Saturday, March 06, 2010

David Schrumm's "fact-finder"

If you read this article by the MRJs Jesse Buchanan about the ICMA report on the CPD, you may notice the bipartisan belief that the report includes few, if any, facts.

I voted against wasting this $5,000. Nonetheless, I can't help but wonder how Councilman Schrumm is feeling about his vote to hire this fact-finder.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

What is your point? Are we playing a game and because the report fizzled, you think that you bested someone else as you voted against it? Looking at the big picture, there is nothing to gloat about. We are no closer to a solution now than before.

Anonymous said...

What Tim is pointing out is that his way of fiscal responsibility would have saved this town $5,000.

Tim can gloat that he isn't the reason this town continues to waste money. I am surprised that Schrumm, who is usually pretty frugal, would have agreed to this. They must have been good salespeople to convince him that they were the answer.

Anonymous said...

What about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that "I don't believe in bid waivers" Republicans (including Tim) cost the taxpayers for their ideological party-line disapproval of waivers for trash collection and the school bus contract? Who's keeping score on that?

Anonymous said...

I think the score is $5000 to a quarter million.

Anonymous said...

Hey Cheshire Town Council, I have a great deal for you. I can sell you a slightly used bridge in Brooklyn for a steal. Let me know if you are interested.

Why do I get the feeling that some of these members respond to every Foreign Royalty family member that needs help while in exile?

Anonymous said...

Do you want to add in the 4.5% teachers contract that the dems pushed through??

You can continue to bring up the waivers, but in our town we have policies to put contracts up for bid. The dems liked to throw the contracts to their cronies without bids or they would figure out a way to cancel out bidding to get the contracs to their buddie (i.e. Norton Boiler).
Their is a long list of fiscal waste under the previous council.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous March 08, 2010 12:39 AM said...

"You can continue to bring up the waivers, but in our town we have policies to put contracts up for bid."

Cheshire Town Charter, Section 7-8, C.(11):
The Council may waive the provisions of this Section pertaining to bid requirements and may authorize a negotiated contract or a shortened notice schedule if deemed by it to be in the best interests of the Town. The Council may also authorize the Manager, the Board of Education, or the Public Building Commission to negotiate a contract with a vendor or vendors or to conduct bidding utilizing a restricted or prequalified list of bidders if deemed in the best interests of the Town.

The problem is, some of this Council have a hard time determining what is in the best interests of the Town, as opposed to sticking to their ideology.

FYI: The Charter and Code of Ordinances are on-line at the Town web site - maybe you should take a look and be informed!

Anonymous said...

I think that Tim’s is right. Schrumm ran for office and stated that he was a “real conservative”. He made an issue but the prior council's use of consultants and at his first meeting he voted to hire one and yes the report is a failure. Tim voted for what he believed and Schrumm voted as a politician and as a man who is true to his word. He should have defend the report and questions about what comes next after this attempt failed, too bad since this council has been working on it for almost five months.

Anonymous said...

"yes the report is a failure"

After reading the report one is left with the clear thought that the report is not a report but that the report is a proposal for the first phase of one very, very expensive effort to re-create a broken town department.

Coming full circle to how the report, I mean proposal, was developed one sees that yet again this town's municipal employees responsible for town procurements screwed it up.

The municipal managers in the procurement chain which provided this product would not last a month in for profit industry. They need to demonstrate improved performance and receive no pay raises and bonuses until performance improves - - -

It's not just the PD which is in need of a major overhaul.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous March 08, 2010 10:28 AM said...
"Coming full circle to how the report, I mean proposal, was developed one sees that yet again this town's municipal employees responsible for town procurements screwed it up.

The municipal managers in the procurement chain (what 'procurement chain' - how much staff do you think this town has?) which provided this product would not last a month in for profit industry. They need to demonstrate improved performance and receive no pay raises and bonuses until performance improves - - -"

Under these extreme circumstances, do you really think that this RFP was published without the Council and the Personnel Committee having some input??? I seriously doubt it!

Anonymous said...

You conveniently left out the prior 10 parts of that section which explain the entire bidding process and how it should be implemented.
Perhaps you should go back and re-read those.
It is of your opinion, that the TC should have deemed it "to the best interest of the town" to waive the bidding process.
As I see it and as stated in our town charter, Sec 7-8,C. (1-10), we have specific requirements on how we should award town contracts.
Please explain why you feel it was so necessary to waive the bidding process for those contracts?

It was more for the benefit of that council's buddies then anything else.
Playing Monday morning quarterback is always nice, but you can't say that you knew the bids would come in higher, you also couldn't say that over the long term of the contracts that we are saving money. Id we extended those contracts to this year and then put it out to bid, how do you know that over the term of these contracts that we aren't saving money.
I strongly urge you to read the charter yourself. Anyone can pick out what they want from it to back their suggestions, but the bottom line is we should put out contracts to bid so we don't have any speculation of impropriety.

Stop trying to teach people a lesson and try to learn a little yourself. Our charter says that we should get bids for contracts, with a small exception. You can;t tell me why these would be deemed important enough to waive the bidding process.

Anonymous said...

1:31 p.m. - -" much staff do you think this town has?..."

This town literally has many hundreds and possibly thousands of full time town employees. Clearly an organization that big spending tens of millions of dollars annually needs some sort of purchasing organization. Whoever is doing the procuring of goods and services is doing quite poorly if the town needs to spend 5 grand to get a self serving proposal to spend another hundred grand.

The town has too much staff when one considers the overall quality of the work products. Anyone think the proposed pool top replacement will be any better then the recent ICMA work product which was really a proposal to actually do work later? Anyone think doing nothing could turn out to be less expensive then just plowing ahead and spending for the sake of spending?

Which will cost abused tax payers less, rebuilding the PD or rebuilding the pool?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous March 08, 2010 10:51 PM said...

"7:24 You conveniently left out the prior 10 parts of that section which explain the entire bidding process and how it should be implemented."

I didn't conveniently leave out anything - the point being, that the Charter DOES allow bid waivers under certain conditions. This was to correct the impression some got that waivers were not allowed and that waivers are necessarily a bad idea. Under circumstances such as granting a waiver for negotiating to extend a contract with a current vendor, whose services are satisfactory, would be such an example. At no time did I say that bid waivers should happen every day. This is where the Council, in it's discretion analyzes a purchasing situation that is neither black nor white. But some can't make a decision based on shades of gray. These are the fine points that some just don't get.

Anonymous said...

Explain, in your opinion, why the council should have waived the bid process on 2 of the largest contracts the town has?

You must present facts that would only have been available prior to the bid process. This will show you that there was no reason to waive the process at that time.

In a down economy, many businesses are willing to cut their margin in order to get business.

Anonymous said...

Check the record and read the notes regarding discussions on the AJ Waste and DATTCO bid waiver...
There was information provided, and confirmed, that indicated prices within the market has risen since the last time the bids were awarded. In both cases, the vender offered to extend the contract at a rate that was lower then the amount current bids were being awarded at in towns throughout the state. Given this information, and the further information that the current vender would not hold the price it was offereing if this went out to bid, it was obvious and well known that the bids that were going to come in were almost certain to be higher then the extension being offered. It is in fact why there were discussions to extend the contrat and, in order to do so, waive the bid. It was well known that it would be in the financial interest of the town because the negotiated price would be lower then a bid.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should go back and look over the information again. Your memory may be fuzzy.
The Dattco Company offered a non-bid contract that was 4.6% increas the 1st year and 4% increase each of the next 4 years. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities had only 2 districts reply to their transpotation contracts. Portland waived their bid and got 3.0% the 1st year and 3.5% the other years. Manchester went to bid and got 3% for 2 years.This info needs to be looked at carefully since different districts have different hours of use as well as other factor such as fuel included and not included.
Still not enough info to say lets waive the bid.
D. Florio was asked outright by Sheldon Dill if he thought we could save money by going out to bid and he replied yes.
IMO Dattco took advantage of us and we should remember that when we are getting to the end of the contract.
The AJ Waste contract went to bid because it is a $1 million contract and it should. The council was looking towards automated trash hauling to save money. The Solid Waste committee was late in getting this info to the council and their backs were against the wall. They felt that if they were going to automated the haulers would want longer term contracts to off set their conversion costs.
Again, not a reason to waive the bid.

"It was well known that it would be in the financial interest of the town because the negotiated price would be lower then a bid."
Are you kidding? That's like saying the stock market will increase by 1000 points in the next year. Nobody can predict that.
How would anyone know what the companies would be bidding?

You also need to remeber the volatility of the economy and if it continued to get worse, we could have really been screwed this year if we allowed a 1 year waiver. Nobody knew where the economy was going.

You must be a great gambler if you know what the future will hold.

Anonymous said...

How about when other municipalities TELL you that the waiver offer is a more than fair price. In the AJ case, the solid waste commitee wanted to look into automated pickup after the first year. AJ's offer would have allowed the town to research their options while adding a year to the current contract for less than 1%. Nobody needs a crystal ball to know that an increase of less than 1% on a contract bid will not happen. Tim was worried about AJ's "mob connection" and wanted to get a more "honest" hauler in town. Guess what happened - there was a lower bid than AJ. Came from a guy who has an entrage of FEDs following him wherever he goes.

I'm glad Tim voted against the waiver. Just another failure we can point out whenever Tim thinks he is all knowing

Anonymous said...

Not a great gambler, just knowledgable.
Again, check notes from those discussions.
1) The recyclable market had changed from the last time this went to bid. At that time, haulers were being paid for recyclables by the time this was being looked at, haulers had to pay to dispose of recyclables. Anyone bidding would build this cost into their bid so that this was paid for by the town. In return for a contract extension, AJ was willing to absorb the cost themselves. This is also why all of the bids came in so much higher.
2)There is an enormous start up cost to automated pickup. Given the financial picture and economic situation it was not the time for the town to take on this cost. There was one councilor who fought to have this looked into anyway, regardless of the financial picture. Companies did in fact bid on this and immediately it became apparent to both sides that there was no way the town could consider this option.
3) It is true that during hard economic times, things often come in at lower costs (i.e. new construction). Solid Waste is different though because it is a neccessity and their services will still be paid for regardless of the economy. There is no choice but to pay and get rid of trash... the only option a town has is to put the cost on residents, but even then haulers are still being paid for their services. The scarcity of companiees equiped to provide this service to a municipality allows them to be free of economic restrictions. There is no incentive or need for them to cut prices in light of a tough economic times. This applies to bus services as well. Their largely unaffected by economic hardships because their service will be paid for... there is no other option.
But again, please get notes from the meetings on this. It makes clear what was known and what was not and when.

Anonymous said...

Posted this elsewhere, but is more appropriate here:

Instead of focusing on what the report failed to deliver, read what it does say! Independent people found that there ARE significant, serious problems affecting productivity at all ranks of the CPD. So to further dismiss the issues as "communication problems" or "management style" is oversimplifying and doing a great disservice to all involved. Thats what led to this mess in the first place.

ICMA did specify: "lack of a strategic plan", "lack of communicating vision", "lack of a system to evaluate performance benchmarks", even "senior members feel [the dept] is adrift without focus or direction."

I'm no CEO, but it seems to me that ALL of those issues are solely the responsibility of the Chief of Police. The union, nor any of its members I don't think, would be charged with setting direction or vision for the CPD.

It also says that these have been festering for some time. Doesn't the department head report goals and vision to the Town Manager at least annually? I assume the TM evaluates if those objectives have been met each year. Looks like each has failed consistently.