OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN!!
When Mayoral Candidate Dvonne Petruzzello confronted the Mayor Ron Loveridge and asked his to retract his 15% raise of his Chief of Staff Kristen Tillquist, no answer was given. If you are making $100,000.00 per year, a 15% raise means and additional $15,000.00, a 10% raise means $10,000.00, not to shabby in a down economy when the City of Riverside is expected to experience a $10,000,000.00 deficit this year according to City Manager Scott Barber. But, Oops, I did it again! Another 10% increase in the Mayors Office by Ron Loveridge, when many are not even getting a 1% increase or nothing at all. This was given March 2, 2012 to Community Relations Consultant Lizette Navarette per the Mayor’s request.
This is the third increase in the Mayor’s office, since Chief of Staff Kristin Tillquist with 15% raise in July 2011 and Assistant to the Mayor Eric Ustation with a 15% raise in August 2010. This we notes in our January 27, 2012 posting of CITY OF RIVERSIDE: MAYOR’S OFFICE: PEN$ION SPIKING: MR. ANGRY VS. MS. KINDNESS VS. MR. WARMTH?
BARBER BLOG REBUTTLE VERSUS THIRTY MILES!
I’d like to address this article because TMC posted an article recently that City Manager Scott Barber may have been referring to. His posting may have been in response to this article, CITY COUNCIL OVERSIGHT OF DISCRETIONARY SPENDING….A PATTERN OF FIDUCIARY NEGLIGENCE? There is no question regarding the legalities of the prior city managers discretionary spending. But why would the then City Council embrace a plan to give more spending power to an unelected individual? Referring of course, to the then City Manager Brad Hudson? This was done with little oversight by the responsible party themselves the Council and the Mayor. In addition, could we justify the spending as a benefit to the tax paying constituents? Was it bad business? Or was it just unethical? We can accept the fact that the Council passed it’s authority to the city manager, but what justifies their abusive spending? or can we even justify that? We find passed city council member such mayoral candidate Ed Adkison, Frank Schiavone, Dom Betro, Steve Adams, Art Gage, Nancy Hart, Andy Melendrez and Ron Loveridge gave free rein to this management entity that to this day continues to have a track record of inappropriate spending, even now in Sacramento. What are we to believe when this so called legal entity is set up for abuse and special interest. There have been instances whereby the city manager has cut 12 checks in one day. There has been instances, whereby the city manager has cut checks just under the $50,000.00 cap, several or multiple times overting the rule that anything over $50,000.00 must be brought to Council. How does one answer that? Filthy Fifty thousand is a lot to be allowed without oversight and it appeared that Council was unaware to what extent the city manager was spending, until Mayoral Candidate Dvonne Pitruzzello asked for the city managers discretionary spending back in May of 2011. If it wasn’t for her, the council would have been non the wiser, and the spending would have continued and City Manager Brad Hudson may have well still be here, as well as Public Works Director Siobhan Foster, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer/Assistant City Manager Paul Sundeen etc.
Regarding the legalities of the discretionary spending we are aware and accept the fact of it’s legalities, and of course, there was nothing wrong according to the charter. Before City Manager Brad Hudson in 2005, there was City Manager George Carvahlos. Wasn’t he fired by the then City Council, and replaced by Brad Hudson, with the help of Ed Adkison and Frank Schiavone? His discretionary spending cap without having the item go to City Council was $25,000.00. A cascade of events then occurred and City Manager George Carvahlos was fired by City Council, incidently Mayoral Candidate Ed Adkison was one of those council members. Once Hudson took over, the Council and Mayor upgraded the spending to $50,000.00, an increase of a 100%, without the item having to go to Council for approval. This in essence gave more discretionary power in spending to the City Manager with little oversight or transperancy. Our position was that this new spending limit was set up for abuse. Especially Hudson who had a felony credit card fraud violation on record. There was no cap on the amount Hudson could spend. He could spend $49,000 one day, and spend $49,000 the next, all well under the $50,000 per item expense. We believe that Charter Section 419 gave to much authority to a non-elected official without transparency. Charter Section 1109 states that if a project exceeds the discretionary spending limit of 50K it must go to City Council or the Public Utility Board. The following demonstrates 12 payouts (highlighted in yellow) in one day, in 2008 Webb Engineering, totaling $55,000.00. Obviously over the $55,000.00 without City Council approval.
Or in 2006, the City of Riverside paid 8 individual payments on 05/04/2006 totaling $57.500.00 to Webb Engineering. Again over the $50,000.00 discretionary cap that needed to be brought to city council again. What are we to believe?
Or in 2007 for Ironwood Construction, 6 payouts on 08/03/2007 totaling $54,005.18, again exceeding the $50,000.00 cap.
Nothing in Scott’s blog addresses the excessiveness of this spending. But I also question the expenditures in the sense of how many were proper and necessary expenditures that had a real benefit to the constituents of the City? Further, did the Council ever review Hudson’s discretionary spending? To many residents in the City of Riverside, the answer is no!
The discretionary spending for one thing gives extreme authority for a non elected position which would be the city manager. Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money. The vague language of the spending gave way to questions of bid splitting. What is bid splitting? A fraudulent scheme in which a large project is split into several component projects so that each sectional contract falls below the mandatory bidding level, thereby avoiding the competitive bidding process. I’m not saying this actually occurred, but an explanation of 12 expenditures in one day needs answering and these expenditures totaling $55,000.00 in one day needs answering. These payouts were over and above the $50,000.00 cap, according to city charter, pay out without City Council approval.
Bid splitting occurs when a public agency takes a project, service, or goods and breaks the procurement up into smaller dollar amounts. Some public agencies, when faced with various bid limits that require them to seek competition above a certain dollar amount, will break up the work into smaller procurements in order to stay under the competitive requirements. They then make a selection based on less formal bidding requirements or award a contract without any competition, depending on the thresholds. Auditors frequently criticize public agencies for splitting bids in order to come in less than the competitive bidding dollar amounts, since such practices subvert the intent of competitive bidding. While this type of bid splitting may be expedient, it does not ensure that the public is obtaining the best prices for the work. Not to say this occurred with the City of Riverside, but an explanation is certainly in order. The mayor expects us to follow rules, but how are we to respect those rules when he doesn’t follow his own rules?
“THE ONE WHO DOES NOT REMEMBER HISTORY IS BOUND TO LIVE THROUGH IT AGAIN”.. – GEORGE SANTAYANA
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU. RATED ONE TWO STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE ( OUR PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIS PEOPLE)… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT! WE REALIZE IT’S TOUGH, SO HANG IN THERE.. COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS! EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT! THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM