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Sams proposes expansion of city printing at Augusta Commission meeting

City shop's services would be in-house

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Tasked with examining the potential to outsource the city's print shop, Procurement Director Geri Sams returned with a different proposal: Keep the services in-house, and upgrade software and salaries to bring other, currently outsourced, work back in.

Geri Sams
Geri Sams

Sams was one of five department heads to present outsourcing proposals at an Augusta Commission workshop Friday.

"Unfortunately for the print shop, we are a service department," Sams said. "But even in that, we are going to do everything humanly possible to ensure excellent services while looking at ways to save monies in our budget."

Printing some 1.5 million bills, notices and other documents annually, the shop has been under Procurement since 2008, and got off to a cost-saving start by automating the system by which departments ordered print jobs, Sams said. The shop also saved the city $800,000 when it revamped the city's copier service contract and began bidding out orders for toner cartridges, she said.

Sams suggested eliminating an outsourced "lockbox" service, used to hold overnight utilities payments, that her department pays $54,000 annually, and adding back as much outsourced print work that the office can presently do in the space it shares with Augusta's Information Technology department.

But commissioners questioned the numbers Sams, also in charge of bidding out million-dollar city contracts, presented comparing the cost to print a color copy. The city can print a color copy for 3 cents, while other providers Sams listed on a chart charged 29, 55 and 69 cents.

"I don't think that's the actual cost" to the city, Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said after the meeting. "Labor, as well as overhead – that would get you the true cost per print."

Questioned during the workshop, Sams said the cost would be lower even with labor added in.

"I could make that adjustment to you, but I will assure you, it's much cheaper than you can buy," she said, also recommending included $10,072 in salary increases and $7,000 in technology upgrades.

Sams also provided commissioners with the results of an e-mail survey about government print shops. Respondents from Muscogee, Gwinnett, Dougherty, Effingham and Glynn County schools, the City of Waycross and Georgia Public Safety Training Center said their print work was nearly all done in-house.

Effingham and the training center even made revenue by doing print jobs for private companies, while Bibb County Schools outsourced its printing.

While five commissioners who attended the workshop got an education about various outsourcing initiatives under way, or not, in city departments, the city will return to the issue of outsourcing procurement entirely. Administrator Fred Russell said a separate workshop would be held on that proposal.

The department has been sued repeatedly over the fairness of its award of construction bids. A report issued Friday by the city law department put the annual cost of delays from a court order enjoining its award of a construction manager at-risk bid to remodel Augusta Municipal Building at $1.68 million.

The amount includes $104,000 in additional rent payments and $1.57 million in increased construction costs and fees.

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Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 10/01/11 - 07:58 am
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So let me get this right, she

So let me get this right, she is ordered to take a look at what could be outsourced, and instead she comes back with expansion complete with salary increases?

Am I missing something? I am confused...

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/01/11 - 09:11 am
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Yes, take a look at the first

Yes, take a look at the first paragraph in the story. You remember when Alvin Mason had his interrogation of department heads in a marathon 6-hour committee meeting. Most of the attention when to Mason's attempt to humiliate Fire Chief Willis because of his lack of a college degree. Overlooked in the press reporting was Mason's courteous questioning of Sams. Sams was a department head that did not receive one of Fred (What, me worry?) Russell's juicy 15% pay raise. The public explanation was that the raises went to department heads who had their duties expanded in Russell's "reorganization." Sams' duties did not increase, hence no raise.

So here she is proposing an expansion of duties so she can get a raise. Very simple.

And wrong, wrong, wrong!

Little Lamb
49138
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Little Lamb 10/01/11 - 09:20 am
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Now let's take a look at

Now let's take a look at paragraph 6:

But commissioners questioned the numbers Sams, also in charge of bidding out million-dollar city contracts, presented comparing the cost to print a color copy. The city can print a color copy for 3 cents, while other providers Sams listed on a chart charged 29, 55 and 69 cents.

So Kinkos charges 29 cents for a color copy and the city can do it for 3 cents? Hogwash!

Sams got the 3 cents per copy figure from the copy machine salesman. Of course they are going to lowball the cost per copy in order to make the sale. But let's assume that a person could actually make copies for 3 cents a copy. The "real" cost for copying services includes much more: amortizing the cost of the copy machine; labor to take the order, make the copies, package and deliver the copies to the customer; supervision's labor; utilities costs for the copier; costs to order, receive and stock supplies for the copier; and probably many more items. Each of these costs is real for both government and for private businesses. The business has included those costs in his price, but Sams has ignored them in hers.

She is not being honest with the commissioners, and they should fire her for her dishonesty in this matter.

Fortunately we have two accountants on the commission along with an air conditioning business owner. At least they know something about costs. They should call her bluff. But I'm not holding my breath.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 10/01/11 - 09:21 am
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This person should have been
Unpublished

This person should have been fired Years ago...just what does she have on Russell?

justthefacts
25082
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justthefacts 10/01/11 - 09:21 am
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.03 vs .29, .55, or .69 for

.03 vs .29, .55, or .69 for color copies? Something's not right about this.

Little Lamb
49138
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Little Lamb 10/01/11 - 09:23 am
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I was just musing over what

I was just musing over what printing company was proposing to charge the city 69 cents for a color copy? My guess is that it was Augusta Blueprint.

Dipshot
-5
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Dipshot 10/01/11 - 03:07 pm
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Sams be looking mighty fly.

Sams be looking mighty fly.

TCB22
694
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TCB22 10/01/11 - 04:24 pm
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Dipshot...that will make me

Dipshot...that will make me laugh all weekend.

seenitB4
97787
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seenitB4 10/01/11 - 04:41 pm
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Me too tcb...hehheh.

Me too tcb...hehheh.

allhans
24899
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allhans 10/01/11 - 05:29 pm
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Maybe the toner cost is 3

Maybe the toner cost is 3 cents a copy. That would make more sense.

Dipshot
-5
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Dipshot 10/01/11 - 06:52 pm
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well she does look fly. Her

well she does look fly. Her hairstyle and highlights compliment her face nicely.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 10/02/11 - 05:44 am
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LOL.....and of course !
Unpublished

LOL.....and of course !

Little Lamb
49138
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Little Lamb 10/02/11 - 01:10 pm
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When Commissioner Wayne

When Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle told Sams that she did not include all the government overhead in her "3 cents per color copy" figure, Sams shot back, "I could make that adjustment to you, but I will assure you, it's much cheaper than you can buy" Then she recommended included $10,072 in salary increases and $7,000 in technology upgrades.

Talk is cheap, Ms. Sams. Put the numbers on the table and let the commissioners examine them. Your "assurances" don't comfort me one little bit.

justthefacts
25082
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justthefacts 10/02/11 - 01:37 pm
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No doubt outsourcing the

No doubt outsourcing the Printing services would be less expensive than keeping it in house. Most private companies with printing needs as large as this outsource.

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