Save Yourself - They Won't

   What are they agreeing to?

The city has an ordinance regulating the processing of contracts that are signed. Rarely is it followed.

Lafayette Code, starting at 2.200, states the council is the Contract Review Board. There is a resolution that ties into this ordinance that outlines when projects can just be given out or when they have to go to bid. Professionally run cities treat the contract review board as a separate board during meetings. Rather than just roll it all up into one, the professional boards enter and exit Contract Review Board sections of the meeting. Multnomah County is an example of that. When this council had it pointed out to them, they had no concept of what was being suggested. Lafayette, Professional...I could see how they might be confused.

When Perkins Park was redesigned, to the tune of over $150,000.00, the contract was not put to bid, per the ordinance requirements. They simply sent a fax to a couple landscapers. Yet the council disqualified all but the highest submission for undocumented reasons. They awarded the contract to C & D, who didn't have the legal right to even submit the documents. They had no contractor license, much less a General Contractor license (still don't), yet the council allowed them to work as a General Contractor on the project. The funny thing about this one is I didn't even realize what was going on. I was informed of the license status from Richard Olson. Ironically, he is the one, now, who is getting most of the work the city administrator is handing out, all without a bid process. So, is there a moral dilemma in this for Richard? I don't know. From where I sit, it looks like hypocrisy. But, he does sit on one of the city commissions, so I guess everyone is okay with that.

The purchasing resolution also states that the city administrator may award projects if the TOTAL amount of the entire project will be less than $15,000.00. Thus the title that Lafayette has locally for their city admin - the $15,000.00 king (or queen, depending on who is in the office). What the city admin and council fails to do, time after time, is to read the entire regulation. The ordinance says that authority may only be granted if the project was included in the current years' budget. Not a single project that has been approved this way was in the budget.

Did the auditor catch these items and call the council's attention to it? No. So, when everyone involved tells people we had a 'clean' audit, remember that. We pay well over $10,000.00 each year to have a sweep through our accounting system and a rubber stamp of approval. In fact, one year, the auditor put the wrong city's name in several spots of the Lafayette audit.

Final contracts, and the process of how they were awarded, is not made public. These documents are kept in the very locked, digital filing cabinet for staff and council  eyes only.

What can citizens do about this bogus use of contract awarding? Not a single thing. The city attorney advises that he will not prosecute the council or city administrator for wrong doing. He advises, incorrectly, that he works for them. What he fails to remember is that he works for the city entity (not the council or staff) and is failing to protect the entity's interests.

Not being able to prosecute a council for wrong doing is not the same as them not doing anything wrong. Over the next few months, I want you to remember that.