Opinion: Elk Grove Police Vehicle Maintenance 'Sweetheart' Deal

Below find the text of a public comment voiced during Wednesday night's Elk Grove City Council meeting. the comments were in regard to t...

Below find the text of a public comment voiced during Wednesday night's Elk Grove City Council meeting. the comments were in regard to the lawsuit filed by Downtown Ford in response to Elk Grove Ford being awarded a maintenance contract even though they were not the apparent low bidder.

It’s been quite some time since you’ve seen me up here at this podium and I believed the reason was that I was sitting back and watching this new council come together; work together; find a way to do the citizen’s business in a more open, transparent and ethical manner. And as I have sold some of you individually, I was starting to see what I believed was a convergence of sorts. After a bit of a rocky start, this council began to resemble a unified front. Quite a remarkable transition of sorts from where I sit as a citizen.

However, it didn’t seem to last too long. I want to share with you my concerns about the sweetheart deal that Elk Grove Ford managed to squeeze out of you two weeks ago.

First of all, let me say very plainly…I have NO horse in this race…no horse at all except my concerns for my tax dollars and the substantially poor judgment that was shown.

First, I believe my tax dollars were not wisely spent. EG Ford had already been awarded 500,000 dollars in Economic Aid in 2011 by this council; and now in 2012 they could not show their appreciation by submitting a proposal that was competitive?? Relying instead on the friendliness of this council to push their proposal over the more economically prudent proposal?

Next, I am concerned about the appearance of favoritism and a willingness of this council to set aside well established protocol; to set aside the recommendation of staff that clearly identified the more economically prudent proposal and without much though, set aside the “process” by which we should hold all vendors, businesses and citizens. I am very concerned that the “process” was manipulated for the benefit of a “friend” of the council. This should have every citizen worried for when is the process held scared and when is the process allowed to be manipulated?

Finally, I now see by the closed agenda that this EG Ford deal, while already costing us taxpayers more for services rendered than necessary; is going to be costing us citizens $300.00 a hour for legal representation by our contract attorney. The same contract attorney who advised the council on how to skirt around the legal issue in order to award the contract to the HIGHEST bidder.

I ask that you reconsider the entire process by which a company, who does not bring the lowest bid after being allowed a 5% discount for being a local vendor, can walk away to profit at the city’s and citizens expense. I ask that you remember that the process is in place to avoid troublesome situations that the one we find ourselves in today.

Thanks You.

Kathy Lee,
Elk Grove, Calif.

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Anonymous said...

This is interesting? I am not sure, but aren't the bids "sealed"? If this is true, how would this "impartial" or "no horse" person know what was bid? Highest or lowest?

I don't have access to that information, but would sure like to be that informed... Perhaps this person knows the outcome at "santa anita..."

Anonymous said...

Here's something to remember: Our tax dollars come from our local citizens AND businesses.

EG Ford pays taxes, creates local jobs for people who eat in our local restaurants and shop in our local stores.

Those are legitimate things to consider as well.

Anonymous said...

What should have occurred, and didn’t, because we wouldn't have had the pleasure of the political grandstanding for the cameras, is that the council should have pulled the consent item and brought it back as an agenda item for discussion.

Consent items are supposed to be noncontroversial. This item was anything but ho-hum!

Kathy Lee is correct about the process and she was right to stand up and remind the council. What is that old cliché, “Once you compromise on the little things. . .” As if $300,000 is a little thing!

I am sure Elk Grove Ford understood when they submitted their bid. However, by the comments it appears that the council needs a course in government procurement and the competitive bidding process.

I am sure they will get one in court by Judge Lloyd Connelly.

Anonymous said...

All the details were in the staff report for anyone to read. You can go to the city's website and look at the agenda and staff report if you're interested. If they were sealed at one point, they were spelted out right down to the penny for anyone to see if you just clicked on the staff report. Regarding a comment about considering all things, that is correct...but remember, we receive sale tax on only the "parts" because there is in tax on "labor costs". Downtown Ford indicated they would buy the "parts" in Elk Grove thus keeping those dollars in Elk Grove as well...so, considering those things, it may be EG Ford got the best deal of all.

Anonymous said...

True, EG Ford pays taxes..not sure about the shopping & eating in EG though. Do all the employees working there live in EG...I have no clue, but it's doubtful that a complete sales force could be found totally in this community. I believe Mr. EG Ford chose to live in Auburn rather than our fair city. That is his right to live where he pleases, except at the city council meeting he indicted he lived here.

All that being said, we have a lawsuit that shouldn't have happened. But then again, Mr. Attorney has a bigger pay check this year and all with just a few little words to a gullible city council.

Anonymous said...

It is this type or rationalization by the city council or any other government entity that can quickly develop into cronyism.

Anonymous said...

I saw the GM of EG Ford state that he bought a house here at the city counil meeting. If this is a lie, I find it difficult to believe that someone on the council didn't know this and correct him, or should I say, should have corrected him on the record.
If true, he's established that he can't be trusted and therefore by reference, we likley shouldn't trust his business and the service they provide or say that they provide. - I'll be taking my business elsewhere if this alleged lie is confirmed.

Shame on our city council!
I believe they have a Code of Ethics. Perhaps they should read it, I'm sure there's something in there about allowing applicants to lie when they now better and not informing the public.

Anonymous said...

I find these revelations interesting. I was upset that the city chose to spend our tax money to benfit a firm that was over $30,000 more than the lowest bid (even taking into account a 5% preference to local entities).
On top of the $30,000, we now have to foot the bill for our city to defend a law suit we'll likley lose. How much will that cost us?

This dealership couldn't meet the price of another dealership even after we gave them $500,000 as an enticement to set up here. It's obvious that our leaders are giving our city and our tax $$$ away.

What ever happened to the $500,000 we gave to a firm to start up a satelite office complex? The council was very proud of this at the time, but the company and our $$ is gone.

- Let's try to learn from our mistakes, not continue making the same poor business decisions.

- Our City Council needs to wake up and start doing what is right for those who entrusted them.

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, yea, that OfficeBay little project that the city shut the door on when anyone started asking questions about what happened to it. Was due to open up a year ago. I keep remembering Ms. Gill telling about her little trip to Fresno and doing her research and all the city council jumping on board throwing money around like we had just hit the jackpot. I'm wondering if we lost the whole $500,000 on it or just a portion.

IMO, citizens need to keep a better eye on all those "CONSENT" items on the agenda.(The Consent Calendar items are ones expected to be routine and noncontroversial.) That's where that little contract item was placed and one that will be /is cause for a big problem. It's under Consent item 8.11 on December 14th. http://www.elkgrovecity.org/documents/agendas/2011/ag-12-14-11.pdf

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