Money for nothing

Ben Holder has a very impressive and well documented post up about the Willow Oaks demolition project.  Ben’s work bolsters the Rhino’s coverage about how the City apparently over paid a local contractor who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, substantiate over $35,000 in work that they billed to the taxpayers of Greensboro.

A couple of weeks ago, Councilwoman Carmany was under the impression that the additional money was rightfully paid only after, “…staff overseeing the project confirmed that the additional work was indeed authorized and performed and the contractor submitted appropriate invoices documenting his additional expenses…” (emphasis mine).  City Manager Mitch Johnson assures the Council that supporting documents were in order in the video segment in Ben’s post. 

The documents posted, and this one especially, indicates that proper supporting documentation for the additional work was never submitted.  However, the city’s purchasing department was instructed by the city manager’s office to pay it anyway.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

If I, as a contactor in the private sector, were to bill someone for additional work without proper documention, my cutomer would tell me – in no uncertain terms –  I was delusional to even think they would consider such a request. 

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11 Comments

  1. Posted January 1, 2007 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    and mitch should be?

  2. Posted January 2, 2007 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    David 17% of the eligible voters believe everything is OK. So the question is how do we mobilize the 83% who didn’t care to get involved to see what the MSM doesn’t want to report.

    I’m surprised that even the local TV stations haven’t picked up on this, Ben has handed it on a silver platter again and not one of them has taken it and run. (Unless one of them is holding it for the February Sweeps.) Ben’s work has been hijacked by TV stations before, why not now?

  3. jc
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    what does Sandy have to say about this now?

  4. Posted January 2, 2007 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    jc,

    Sandy has not said one word. if she knew what was coming next she would make lots of space between herself and mitch.

  5. Posted January 2, 2007 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    You know I tried my hand at contracting a time or two but never did I ask a customer to pay more money then I quoted the job for. I quoted jobs too cheap because I didn’t know enough about the work I was trying to do but I ate the loss and placed my reputation above my profits. Good business– maybe not– but no one has accused me of cheating them.

    That said: On some occasions there might be problems that were undetectable when the job was quoted but when that happens a contractor had better get his things in order before he starts billing and those who pay the bill better have a damn good idea of the problem.

    In this particular instance new bids should have been submitted by several contractors for the extra work that was needed instead of allowing one contractor to simply jack up his bill.

  6. jc
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if she is still has that smirk on her face after reading the Rhino?

    Ben, I like the way you penned her the Virgin Mary’s Little Sister! Too funny.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Nick Scott
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    David,

    Valid points for sure. As a CEO of a large company it typically becomes necessary to depend on your direct reports to to update you on various issues or concerns. With over 3000 workers and a budget i believe of almost 400 million, this overpayment doesnt even equate to .000008 of the budget.

    Since Mitch was obviously not down on the work site looking for the extra demolition work, he probably had to make a decision based on recommendations from various staff members. Some of those conversation may not have been in the email or memo form as far as we know. I know Ben probably feels he has another gotcha to celebrate and perhaps he is right this time. It stikes me rather odd however that Mitch would openly state an untruth to Council and on live TV in the midst of the other issues going on. He may have repeated what was told to him at the time. Ultimately however, the City Manager is responsible for all employees and their mistakes.

  8. Posted January 2, 2007 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the potatoes involved are small ones, but that’s really not the point – at least to me.

    If a mistake was made, or if the overpayment was authorized for whatever the reason – that should be owned up to and then we can all move on. But after the evidence shows that proper documentation and multiple recommendations were over overruled or dismissed to say that every thing was proper just does not square with me.

    If this was proper and standard proceedure, something needs changing.

    $40k here, $40k there… pretty soon you are talking about real money.

  9. Posted January 2, 2007 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    It makes me sad that with all the good things that this city should be capable of, stupid things like this are more the rule than the exception. What else could have been done with that money to get homeless people off the streets or healthcare to poor folks or treatment for addicts? But no, all this time and money is wasted on stupidity. It’s pitiful really. That could have been a scholarship for one of those “aging out of the system” foster kids to go to UNCG! If I keep thinking about it I’ll scream in frustration.

  10. Jackrabbit Jackson
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    small potatoes yes. a pittance compared to the total budget.
    that’s not relevant. al capone went down on tax evasion.
    sometimes, when you know someone is corrupt, and you want them exposed, you have to take what you can get.

  11. Posted January 3, 2007 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

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