Santa Ana spends $6,600 on City Manager Search Without A Contract

SANTA ANA — The problem for local government entities with transparency is that if you don’t operate transparently all the time, people tend to dig around to figure out what you’re up to. In the tragic case of the Banana Peel Republic of Santa Ana, they keep saying they’re transparent, but their actions say something completely different.

Last week I asked the City a few questions about the search for the City Manager, specifically how the search came to be on hold. What I learned only generated more questions. As I wrote last week, the search was apparently placed on hold by the City Council during a closed session discussion on July 18, 2011. That action was apparently news to at least three of the six members present at the meeting. I should point out that Councilman Sal Tinajero, one of the clueless ones including members Michele Martinez and Vince Sarmiento, was not present during the portion of the closed session that dealt with the City Manager search.

One of the questions I had asked was whether there was a contract, scope of work, and recruitment timeline for the search. I was told by City Public Information Officer Jose Gonzalez that he did not have the contract available to him to answer my question. On Monday morning I followed up with the City Clerk to ask to inspect, and receive a copy of the contract for the City Manager search. To my surprise I was told that no contract had been executed, therefore no contract was available for review.

What? No contract?

That’s odd. Gonzalez had suggested when we spoke last week that the City may have simply added the work for the City Manager search on to the existing contract for the City Attorney search, which maxes out at $25,000. But one would think that such an addition would be in writing, and therefore available for review. So I asked why there was no contract. City Clerk Maria Huizar indicated that the contract for the City Manager search had been sent over to the consultant about 3 weeks ago (around July 18th by my estimate) and the signed and executed contract had not been returned.

So I asked for the Invoices submitted by the search consultant Bob Murray & Associates since May 1, 2011. I got those invoices (here) late Tuesday afternoon.  It seems that the fact no contract is in place for the City Manager search has absolutely no impact on the contractor’s ability to start work on the project, and bill for services. Since May 16, 2011 Bob Murray & Associates has billed the City of Santa Ana $6,618.55 for services related to the City Manager search. During the same time period the city was invoiced $10,784.66 for the City Attorney search bringing the total to at least $17,403.21. I say “at least” because I did not initially ask for all of the invoices, just those from May forward. I have since requested all invoices and will adjust my figures accordingly once I hear back.

UPDATE : I heard back from the City Clerk and the contractor has exceeded the allowable costs for his consulting agreement by $5,238.49. The costs for the City Attorney recruitment have reached $23,639.94 of the allowable maximum of $25,000. Any contracted vendor exceeding that amount requires contract approval, in public, by the City Council. That hasn’t happened. The total amount invoiced is $30,258.49

Not the City of Bell?

I’ve got just one simple question; how do you spend public funds on a consultant without a contract in place before work begins? This is the same type of crap that went on in the City of Bell. Without a contract there is no accountability, no work plan, no deliverables. From an audit perspective this transaction would show up as an audit exception. And this City Council says that Santa Ana is Not the City of Bell. You could have fooled me.


Councilwoman Michele Martinez - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

And we learned this week that one of these rocket scientists on the City Council (Michele Martinez) wants to represent the people of Santa Ana, and part of Anaheim in the State Assembly. That would be a good example of promoting someone to their highest level of incompetence.

Just another day in the Banana Peel Republic of Santa Ana.

  10 comments for “Santa Ana spends $6,600 on City Manager Search Without A Contract

  1. Where's Andrew Galvin?
    August 10, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Where is the Orange County Registers Santa Ana reporter Andrew Galvin? How come it took this little ol’ blog to dig deep and do the research to find out that City Hall is wasting money?

  2. Art Pendejo
    August 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Because, like me, he has learned by kneeling down and sucking this council’s d_ck, you will be in the in crowd and the cat bird seat. Look what happened to Doug Irving. He never learned to stop questioning this Council and suck up. Laura Pulido made a call and that was the end of that. Chris, Sal will come and f_ck you up if you don’t start sucking up. You can be in the cat bird seat like me.

  3. Facebook BFF's
    August 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Leave poor Andrew Galvin alone. He and Michele Martinez are friends on Facebook and he gets to go out drinking with her and the rest of the Clowncil. In return he runs press releases for the city and writes puff pieces in the soon to be defunct OC Register.

  4. Marcus Wilson
    August 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Great reporting, Chris. Keep up the great work. Santa Ana “not” like Bell? Haha. You’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg. Keep digging and you’ll hit pay dirt. The stink will smell all the way to Bell and beyond.

  5. August 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Wow, the dirt is getting dirtier as putrid mud smells, what i can’t believe is how a clown like pulido has managed to a a dictatorship as porfiro diaz in mexico, aren’t oc the cream de la cream to let this happen, i guess bell is the sister city to santa ana no doubt!!

  6. SanTana LUVs U
    August 12, 2011 at 6:04 am

    It’d b great if The Liberal OC looked up how much the Council and Mayor r paid for their elected duties. I’ve heard it’s between $20,000-$30,000 —-> far less than Bell. Plus they’re all part-time positions, no?

    • August 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

      We have covered the pay and benefits of the Council before, THey are lised on the City website, though not easily located. That really has nothing to do with this matter,

      In the City of Bell the issue was the way they conducted business. The salaries of the Council members and executives was a symptom, not the problem or its cause.

  7. SanTana LUVs U
    August 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    To the contrary, I think it totally aggravates the problem. If our Council Members and the Mayor are part-time, then they obviously must take on outside work in order to make a livable income —> thus leaving them vulnerable to conflicts of interest and time constraints.

    If our elected officials held FULL-TIME positions, then we could really hold them accountable for any perceived lack of focus or job-conflict.

    How efficient can one be when holding down 2-3 jobs?

    Go onto the City website and you can see the Council video, minutes and agenda —> that’s waaaaaay better than the City of Bell.

    And since you’ve already looked into their income, why not post the link here for everyone?

    It’s not really productive to fling accusations and sensationalist rhetoric when your facts really don’t support your findings.

    While there ARE many unsavory issues at play in the City of Santa Ana, those responsible have largely fled the scene or are private businessmen. U know that.

    Santa Ana has one of the most progressive (and liberal) councils in the history of OC who now must pick up the pieces and remedy sum very VERY crappy situations. It’s divisive, unproductive and just plain sloppy reporting to continue bashing council for the sh*t sandwich they’ve inherited.

    How about moving beyond the conspiracies and focus on illuminating ways to fix the problems we’re collectively facing?

  8. Part Timer
    August 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    This city council is just like the city of Bell despite what Mr. Pedroza, Mill, or other SanTana resident aliases say.
    The council was elected to do a part time job for part time pay. This was never supposed to be a full time job and the position was not supposed to be for primary income. It used to be that serving on the city council was an honorable public service position. Not any more in this city.
    This city council has perverted the office and are doing things on the side and forming relationships with consultants, developers, and others, that are not requirements of their elected duties. In fact, these relationships in some cases directly conflict with their elected duty.
    Money and salaries were not the only issues in Bell. It was more the pattern and practice of insider deals, disregard for the benefit to the public that the elected officials were supposed to be working for, not being good responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ money, and getting involved in backroom deals with campaign contributors that makes the Santa Ana city council exactly like Bell.
    Some of the council members are micromanaging things in city hall, doing things staff should be involved with and leaving staff out of the loop. That’s why there’s no transparency on deals like this city manger search and the Chivas fiasco. Some council members are trying to get the city staff involved in things outside their domain. They are having excessive closed meetings and doing the business behind closed doors, in some cases without justification and against the public interest.
    That’s why the Santa Ana city council is really just exactly like the city of Bell.

  9. August 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    This council has been together since 2007; at what point do we stop blaming the problems in Santa Ana on previous councils? Have we forgotten the illegal campaign controbutions accepted by Council members Martinez, Tinajero and Benavides? Tinajero blamed it on staff and Michele asked residents to check with the city clerk on contributions to her campaign.

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