Tuesday August 7, 2012
By Al Gray
During the rampant hysteria of the Augusta Commission's July 17, 2012 meeting, a quiet, serious voice spoke. It should have been the loudest voice. It wasn't. It was the clear voice of reason. It came from this commissioner: Corey Johnson.
Mr. Johnson spoke of a dire need for a contracts expert to come in and straighten out Augusta's many contracts. He spoke of this needing to be a permanent position in government. You can hear his 1 minute contribution of wisdom here: (press play button in lower left hand corner of the screen)
Corey is showing astuteness and leadership during a meeting when those to either side were flailing like drowning men. Why is he right? These are known issues:
- A one-sided parking deck contract favoring the management company with a blank check and a $238,000 (based upon original plan) subsidy.
- A Tee Center Contract that provides an unlimited conduit into the general funds of Augusta.
- A recorded Kitchen Equipment partnership agreement that remains in effect while Augusta has paid nearly $1.4 million for equipment that is the responsibility of another party, according to those agreements.
- An Ambulance contract that bears a $1.3 million subsidy, whereas the same company apparently has a $400,000 subsidy in the neighboring county.
- A sewer plant contract that reimburses every conceivable cost, yet provides for a 12% fee and a separate $250,000 director fee.
- The problematic Mobility transit contract.
- Major cost-plus, guaranteed maximum price, contracts that have not had costs scrutinized to verify that the costs are actual costs.
- Myriad issues with medium and small contracts.
- Limited or nonexistent rights to audit contracts.
- Failure of Augusta Housing to obtain the actual costs before reimbursing Laney Walker contractors for housing unit construction.
Are the contractors writing their own meal tickets? The survey says “YES!”
Bravo, Commissioner Corey Johnson. You did the Augusta citizenry proud that night.
Let's have more of it.***