Northern Star Rocks

Amanda Podgorny is bringing a very important story about city government to the fore, for which I am grateful.

“We checked with the city attorney to make sure there was no conflict of interest,” Wogen said.

Biernacki said that this issue of aldermen working on city contracts was on a list of various things that the council was to address as part of its longer term review and overhaul of financial policies.

Povlsen wanted to bring this issue before the council sooner.

“From my point of view, this is a lack of transparency,” Povlsen said. “We want to show that I am not a crook and that the city manager is not trying to do business out the back door.”

It’s a bit late for that.

Oh, and by the way: The issue of aldermen getting city contracts would not be on the table now if Ms. Podgorny hadn’t submitted certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests a few weeks ago. We are not fooled.

8 thoughts on “Northern Star Rocks”

  1. Lynn- Finally I can now equate our beloved Mayor Povlsen with Richard Nixon….my favorite quote:

    Povlsen said. “We want to show that I am not a crook and that the city manager is not trying to do business out the back door.”

  2. I would also like to be able to see if any of the final invoices had any extras to the original bid. Were the bids opened in public? These are a couple factors that could swing this one way or the other with regards to the city managers involvement.

    You are so spot on with the prevailing wage bit Kay. Many bids are won this way and whenever there is an opportunity for a change order, bam! that’s where the contractor makes up for the low bid.

  3. There were no public bids per se. What they did was verbally solicit quotes. I take this to mean Mr. Monas phoned people to ask them to submit quotes. I do not yet know how many quotes per project were/are required or if some projects require more quotes than others.

    Lots more questions come up with the press release and other docs, not the least of which is: what’s the $$ trigger for putting it out for public bid? Considering one of the invoices was for $19,500 it would appear that the threshold is $20,000, same as the trigger for requiring Council approval. This seems unusual. You’d expect to call somebody up for a quote if the bill is going to be around $500, but not $5000 and certainly $20,000 would be a very high threshold indeed.

    I also understand that Wogen reduced one of the project amounts by several thousand dollars but don’t know whether it was reduced to keep it under $20,000 or to ensure Wogen was the low bidder, or for some other reason.

    More info is needed to answer these questions but it’s safe to say that purchasing policies need a head-to-toe evaluation.

    Yesterday I FOIAed all that stuff. In about 10 days I should know way more.

  4. Does anyone know if and/or how Wogen voted on or approved the plans to tear down the Lincoln Highway property, before deciding to bid on the work? Or how it progressed? What were the dates of the Councils meetings that would have included this vote? Thanks–

  5. These are dates of relevant votes:

    January 14, 2008
    March 24, 2008
    August 11, 2008
    August 25, 2008
    September 22, 2008

    He voted “aye” on all but the last one, which was when his company was pursuing work as a subcontractor on a streetscape project.

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