I wanted to end my talk for now on Baltimore City Board of Estimates with two more examples of how the movement of money in the city is compromised. If you go to the meeting agenda for 10/24/2012 you will see on pages 24-31 you will see city employees and job positions. You will see people who are designated retirees being allowed to continue to work and although I haven't verified as of yet, I am sure they are getting retirement and a wage....you wouldn't be called a retiree if not. I am not disparaging any person in this statement, but when you have a city government besieged with calls for accountability and transparency you know that means department staffing shakeups are in order.
So, if you feel that there are problems in the Housing and Community Development Department as to how land use and tax breaks/grants are given out, then having a retiree that has worked the system for years as an accountant back at work is not a proactive approach to accountability.
If you know that Parks and Recreation has not been audited in decades and people are actually afraid of what is found....and copious records are known to be missing.....then having a retiree who has handling specs and cost estimates remain in place is not a proactive approach to accountability. An accounting analyst will work as a retiree in the same department. Another retiree in the State's Attorney General Office as an investigator will stay on. Now, remember, we have all of this fraud because of the inaction of the State's Attorney General Office. That department is underfunded and needs a flood of eager, willing unemployed law grads.
A WAIVER OF THE NUMBER OF HOURS A RETIREE MAY WORK AS STIPULATED IN AM 212-1 PART 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE MANUAL IS REQUESTED THAT LIMITS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HOURS THAT A RETIREE CAN WORK TO 1,200.
WHY DOES BALTIMORE NEED TO PAY PEOPLE DOUBLE RATHER THAN HIRE NEW, FRESH FACES?
Lastly I want to highlight a topic of discussion at this Board of Estimate meeting that was used by the Mayor's legal team over and over in justifying their allowing one company to rebid in order to win the contract. In 2010, Baltimore slipped an amendment to the charter on a ballot referendum that basically gave the Mayor by extension of her Finance Department the ability to set initial threshold amounts for contracts that must be approved by the Board of Estimates and/or contracts that have to be formally advertized. Now, what this did was give an already power heavy Mayor ever more power and it moved vital pieces of the procurement process out of the hands of the elected members of the Board and moved them to the Finance Department of which the Mayor controls. This had to be approved by the public and went to referendum and the public voted for the charter amendment giving extraordinary power to the Mayor on matters of procurement. I must say that it allows such broad interpretation of law as to account for all of the arbitrary awarding that has happened since 2010. Since it includes non-construction contracts, it also leaves the Living Wage laws open for circumvention, which is what we see now.
These charter amendments were attached to the 2010 ballot and voters approved them. I know there was no media coverage and I don't remember any talk on these issues......as happened with this year's bond issues. Do you think the citizens of Baltimore would have voted yes if they knew that all these charters are designed to pull money from the general funds into trusts that are basically feeding all of the Enterprise Zones development? Sustainability is great.....where are they sending the money? Surplus funds going to reduce capital bond fund used to expansive extent by O'Malley....how limiting....let's get rid of that restriction. Now we are floating bonds on credit.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!
2/3 OF CITY COUNCIL VOTED FOR THIS CENTRALIZATION OF POWER WITH THE MAYOR AT THE COUNCIL'S OWN LOSS VOICE ON THESE ESSENTIAL ISSUES. WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT? SO VOTERS WOULD NOT HOLD THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR BAD PROCUREMENT POLICY. IF THEY VOTED FOR THIS AMENDMENT, THEY GAVE UP YOUR VOICE ON MONEY ISSUES IN BALTIMORE!
I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT THESE POLICIES IN BALTIMORE ARE MIRRORED IN ANNAPOLIS. YOUR STATE INCUMBENT SUPPORTS THIS MARGINALIZATION OF THE PUBLIC'S VOICE!!!
Charter Amendment -Procurement FOR the purpose of establishing new procedures for
establishing and modifying certain bid threshold amounts,
bid and performance requirements, advertising requirements, award criteria, and other matters
governing procurement; and submitting this amendment to the qualified
voters of the City for adoption or rejection. 10-0499
Sponsors: City Council President (Administration) Jack Young......MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION At the request of: Department of Finance JUDICIARY AND LEGISLATIVE INVESTIGATIONS
Charter Amendment -Surplus Funds FOR the purpose of repealing a requirement for certain
unanticipated surplus funds to be transferred to a
capital bond fund appropriation reduction account
and used only for certain purposes; and submitting
this amendment to the qualified voters of the City for adoption or rejection. 09-0338
Sponsors: Belinda K. Conaway, Bernard C. 'Jack' Young, President
RawlingsBlake,Sharon Green Middleton, Agnes Welch,
Edward L. Reisinger, Mary Pat Clarke, Nicholas C.
D'Adamo, James B. Kraft, Warren Branch and Helen L. Holton
Charter Amendment -
Sustainability Funds FOR the purpose of expressly authorizing the
establishment of 1 or morecontinuing, nonlapsing funds to be used for
promoting sustainability and a clean and safe
environment in the City and for related purposes;
and submitting this amendment to the qualified
voters of the City for adoption or rejection. 08-0055
Sponsors: James B. Kraft, William H. Cole, IV, Bill Henry, Robert W.
Curran, Nicholas C. D'Adamo, Mary Pat Clarke and
Agnes Welch REPORTED FAVORABLE WITH AMENDMENT
THIS CHARTER AMENDMENT THAT NEVER MADE IT TO THE FLOOR FOR A VOTE.....LEAD BY BELINDA CONAWAY WHO RECEIVED A POWERFUL CHALLENGE AND LOST HER SEAT ON THE COUNCIL. IT LOOKS TO REMOVE APPOINTED OFFICIALS THAT GIVE THE MAYOR THE WIN ON ALL VOTES. YOU AND I DIDN'T GET TO VOTE ON THAT, BUT WE CAN PETITION IT TO REFERENDUM
Charter Amendment -
Board of Estimates - Composition
FOR the purpose of reconstituting the Board
of Estimates to comprise the Mayor, Comptroller,
and City Council President;
correcting, conforming, and clarifying related provisions; and submitting this amendment
to the qualified voters of the City for adoption or rejection. 10-0444
Sponsors: Belinda K. Conaway, Nicholas C. D'Adamo, Bill Henry,
Bernard C. 'Jack'Young, James B. Kraft Helen L. Holton and Sharon Green Middleton MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION JUDICIARY AND LEGISLATIVE INVESTIGATIONS
SO THE THREE ELECTED OFFICIALS ON THE BOARD OF ESTIMATES ARE ABSTAINING FROM VOTING MUCH OF THE TIME BECAUSE OF CONFLICTS SO THAT THE TWO APPOINTED MEMBERS ARE THE ONES VOTING ALL THE TIME.
DOES THAT SOUND LEGITIMATE TO YOU? ABSOLUTELY NOT! IF YOU HAVE CONFLICTS YOU SHOULD NOT BE ON THE BOARD! WHY AREN'T THOSE CONFLICTS KEEPING THEM OUT OF ELECTIVE PROCESS FOR CITY COUNCIL?
Board of Ethics to Jack Young: You can't vote on some issues Young's vote could cost him council seat, garner fine, nullify city contracts
UPDATED 8:28 PM EDT Jul 19, 2012 WBAL-TV 11
BALTIMORE — Baltimore's City Council president and member of the Board of Estimates can't legally or ethically vote on many important issues, the WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reported.
- From tough to mundane, Jack Young abstains A leading Baltimore lawmaker seeking re-election abstained from voting almost 200 times, including on some tough issues, the WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team has learned.
Jack Young has one of the most powerful positions in city government. As City Council president, he serves on the five-member Board of Estimates, which decides how city taxpayer money is spent.
Since coming into office, Young maintains that he abstains out of an abundance of caution to avoid even the slightest appearance of a conflict of interest -- an argument that let him off the hook on a number of tough issues, WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter David Collins said.
In September, the 11 News I-Team challenged Young's explanation. Since then, Young sought an opinion from the city's Board of Ethics, and some feel the ruling severely limits his ability to effectively serve.
The 11 News I-Team has learned that Young could lose his powerful seat, be fined and cause city contracts to become null and void by simply voting on issues related to three city agencies and two private entities. Referring to Young, Crenson said the ruling "basically handcuffs him."
"I think this is one of those cases where the law parts company with common sense," said Matthew Crenson, professor emeritus of political science at Johns Hopkins University.
According to the Board of Ethics opinion, Young must recuse himself from voting on all matters involving the following entities:
- Department of Public Works
- Baltimore Housing Authority
- The Mayor's Office of Information Technology
- Johns Hopkins Hospital
- a local head start center
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake abstained 48 times, and Comptroller Joan Pratt abstained 45 times during the same period.
Whether it is a failure to educate the public on public policy or whether to provide a picture of a news event in a biased fashion, Baltimore and Maryland are at the bottom nationally in captured news sources. If you still listen to NPR they are proud to announce that the only viewpoint you will receive from them is corporate Republican and corporate Third Way liberal. We are hearing no fiscal progressive news.....
I was proud to receive the support of a media integrity group for my work at Citizens Oversight Maryland. What it says is that having monitored the site they qualify the factual reporting that I do. Do I make a mistake now and then? Sure......not too often though! If you google Citizens Oversight Maryland you will see Project Censored attached to my site. I am honored to have that support.
Baltimore Brew Stirring up News and Views in Baltimore Maryland
SUPPORT BALTIMORE BREW FINANCIALLY TO KEEP INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IN BALTIMORE ALIVE!!!!
Baltimore’s goals for minority businesses often fall short Many City Hall contracts are given a waiver when they fail to meet minority and women's business targets
- Mark Reutter September 1, 2011 at 8:43 am
This Head Start operator in Reservoir Hill missed the city’s minority participation goal by a wide margin.
While extreme, this is not uncommon. The failure by vendors to meet so-called “participation goals” designed to make sure that non-white and women-run businesses are not left out of government contracting is a routine occurrence.
And just as routinely, the gap rarely merits comment from the city’s three top elected officials – Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt – who sit on the spending board and dole out what amounts to the meat and potatoes of local government.
Metro Delta Educational Programs, Inc., was awarded Head Start programs in Reservoir Hill and Penn North despite giving only a 1.16% share of the contract to minority and women businesses.
This contrasts with targets of 27% minority and 10% women set on the contract by the Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO).
Article 5, subtitle 28 of the Baltimore City Code calls on MWBOO to establish and monitor goals for minority (MBE) and women’s (WBE) businesses on city contracts. Missing these goals can be grounds for the Board of Estimates to reject a prime contractor’s bid.
But many contracts falling short of minority goals sail through the bidding process. Yesterday, for example, 18 contracts were brought before the board with this notation: “MWBOO granted a waiver.” All were approved by the board.
Instead of setting specific targets, the city increasingly follows the practice of asking contractors, especially developers working on community projects, to sign a letter pledging to comply with minority enterprise goals.
This was done last week with the Andrew Klein family, which plans to build a ShopRite supermarket in predominately-black Howard Park.
In other instances, minority contractors themselves ask for the targets to be dropped so they can bid as prime contractors.
While there are no hard and fast patterns, minority goals are most frequently met in construction projects such as road paving. They are least likely to be achieved on bids involving human services, consulting and proprietary software.
In the case of Metro Delta, the provider asserted that 86% of the items in its Head Start program were “proprietary and non-segmentable,” making participation by minority- and women-owned companies problematic.
The company ran into additional troubles when one of its subcontractors was not certified by the city and another ran afoul of state tax authorities.
Mayor’s Campaign Supporters
In other matters, the board yesterday approved about $15 million in spending. The Brew found four contracts awarded to firms that contributed to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s reelection campaign.
Here is a summary of the board’s actions:
• $2 million awarded to EA Engineering, Science & Technology to help the city Department of Transportation manage road construction projects – plus $365,699 to provide “on-call” services to the bureau of water and wastewater. The Rawlings-Blake campaign has picked up $3,000 from the Hunt Valley firm.
• $3,064,000 to E. Pikounis Construction Co. for the Clifton Park Recreation Center. The company gave $250 for the mayor’s reelection.
• $344,214 to KCI Technologies to provide environmental monitoring for the bureau of water and wastewater. The company kicked $4,000 into the mayor’s coffers.
• a $178,750 add-on to a $4,997,010 contract to R. E. Harrington Plumbing & Heating for “water appurtenance installations” for the bureau of water and wastewater. Harrington wrote a $4,000 check to the SRB campaign.
(NOTE: Rawlings-Blake voted to approve all four contracts. City Council President Young abstained on the Harrington, KCI and EA road contract. Comptroller Pratt abstained from the Pikounis and EA water contract.)
• $1,480,697 to Patton, Harris, Rust & Associates to provide engineering services to the bureau of water and wastewater for its Herring Run replacement sewer interceptor. The company did not contribute to the mayor’s reelection – or at least not through its corporate name.
• $1,759,327 to Baltimore Health Care Access to provide medical services for children up to age 19 and $3,293,542 to serve high-risk and hard-to-reach Medicaid-eligible residents. The services for the latter contract are described as “complaint resolution, consumer education, assistance with application for medical assistance programs and client linkages to relevant community program/services.”
These contracts were granted a waiver on minority participation by MWBOO.
• $1,536,150 to Overlea Caterers to operate food services for the Eating Together in Baltimore program for another year. The caterer was awarded the same amount last year.
• $324,801 to AIDS Interfaith Residential Services to provide direct services “to 10 low-income residents at the Don Miller House, a certified adult residential care facility.” The contract was granted a waiver by MWBOO.
• $200,000 to Servit to provide off-site disaster recovery services for the Baltimore City Circuit Court.
• $158,392 to Pikesville-based Lorenz, Inc., for mowing services for the Department of Parks and Recreation. Last month, Lorenz was awarded $887,939 to mow grass medians. 4-Evergreen Lawn Care (an MBE) and M.R. Fouts Lawn Care (a WBE) shared in the contract.
• $70,000 to Pitney-Bowes for a stamp machine used for the police department’s official mailings to citizens, government agencies and the courts. “Without these funds, the police department’s mail operations will cease,” the board was warned yesterday.
If you google Citizens Oversight Maryland you will now see this organization attached to my website!!!!
CHECK THIS SITE FOR NEWS THAT IS PROGRESSIVE AND NOT HEARD IN A CORPORATE MEDIA!!!
The Daily Censored was created in Late 2008 by former Project Censored intern Adam Armstrong with the hopes of establishing an uncensored platform that could enable writers and editors from around the world to report and discuss important issues that the media has censored. As an independent blog and news source, the Daily Censored works closely with many of the same staff and writers that make Project Censored the number one place to find underreported and non-reported news. Founded by Carl Jensen in 1976, Project Censored is a media research program working in cooperation with numerous independent media groups in the US. Project Censored’s principle objective is the training of SSU students in media research and First Amendment issues and the advocacy for, and protection of, free press rights in the United States. Project Censored has trained over 1,500 students in investigative research in the past three decades.
Through a partnership of faculty, students, and the community, Project Censored conducts research on important national news stories that are underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored by the US corporate media. Each year, Project Censored publishes a ranking of the top 25 most censored nationally important news stories in the yearbook, Censored: Media Democracy in Action, which is released in September. Recent Censored books have been published in Spanish, Italian and Arabic.
The Project works in cooperation with SSU academic classes Sociology of Media and Sociology of Censorship, where students earn credit for their research and participate in writing the annual yearbook. Additionally, Project Censored sponsors and supervises over 60 student interns a year who do in depth investigative research, sponsor campus events and speakers, and organize an annual national Media Accountability Conference. Students also participate in writing the Project Censored quarterly newsletter (circulation 9,000) and assist with maintaining the Project Censored website www.projectcensored.org, which receives over a million views a month from all over the world.
Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each year from journalists, scholars, librarians, and concerned citizens around the world. With the help of more than 200 Sonoma State University faculty, students, and community members, Project Censored reviews the story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national significance. The university community selects 25 stories to submit to the Project Censored panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. Current or previous national judges include: Noam Chomsky, Susan Faludi, George Gerbner, Sut Jhally, Frances Moore Lappe, Michael Parenti, Herbert I. Schiller, Barbara Seaman, Erna Smith, Mike Wallace and Howard Zinn. All 25 stories are featured in the yearbook, Censored: The News That Didn’t Make the News.
Project Censored is administered through the SSU Sociology Department with financial support from the SSU Instructionally Related Activity Fund2009 project sensored team , School of Social Science, Media Freedom Foundation Inc. and donations from thousands of supporters around the country.
2009 Project censored Team