Hello, Augusta Commissioners, it's me again, your instigator out here in Lincoln County.
Y’all have a meeting tomorrow night. Hope you have fun. I won’t be there to see what you decide about the Heery Contract.
I decided to give you my 2 cents worth of observations and suggestions from up here in the pine woods.
1. Quit the blame game over ethics, gifts and donation. It sure looks from up this way that like the Bible says ALL have sinned and fallen short.
2. Forget Gallop and Associates being in this contract. That was decided 9 long years ago.
3. Ignore the so-called “Not-to-Exceed” Contract price. Those things are nearly always exceeded, just like this one has been -repeatedly.
By now you know that I have been digging into Augusta’s contracts for almost two years, after a spell in retirement, to see if I still had enough sense to make heads or tails of such things. All I can say is Oh Boy! Now I am all excited about marketing those old skills and some new ones I learned right down there in Augusta’s records. Getting to know y’all has been positive for me and I hope that it has been positive for Augusta.
I haven’t charged Augusta a dime, because I wanted to help the citizens as their advocate and the city as an evaluator. Now to be honest, the flip side of that is the ability to hold Augusta up as an example, for good or bad.
Enough of that. Now to common sense solutions.
1. The Commission in 2004 spent an hour and a half consuming 22 pages of meeting minutes trying to figure a backdoor way to put a controversial 3rd party designee under the contract. It completely skipped taking any time to do analysis of the 2.5 multiplier Heery wanted to charge and simply extended an ordinary purchase order into what became an $11 million contract. How much reduction would slicing and dicing the real numbers might have meant? $1.5 million? $2.5 million? Mr. Mason is right that its too late to question the 2.5 multiplier going back to 2003. The lesson is Never let a simple purchase order be expanded like this.
2. The City needs Heery. In fact Augusta needs a program management firm to support a lot more contracts. From the experience here, Heery is familiar with Augusta and would benefit by more work there. A reformed Augusta would be a feather in their cap. Work with Heery and preserve the positives.
3. The job description and qualifications represented by each these $125 to $200+ billing rates, inexcusably left out of the original contract, must be put into the contract. You need to know what you are paying for. Heery’s Mr. White attested to Commissioner Guilfoyle that the employees billed fall within such descriptions as the Federal General Services Administration uses. This needs to be verified.
4. The rates for 2014 and 2015 are at issue. Based upon Heery’s submission of data showing how the billing rates were marked up to 2.5 of wages and the knowledge that the Dukes and Gallop firms are subcontractors, it would seem that a very significant rate reduction from 2013 rates of a minimum of 10% is not only possible, but should be expected. Anything less will be the same sort of rushed Commission surrender that was seen with the October Tee Center vote.
5. Launch a full scale review of Augusta contract across the board. Heery could see additional hours as they support that effort.
If you can do these things, your commission will show that it can bounce back from a decade of mistakes with this contract. The Contractor will show a willingness to meet the people of Augusta in a full sense of compromise. I believe that would be lauded and rewarded with praise.
Being reasonable and responsible works if you try.
Update: On the afternoon of Monday, June 17, 2013, Augusta Administrator Fred Russell received a revised proposal from Heery that provides: “ A reduction in total cost from previous proposal of approximately $188,435or 11.44% for a revised estimated contract amount of $1,458,131” Included were provisions to remove the top three billing classifications and to reduce rates to the 2011 levels for the extension period.
Get the billing classification descriptions and qualifications in the extended contract and this could be the sort of contract extension the public should support.