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Heery extension fails, 2-2

Commissioners question rates, contributions

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The project management group under contract for a decade to oversee Augusta sales-tax construction projects didn’t pass muster with an Augusta Commission committee Monday, with a vote to extend Heery International’s arrangement failing in a 2-2 tie.

Heery and its two subconsultants, Gallop and Associates, and Dukes, Edwards and Dukes, have received about $9.5 million in fees over 10 years under an arrangement that saw some of the group’s billing rates adjusted annually to more than $200 an hour while plying commissioners with Atlanta Falcons skybox seats and contributions unreported by Heery to Georgia’s government transparency commission.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, a recipient of Heery-funded community events, tickets and campaign contributions, made a motion to extend the contract without an annual percentage increase. His motion failed with support from Grady Smith against “no” votes from Commissioners Marion Williams and Wayne Guilfoyle.

City Administrator Fred Russell asked that the group’s $1.6 million extension be approved because of several Heery-led construction projects underway and that the commission examine who, if not Heery, will provide “management services” for an upcoming sales-tax referendum.

“If we change horses midstream, we’ve got some other issues that would far outweigh that cost in my mind,” Russell said.

Guilfoyle questioned why Heery billed for the work of subcontractors at higher rates than the 10 percent above cost that is typically paid for other city contract work and asked for a rebate of overpayment.

“Basically, they get marked up as we have been,” replied Heery staffer Forrest White. “That’s the way our contract has been set up. Like what was said, it’s negotiable.”

Heery staffer Michele Brown-Rall added that the group was “selected on a professional services contract,” so the subconsultants’ rates are the same.

“I need more information before I proceed,” Guilfoyle said. “There ought to be a credit given back for all these years.”

Lincoln County, Ga., activist Al Gray weighed in on the contract, saying Dukes’ and Gallop’s cost multipliers ought to be different because they’re subcontractors for whom the city supplies office space, equipment and other expenses.

“For Heery, Dukes and Gallop to all have the same overhead and personal expenses and that sort of thing, it’s very unlikely because they’re dissimilar in terms of their mix of functions,” Gray said.

Williams asked how Butch Gallop, of Gallop and Associates, could be more aggressive at recruiting local participation than the city’s small business office is if Gallop bills for only four hours a week.

“I see your two faces quite frequently,” Williams said of Gallop and state Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany, the owner of Dukes, Edwards and Dukes. “We’re paying for something that we’re not getting.”

Commissioner Donnie Smith asked whether Heery had properly reported all gifts and contributions to commissioners.

White said that Falcons and Braves “courtesy tickets” didn’t have to be reported and that the firm had properly filed reports of other contributions.

“Any donations, yes we have,” White said.

City Clerk Lena Bonner said recently that no firm – Heery or otherwise – had ever filed a report with her office.
A search of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission database showed that no one employed by Heery, Gallop or Dukes has ever reported a campaign contribution to an Augusta official, although several commissioners have reported contributions.

Commissioner Alvin Mason asked whether it was cost-effective for the city to rebid Heery’s contract now. Russell said no, but that he’d have an analysis of the costs before the commission votes on the extension next week.

IN OTHER ACTION

Commission committees:

• Received as information a proposal from Paul Simon, the chairman emeritus of First Tee of Augusta, for First Tee and Augusta Municipal Golf Course to be partners. Simon said his proposal has support from golfer Jack Nicklaus and requires the city to invest $1.9 million in redesigning “The Patch” as a shorter, better-quality course, but will eventually increase rounds and turn the city-owned course’s annual operating losses to profits within three years after renovations are complete. City Administrator Fred Russell said that an upcoming sales-tax package could be used for funding and that he and Simon will return with a finished proposal in July.

• Approved, 4-0, establishing a State Court Traffic Violations Bureau to process minor state traffic violations such as speeding and seat-belt violations but not local parking tickets. Chief State Court Judge Richard Slaby and Solicitor General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre said the bureau could process about 89 percent of cases now handled through State Court.

• Approved, 4-0, new protections for Augusta animals left in hot cars and additional protections for children left in hot cars, with new protocols and penalties for when Augusta Animal Control is called about a trapped animal.

• Heard the concerns of Steffany Fallen-Elliott, whose brother Phillip Boynton, 28, died after being beaten outside Club Pure Platinum in March. Fallen-Elliott asked the commission to consider taking action against the Gordon Highway nightclub’s license or require clubs to take additional precautions.

– From staff reports

Comments (12) Add comment
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ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 06/10/13 - 11:08 pm
6
0
In other words, this cow

In other words, this cow still has plenty of milk left, so why put her out to pasture.

gargoyle
19498
Points
gargoyle 06/10/13 - 11:21 pm
5
0
"Commissioner Alvin Mason

"Commissioner Alvin Mason asked whether it was cost-effective for the city to rebid Heery’s contract now. Russell said no, but that he’d have an analysis of the costs before the commission votes on the extension next week". You can bet Mr. Russell will make the old contract look like a sweet deal on paper. A title change might be in order for the City Administrator position, Might I suggest Cabal Facilitator. At some point we got to elect people who can get past the third world template that seams to prevail down at City hall .For now a Mayor with a little intestinal fortitude would help tamp down the circus called City business. Its a shame that in this day and time and all the tools given to monitor our elected officials they get away with how contracts are awarded, If the chosen people don't get the spoils then rewrite the provisions to make sure the chosen get the spoils.

nocnoc
46982
Points
nocnoc 06/11/13 - 02:52 am
7
0
Did any one else catch the

Did any one else catch the specific way the Gift question was asked and the well crafted answer was given by Mr. White of Heery Int.

Question
"Commissioner Donnie Smith asked whether Heery had properly reported all gifts and contributions to commissioners."

Response
Any donations, yes we have,” White said.

Summary
The question was: have ALL been reported.
The Answer was: more less, ANY (SOME) have.

ALSO
Mr. Russell said
“If we change horses midstream, we’ve got some other issues that would far outweigh that cost in my mind,”.

With Heery being continuously being rehired they will always be in midstream, so it would NEVER be a good time change contractors according to the way this statement was made.

Riverman1
90284
Points
Riverman1 06/11/13 - 02:44 am
4
1
"State Rep. Winfred Dukes,

"State Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany, the owner of Dukes, Edwards and Dukes."

Somebody tell me what he knows about construction?

nocnoc
46982
Points
nocnoc 06/11/13 - 02:46 am
3
0
1.9 Million to redesign The Patch

Is that total cost, estimated total cost, or
just the Design (drawing board) fees only?

BTW: With all the public and affordable golf courses in Augusta, Why is ARC wasting taxpayer $$$$$ on a city course?

nocnoc
46982
Points
nocnoc 06/11/13 - 03:11 am
5
0
One more Heery Int Gift related bit of Info

OCGA LEGAL ISSUE
Mr. White said that Falcons and Braves “courtesy tickets” didn’t have to be reported and that the firm had properly filed reports of other contributions.

WRONG:
Under GA Vendor Disclosure Laws
O.C.G.A 45-1-6 http://ethics.ga.gov/2011/04/vendor-disclosure-laws/

(b) Any vendor who, either directly or through another person, makes a gift or gifts to one or more public employees exceeding in the aggregate $250.00 in value during any calendar year shall file a disclosure report with the commission in the form specified by the commission listing the amount and date of receipt, the name and mailing address of any vendor making the gift, and the name, address, and position of each public employee receiving such a gift.

(c) Each disclosure report required by subsection (b) of this Code section shall be filed with the commission not later than February 1 of each year and shall cover the preceding calendar year.

BTW: Atlanta Falcons played their last regular 2012 season HOME game Sunday Dec. 30 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA and Lost 22-17 -----

Which is required to be reported by Feb. 01, 2013 and was NOT.

If the tickets Box seats were for 2013 NFC Playoff Games the price would have exceeded $250 for general public nose bleeds. But this was a Corp Suite ticket and the per home game average is normally around $1000+ each.

strong>Can anyone argue
that the Falcons NFL Suite-Box tickets, the trip to Atlanta and back, along with the food and drink while there plus the other GIFTS over the calendar year did NOT exceed the $250.00 limit?

ALSO NOTE:
O.C.G.A 45-1-6 (h) Any person who knowingly fails to comply with or knowingly violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 06/11/13 - 07:28 am
4
0
Heery needs to go..

No matter the pain that Fred THINKS we might feel, this change need to be done. Or at a minimum, the contract must be fixed and there needs to be accountability for all of the billing and refunds on over-billing.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 06/11/13 - 08:15 am
0
0
Rep.
Unpublished

Winfred Dukes D-Albany? Working fo da gubmint and owns an agency connected wit da gubmint? Verrrry Interestink!

G'ment Watcher
97
Points
G'ment Watcher 06/11/13 - 09:13 am
2
0
Russell's comments

What are the other issues and why change horses in mid stream that we didn't need to start with? Simply put the horse out to stud and be done with it.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 06/11/13 - 11:04 am
2
0
True Statement

"With Heery being continuously being(sic)rehired they will always be in midstream, so it would NEVER be a good time change contractors according to the way this statement was made."

thanks noc

my.voice
5080
Points
my.voice 06/11/13 - 12:10 pm
1
0
"Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson,

"Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, a recipient of Heery-funded community events, tickets and campaign contributions, made a motion to extend the contract without an annual percentage increase"

I thought more of you than that, Mr Johnson.

IAmISaid
206
Points
IAmISaid 06/11/13 - 06:38 pm
3
0
I'd like to ask the ARC commission a question...
Unpublished

If Jack Nicklaus is so supportive of the Patch, why doesn't he buy it and run it himself? Why is the answer to each and every issue the city faces to bend over, open its checkbook and get prison-raped by whatever crony capitalist happens to be nearby?

KSL
139653
Points
KSL 06/11/13 - 07:49 pm
0
1
Wait a minute.

Do we really want to put Heery "out to stud"? So they can produce more sub firms to get contracts? They need to be gelded instead.

nocnoc
46982
Points
nocnoc 06/12/13 - 06:44 am
1
0
I thought they were already

Studding Augusta/Richmond Co. Taxpayers?

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