Thursday, May 28, 2009

The $150,000 building consultant failed

The $150,000 building assessment consultant failed - thankfully. As I stated, there's no need to spend this money now. Using town staff and performance contracts, we could get much (though I doubt all) of this work done in-house... and with guaranteed cost-savings.

Unsurprisingly, several members of Cheshire's Political Class insisted I was wrong about the capability of staff. Thing is... Cheshire's Political Class live in a world in which there is no accountability (or at least not if you promise absolute loyalty)... and therefore, the Town's organizational chart remains populated with the same individuals. In the real world, this wouldn't happen. People incapable of doing their job would be gone. Too bad we have to wait five months to see if we can find five votes to make those changes.

Anyone notice when Councilman Altieri said he intended to bring the consultant back for another vote? I certainly did. So after the meeting I suggested that he at least learn more about a less expensive building assessment consultant - BL Companies in Meriden. They were the second favorite company in the RFP.

BL Companies is local; they offered a proposal for (I think) $30,000 less; they could use the work... and the only drawback is they don't have the bells & whistles... as described by one person who was very close to the process. Anyone happen to know the taxpayer in town who wants to spend $30,000 for bells & whistles?

Regardless, Cheshire's Bureaucrats insist on only the best at any cost!

I'm so tired of their spending habits. Whether I run or not... whether I win or not... I certainly hope the next Council includes five people who are willing to hold staff accountable for their performance (or lack thereof)... and their never ending requests for more money... even in the midst of The Great Recession.

Probably more on this tomorrow. But I'm gonna hit the sack in a minute.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

What do you mean "Whether I run or not"?

I speak for many residents in this town, we need you to help keep them honest. Even when they try to deceive the tax payers, you are there to remind them that they work for us, not themselves. The spending 5 will fight you on that, but you at ;east stand up to them.

Please run again, Cheshire needs you!

Anonymous said...

RE: Cheshire's Political Class live in a world in which there is no accountability ... In the real world, this wouldn't happen. People incapable of doing their job would be gone.

"Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole (town); you who were deputized here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves grievous! So! In the name of God, just go!”-- Oliver Cromwell, 1653

Anonymous said...

"Cheshire's Bureaucrats insist on only the best at any cost"

Did you mean they insist on their favorite contractor at any cost?


If it were not for you, we would certainly be in the dark and that's the way the Dems and their special interest friends would like the town to return to.

Continue to keep us informed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "requests for money" - The Boe's 5 Year Capital Plan includes $500,000 for a new building to be built in the CHS athletic complex. It will be a combination of a new locker room, bathrooms, & concession stand.

There's also money requested for the replacement of the track.

So in this difficult budget and the ones to come, not only do they want a $525,000 turf field, they want another 1/2 million for this building, plus a new track.

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

If you read the entire article, you would have seen the estimated cost to REPAIR the existing facility is $750,000-800,000. To make the room larger and more appropriate for the amount of teams and people to use, it would cost OVER ONE MILLION.

The new construction is clearly the way to go as a cheaper and more effective measure to solve the existing problem.

Anonymous said...

Mike Milone disgreed the staff in Town could conduct this assessment. IT IS TIME FOR HIM TO LEAVE. I hope this is a priority with the next council.
Here is a start: To replace the (8) school buildings alone would cost upwards of $1 BILLION $$$$

Anonymous said...

"...Milone said the assessment would have provided the town with a rational plan for adjusting ongoing building needs..."

Amazing, the TM understands the need for rational plans. Normally large organizations that possess and use numerous large buildings and facilities have an engineering and a maintenance organization staffed by experienced processionals and managed by experienced professionals.

These professionals, both licensed and unlicensed understand and are experienced in all the issues associated with using buildings and machinery on a day-to-day basis. They know how to assess conditions and plan short term and long term.

After about 10 years our TM now recognizes this would be nice to have. For that matter the town has possessed many buildings and much machinery for way more than 10 years too. Could it be nothing was ever looked at or evaluated or planned for ever?

So what happened? How come we woke up in 2009 and decided, Oops, time to spend $150k for some outside help so we could play catch up and begin to understand if anything is broke and if anything needs fixing?

Clearly, some things are broke and some things need fixing. Unfortunately maybe before we take a hard look at low hanging fruit like the buildings and equipment we need to look a bit higher.

It is time to understand how come the types of information the consultant would uncover are not being routinely provided by the municipal employee management team. The town's tax payers deserve this information on a routine basis. The routine job descriptions for town employee management should require this responsibility in the first place.

Anonymous said...

How does one know what a consultant will say? Sometimes it is best to have outside eyes give input.

Anonymous said...

"If you read the entire article, you would have seen the estimated cost to REPAIR the existing facility is $750,000-800,000. To make the room larger and more appropriate for the amount of teams and people to use, it would cost OVER ONE MILLION"

How many estimates and who provided them on "making the room larger" or "repairing the existing room."

The article also made it sound as if a new building wouldn't require the same "disinfecting/sanitizing" efforts. Do they think germs won't grow or MRSA couldn't be contracted in a new locker room? lol

I'm not arguing the point that they may need a new locker room, but don't ask for $500,000 when you accepted $525,000 in a state grant for a turf field that is not necessary. If you can't return the $525,000 then request that it be used to cover the cost of the new building. That makes the most sense. Afterall, the grant was for "improvements to the athletic complex" and the building would be IN THE COMPLEX.

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

After rereading the article, the only mention of health is that the new facility would be cleaner. I am kind of lost as to where the statement about germs is coming from.

In construction, new is cheaper and easier than renovation. When renovating, a contractor has alot of material to deal with that is hidden inside walls and ceilings. If the contractor were to find something, such as wiring or hvac that does not meet code today, it needs to be addressed. Sometimes these things cannot be found until after demolition starts.

Tim should ask if the grant can be used for a lockerroom building on the property rather than the turf. It would make sense to have this kind of facility not only for lockerrooms, but as an area of refuge during storms. Another idea could be to see if any of the alternative energy ideas would work here. This could be a state of the art facility that residents could be proud of and save money too.

tim white said...

I recall the wording of the original proposal by Mary Fritz was for "funding for an athletic complex, including a turf field" or something along those lines.

But that was a real bill introduced by Mary. In the end, this money was appropriated using Former Speaker Crusher's annual slush fund of $12,000,000.

In fact, the $525,000 could still be reappropriated to absolutely anything (unless Jodi defunded it). But you'll never hear the Rubber Stampers admit this. Instead they choose to puff up their chests and get belligerent (sp??).

Btw, the turf is another example of where staff have no interest... staff just move it along... keeping the Rubber Stampers happy so they'll continue rubber stamping all staff decisions.

So chalk up those two issues (Richmond Glen & turf) as two issues this term in which staff haven't been interested... staff just went along.

You may also recall the Herald tattooing the Council for the turf. This was NBD though - from the perspective of the $30,000 advertising budget - because the owner of the advertising budget didn't care about the turf one way or another.

Also worth mentioning... the Rubber Stampers never even connected the dots on all this (until they read this)... or they would have directed staff to cheerlead the turf. But since staff was disinterested, the MSM felt it was ok to tattoo the Council.

Oh shoot... I forgot... the Rubber Stampers don't read this blog. After all, it's like "the bathroom wall."

Anonymous said...

Have you ever asked what the advertising budget is for?? I would assume it is for publishing public notices and not swaying votes

tim white said...

It's for legal notices, etc.

Those legal notices could be placed in any of the local papers.

During the budget process, I suggested we learn more about the MRJs weekly freebie as it has a larger circulation than the Herald.

Staff told me it was more expensive than the Herald. But before I asked staff, I called the MRJ. They initially indicated to me that their rates were higher than the Herald because placements in the weekly required a placement in the daily... and the daily placement made it more expensive. But they also indicated that they could provide volume discounts.

When I asked staff to further investigate, staff appeared to ignore a volume discount option. Instead they simply voiced concern about the cost prohibitive requirement of placement in the daily.

Anonymous said...

RE: When I asked staff to further investigate, staff appeared to ignore a volume discount option.

The Peter Principle (definition): the principle that "In a hierarchy, employees tend to rise to their levels of incompetence." (formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter).

tim white said...

But was it inadvertent or intentional?

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

The Record Journal charges more to run the ad in the weekly papers because they found there are more people looking at it. Acording to the advertising dept., they send out more "free-bee" papers than daily papers. That justifies charging a higher rate. Other towns probably get the discounted rate because they have multiple legal postings everyday. Wallingford, for example, posts every bid for every item the town buys. Their theory is if they want a 1 ton pickup truck, they can solicite offers than decide if the best offered price is better than the state bid price.

Anonymous said...

"...the MRJs weekly freebie as it has a larger circulation than the Herald."If you want to reach the Cheshire residents, the Cheshire Herald is where the notices should go. The MRJ may have a higher circulation, bur only 15% of the Cheshire residents get that paper. The New Haven Register and the Hartford Courant have more Cheshire subscribers then the MRJ. The Herald actually goes to around 85% of the residents.
Paying to put the notices in the Herald is probably a better way to go.

tim white said...

My understanding is that the MRJs weekly "Cheshire Post" has the highest circulation of any paper in town. If that's true, then the Cheshire Post makes more sense than the Cheshire Herald - depending on cost.

Of course, this may eventually be irrelevant as there is legislation in Hartford intended to eliminate the requirement for a placement in a local paper for legal notices.

When I read about that legislation, it said that the only people fighting the legislation were the newspapers. Why? Ad revenue.

Anonymous said...


Do you understand the difference between paid circulation and free distribution? It would seem to me that people who actually pay for something , such as The Cheshire Herald want it as opposed to the freebie provided by the Record-Journal which I get along with the other advertisements that I just toss out. Did you ever consider that just maybe town management is providing the best service to the residents for the lowest cost? Remember like most things in life you get what you pay for. What good are published legal notices if most citizens don't read them?

Anonymous said...


People working at newspapers, magazines and tv news have to make a living too.They are businesses.
I for one like to read what's going on in our town and the world. That includes reading legal notices. It's good that they are in the paper right under my nose. I don't think I (or most people) would bother to take the time to look online daily or weekly to see what meetings are coming up.

Maybe that is what our elected officials want, to keep the citizens in the dark. Out of sight out of mind.

What a shame.

tim white said...

Did you ever consider that just maybe town management is providing the best service to the residents for the lowest cost?Yes. That's why I wanted to learn more about other prices. As for your implication that people in town don't read the Cheshire Post, I disagree. I often have people tell me they read it.

tim white said...

The issues here are really quite big though... reaching far beyond Cheshire.

Newspaper (hard copy) circulation is down.

Online (soft copy) circulation is up.

Newspapers are raising prices

NYTimes rising to $2/copyand offering less investigative journalism

Mark Pazniokas laid offCombining those two issues will further erode journalism.

And nationwide, newspapers are trying to create a new revenue model

media revenue conference on monetizing online contentJournalism is changing and IMO the media barons brought it on themselves by getting away from hard-hitting reporting.

tim white said...

Personally, I'd love to see the newspaper industry recover. But the wo/men running the show don't seem to know what they're doing.

I believe if they let their reporters do their job (rather than telling them to "not stir the pot") and gave them the time to dig up the stories that need to be told... then the industry could recover. But until that happens, journalism's steady decline will continue.