Four More Years

The Beaumont City Council approved a four year, undefined, sole source, non-competitive contract worth millions with Urban Logic tonight. Mayor Berg referred to myself and other citizens requesting the Council follow their own policy as ignorant detractors. Council Member Knight told us we were myopic. Council Member Castaldo put on about a 20 minute performance that was embarrassing, even for his standards. Council Member De Forge agreed with my position and requested the City publish a Request For Proposal (RFP) and accept open bids for services. Council Member Fox said he had wished the city had used the RFP process but he still thought the new contract was a good one. Fox voted along with Berg, Knight, and Castaldo to approve the contract. De Forge was the only one to ask for more transparency and voted against the agreement

Following is my address to the City Council regarding their decision to ignore their own procurement policy:

I implore you to delay your decision tonight and either follow the City’s procurement process or have the City Manager bring back a justification for not following the proper procurement process.

Urban Logic has a new owner. This is no longer the company you have been doing business with for 20 years. This is a new contract with a new company, a different scope of services and no specific dollar value agreed upon. This is not an amendment; it is an open ended sole source agreement that must go through the procurement process. Some will argue this contract is illegal; on its face I don’t believe it is. If you ignore your own procurement process it may become a legal liability.

I’ve reached out to local government consultants who tell me the standard operating procedure for a sole service agreement of this magnitude is to follow an established procurement process. They also related to me the pricing in this contract is on the high side and there should be documentation justifying paying higher than average pricing.

You are in the process of hiring a City Engineer. The new City Engineer will be responsible for signing the job cards. I believe the new city engineer should be involved in the selection process for this new four year contract. If the new Urban Logic owner feels his company has the most to offer Beaumont, he should welcome an open, competitive, bidding process. I believe the citizens of Beaumont have a right to evaluate the other talent available.

The contract before you tonight puts the responsibility of approving jobs and associated costs, in the hands of the City Staff. Why would you want to relinquish your oversight responsibility? It is in our best interest that each new project be brought to the council as an amendment to the existing contract.

You will be authorizing Urban Logic to mark up the cost to the city by 15% for work provided by subcontractors. This is a huge red flag for a non-competitive contract. There is too much room for abuse. To authorize future services that the contractor is unable to perform, without council oversight and a competitive bidding process, exposes the people of Beaumont to legal liability.

This new contract mentions “not to exceed” clauses in the job card procedures. Why doesn’t the overall contract have “not to exceed” annual limits. Wouldn’t it make sound financial sense to set annual limits and require the contractor to return to the council for amendments to exceed the annual limits?

Recently, the City of La Quinta City Council was considering the renewal of their professional services contract with their consultant, Psomas. Their procurement process generated a number of proposals from which Psomas recognized their pricing could be more competitive. The City ended up renewing their contract with Psomas and the council negotiated a better deal for their citizens. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by following a standard procurement process, one outlined in the City’s municipal code.

Over the weekend I spoke to more than 40 of my neighbors and I assure you I am not alone in my opinion. Everyone I spoke to, without exception, is concerned about the management of our CFD funds. We pray you will remove this contract for consideration and bring it back for approval through the City of Beaumont’s standard procurement process.