope to include the items purchased that were not within the scope of the original contract
Project:  None                       Funding Account No.:  40100001415000 (Warehouse)
Staff recommends waiving the bidding procedures and approving Amendment #1 to the contract with Sunstate Meter & Supply, approve Change Order #1 in the amount of $1,000,000 for the meter replacement program and authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to execute all required documents.
HUH??? ANOTHER CHANGE ORDER IS NOT THE CURE!  It’s more of the disease that afflicts this city. I guess I would ask if we are not going to make substantive changes to the way we are currently doing business, then how does our mayor and council propose to correct these problems? We lurch from one crisis to the next.
How does a department “overspend” by $411K on an account that is budgeted for $500K?   Do we have a system of well notated Purchase Orders in place, is there general and close supervision of employees as these items are ordered and then stocked and I am assuming inventoried on some kind of regular basis, and how does Finance not catch a mistake like this until we are at an overspend of $411K?  I mean who is looking at Funding Account No.: 40100001415000 (Warehouse).  I would think something like this would jump off the page at you.  Where and what are the internal controls? Whatever they are, either they are completely inadequate or no one is following them.  Do these managers sit down with these employees on at least a weekly basis to see exactly what they are doing?
Both of these departments are managed by 2 men who used to be city managers in their own rights. They should be both generalists and specialists in these most basic of business processes based on their resumes. And we are paying these men very very well. These are salaries and benefit packages that would compare very favorably to anything the private sector is paying for high end members of management in today’s market.  And both of these departments are coming off some terrible years.  And I am assuming these new guys were hired to trouble shoot, be proactive and not let these kinds of things happen anymore.  Heck…its just like the bad old days under the old city manager and that staff. Maybe it really is rocket science Ted.  I really do not get this. I know Dianne is old and struggles to get some of this stuff.  Can you explain it to me please?
Best regards,
Dianne Templeton Gardner

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