Unraveling Rick Allen Before His Time

By: The Arrowflinger

This is your Many Arrows Moment for Tuesday, June 18, 2013

If last Friday Morning, between 7:00 and 8:30 AM,  US Congressional District 12 candidate Rick Allen didn’t feel like a mouse between two cats, he should have.

Rick was on the Talk of the Town Show in Augusta with Renee and Doug to promote his newly-announced candidacy for that 12th District seat now held by the despised, at least in Republican circles, John Barrow the Democrat.

 Renee and Doug are probably just plain giddy about the $6 million that the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee is said to be spending on that race.  That is a lot of wampum for the media in good old Augusta, Georgia, with Renee and Doug figuring to receive a generous portion.

Before we start calling Rick the $6 million man, there is the not small matter of a primary to be fought and won. Talk of the Town figures to be in the thick of that mix on the way to Allen’s coronation as the GOP nominee……and in the flow of funds, first from Allen then from the RNCCC.

The feline grins around him will be seen in every media outlet on Augusta for the next 14 months. A poor mouse could get plumb frazzled to death being bandied and toyed with that long! Allen was on WGAC with Austin Rhodes the previous week, unwitting that the boys of Beasley were sizing up his wallet too.

Overturning Stone – rival John Stone- should be easy. What can go wrong? To the radio talkers, Rick will be more fun unraveling than a ball of yarn.

Stay tuned to Talk of the Town as this story develops Monday thru Friday from 7am – 9am streaming @ www.iTalkUS.com. And Live on 1230 AM!

Turn on the Austin Rhodes Show from 3 to 5 PM on WGAC AM 580 and FM 95.1.

Who knows, one day an Arrowflinger might call in.

TAF

Augusta Commissioners – On Being Responsible and Reasonable

Hello, Augusta Commissioners, it’s me again, your instigator out here in Lincoln County.
Y’all have a meeting tomorrow night. Hope you have fun. I won’t be there to see what you decide about the Heery Contract.

I decided to give you my 2 cents worth of observations and suggestions from up here in the pine woods.

1.    Quit the blame game over ethics, gifts and donation. It sure looks from up this way that like the Bible says ALL have sinned and fallen short.

2.    Forget Gallop and Associates being in this contract. That was decided 9 long years ago.

3.    Ignore the so-called “Not-to-Exceed” Contract price. Those things are nearly always exceeded, just like this one has been -repeatedly.

By now you know that I have been digging into Augusta’s contracts for almost two years, after a spell in retirement, to see if I still had enough sense to make heads or tails of such things. All I can say is Oh Boy! Now I am all excited about marketing those old skills and some new ones I learned right down there in Augusta’s records.  Getting to know y’all has been positive for me and I hope that it has been positive for Augusta.

I haven’t charged Augusta a dime, because I wanted to help the citizens as their advocate and the city as an evaluator. Now to be honest,  the flip side of that is the ability to hold Augusta up as an example, for good or bad.

Enough of that. Now to common sense solutions.

1.    The Commission in 2004 spent an hour and a half consuming 22 pages of meeting minutes trying to figure a backdoor way to put a controversial 3rd party designee under the contract. It completely skipped taking any time to do analysis of the 2.5 multiplier Heery wanted to charge and simply extended an ordinary purchase order into what became an $11 million contract. How much reduction would slicing and dicing the real numbers might have meant?  $1.5 million? $2.5 million? Mr. Mason is right that its too late to question the 2.5 multiplier going back to 2003. The lesson is Never let a simple purchase order be expanded like this.

2.    The City needs Heery. In fact Augusta needs a program management firm to support a lot more contracts. From the experience here, Heery is familiar with Augusta and would benefit by more work there. A reformed Augusta would be a feather in their cap. Work with Heery and preserve the positives.

3.    The job description and qualifications represented by each these $125 to $200+ billing rates, inexcusably left out of the original contract, must be put into the contract. You need to know what you are paying for. Heery’s Mr. White attested to Commissioner Guilfoyle that the employees billed fall within such descriptions as the Federal General  Services Administration uses. This needs to be verified.

4.    The rates for 2014 and 2015 are at issue. Based upon Heery’s submission of data showing how the billing rates were marked up to 2.5 of wages and the knowledge that the Dukes and Gallop firms are subcontractors, it would seem that a very significant rate reduction from 2013 rates of a minimum of 10% is not only possible, but should be expected. Anything less will be the same sort of rushed Commission surrender that was seen with the October Tee Center vote.

5.    Launch a full scale review of Augusta contract across the board. Heery could see additional hours as they support that effort.

If you can do these things, your commission will show that it can bounce back from a decade of mistakes with this contract. The Contractor will show a willingness to meet the people of Augusta in a full sense of compromise. I believe that would be lauded and rewarded with praise.

Being reasonable and responsible works if you try.


Update:  On the afternoon of Monday, June 17, 2013, Augusta Administrator Fred Russell received a revised proposal from Heery that provides: “ A reduction in total cost from previous proposal of approximately $188,435or 11.44% for a revised estimated contract amount of $1,458,131” Included were provisions to remove the top three billing classifications and to reduce rates to the 2011 levels for the extension period.

Get the billing classification descriptions and qualifications in the extended contract and this could be the sort of contract extension the public should support.

AG

Video: Augusta Commission Committee Discusses Heery/Dukes Contract

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Augusta, GA
From CityStink.net Reports
Contributions were made to this article by Al M. Gray, President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc., a provider of Cost Avoidance and Cost Recovery for America’s leading companies, businesses and governments desiring Superior Returns.
An Augusta commission committee gave no recommendation to proceed with the multi-million dollar contract with Heery International yesterday, deadlocking at 2 to 1. Marion Williams and Wayne Guilfoyle voted not to proceed with extending the contract as-is. Grady Smith and Corey Johnson voted in favor of extending the contract “as-is”. CityStink.net was there yesterday and got exclusive video of the meeting including where Cost Recovery Specialist Al Gray challenged Heery officials. You can watch that video below.
You can also see our most current investigative piece concerning the Heery saga:

Even an Overseer Needs Oversight

Heeryly Absent

Originally posted on CityStink
June 9, 2013
Augusta, GA
by Lori Tabb Davis
Contributions were made to this article by Al M. Gray, President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc., a provider of Cost Avoidance and Cost Recovery for America’s leading companies, businesses and governments desiring Superior Returns.
The entire hullabaloo over extension of Augusta’s Project Management contract with Heery International involving community liason Butch Gallop, campaign contributions, gifts to county commissioners, and other hysteria, brings one repetitive thought. Where is the oversight over the Heery overseers?
Can I say totally absent? For certain it is stunningly absent.  For now, I brand it Heeryly absent.
When our Augusta Today and Citystink.net team of contributors submitted Georgia Open Records Act requests regarding the Heery contract itself and various contract documents from projects that Heery is and was being paid to manage, control, and supervise for the City of Augusta, we found absurd contradictions with Heery’s role as overseer.
When we looked in the contract and elsewhere for the project procedures manual governing Heery’s performance of the work, we learned that Augusta had none. Our sources told us that an early effort to adopt one was squelched.
  1. Because there was no project procedure manual, perhaps that was the reason that there was no job progress photography protocol to provide us with date-stamped color photos, accompanied by delivery and storage details, of the infamous Tee Center Kitchen Equipment, only black and white pictures of boxes in an unidentified, undisclosed location.
  2. Because there was a lack of coordination of design documents for the Tee Center and already-operating Conference Center, perhaps that is why my open records request for the design of the HVAC for the Tee Center and Conference Center dating back to the days when the Marriott was a Radisson was met with a data disk with blank directories from the city. I fault Augusta for that, but if Heery is Augusta’s Program Manager, shouldn’t they make sure old and new documents are better coordinated?
  3. Because it looks like general contract limits on change orders do not appear to carry through to subcontracts, eye-popping amounts of Augusta’s funds could be in jeopardy.
  4. Heery, if I understand correctly, was paid rates up to and exceeding $200 per hour to provide such services!
  5. The new estimated costs Heery wants to extract from Augusta has been presented at an increase of $1.6 million, including a $149,000 increase/ overrun for the Tee Center, a project that was a total disaster from A to Z.
If Heery is kept, at least $350,000 needs to be cut from that 1.6 million dollar number! I think if all aspects of it were examined, the number that could be cut would be triple that.
How about oversight allowed to Augusta to oversee the overseer Heery by their contract? That was Heeryly absent, too.
  1. The contract cost was put on auto-pilot with 4% annual rate escalation built into the original 2004 Contract. This continued until 2011, when Heery billed slightly lower rates and continued to do so into 2013. The 4% escalation remains, with a consumer Price Index adjustment. With inflation likely to pick up, who knows what the rates will be with compounding like Augusta has seen.
  2. The 2004 contract allows confirmation of the direct cost classification of Heery’s employees without providing what the billing classifications are in terms of employee education, qualifications, certifications, and experience. It sure looks like the program manager Heery has wide latitude to assign people to this contract without Augusta really having the criteria set for their billing rates! (Does Butch Gallop ring a bell? What is a community liason anyhow?)
  3.    The contract does not provide for proof of the direct costs of Dukes, Edward, Dukes or Gallop and Associates, who are not Heery employees, but Heery “sub consultants”.  What are they?
  4.  Access is restricted to “accounting records”, when it is probably the Heery personnel files that would best be used to verify billing classifications.
  5.  There is a statement –  “Owner may only audit accounting records applicable to a cost reimbursable compensation” This sure sounds like the negotiated rates are sacred and cannot be analyzed by Augusta. Such limitations must go. When paying millions of dollars for professional services, shouldn’t Augusta be able to audit anything that touches on what the city is getting?
Our team’s investigative efforts have born amazing results for Augusta and it is a shame to see them stymied by restrictions on audit rights. We saw that the Messerly waste water contract with ESG mandates that Georgia Open Records access be extended to every significant subcontractor. Subcontracts and major supply orders under Heery-managed general contracts need to be brought in line with that standard too. We cannot help if we are stonewalled by contractors and the administration.
After the numerous controversies and fiasco’s involving Augusta projects, Butch Gallop and Associates, the Tee Center, and Tee Center parking decks, it is clear – the overseer needs oversight and the Augusta administrator, starting with George Kolb and continuing under Fred Russell,  has not provided it, he has avoided it. Heery, understandably aiming to please the client, looks like it became a rubber stamp.
If the Augusta Commission extends this contract, citizens should expect better controls, refunds of any miscalculated rate overcharges (if any exist), and lowering of rates to reflect known factors favorable to Augusta. Augusta needs to ditch Butch Gallop now, too.
Our Augusta reformers love old movies and I used to get all into being Lois Lane. Here is a segment that came to mind as I pondered all of this.

“You…you’ve got me, who’s got you?”

Harrisburg in Augusta is in free fall. Deke Copenhaver might be an Ironman, but he is no man of steel. Heery has him, but who has Heery?  Looks to me nothing but hot, stagnant city air.
Somehow I think both would just as soon see me, go splat. Augusta too, if there is a dime involved for them to get.

–    LD