EDGAR CO. (ECWd) -
Over the last several months I have been gathering documents to hopefully better understand where our tax dollars go and what we are getting for it. A previous article pointed out some pretty eye popping facts and so far not a single word from anyone related to that story..........officially!
One of the recent requests was for a copy of the minutes which appointed Bob Colvin as the City of Paris Consulting Engineer, which most know by now, Mr. Colvin is not an Engineer even though he tells people he is. I was provided minutes appointing Francis Associates to that position which is not what I asked for but the fact that is what they sent points to the clear indication that Bob Colvin IS Francis Associates.
July 28, 2003 the City of Paris took action to appoint a City Engineer.
"Mayor Smith moved to break them down into 3 categories as follows: Francis and Associates be hired on a day-to-day engineering & survey & services for the City of Paris, structural engineering questions, McClintock Civil Engineering Services be used if at all possible, and if there is a water sewer issue, that Yates Professional Engineering, Inc. be used if at all possible."
If At All Possible!
Interesting words to use as they clearly imply they are not required to abide by it the way it’s worded, and looking at a 10 year period of time it appears it wasn't possible to use those other firms very often, at least directly!
Payments to Francis Associates since 2002 - $3,223,526.74
Payments to Yates Professional Engineering Services since 2002 - $425,451.45
Payments to McClintock Civil Engineering Services since 2002 - $13,752.75
Can anyone tell us how Francis Associates received payments for work PRIOR to ever being appointed as the City Consulting Engineer because the records do indicate substantial payments prior to ever being appointed?
March of 2004 and January of 2006 are the ONLY contracts provided in our FOIA request which was for copies of ANY and ALL contracts between Francis Associates and the City of Paris since 2002.
TWO CONTRACTS is all they provided!
Interesting fact is the second contract was a WATER PROJECT in 2006, yet the contract is with Francis Associates, not Yates PE. I guess it wasn't "possible" for the City to hire him directly for the WATER project, which clearly was a water issue.
And the smallest bone tossed to the dogs involved work related to structural engineering that went to McClintock a whopping 4 times in 10 years. Any idea how many Structural Engineering related tasks the City of Paris has taken on in the last 10 years? Take any bets it’s more than four?
So how is it that Bob Colvin gets so many of the jobs with no bidding ever taking place?
A similar question can be asked about B&T Drainage, which happens to be the common denominator with Bob Colvin, Francis Associates, the City of Paris and the Clark Edgar Rural Water District.
The city has paid $9,016,327.90 to B&T in ten years and it appears from the records we received they must have the same type of gig as Bob Colvin. Payments to B&T Drainage.
More interesting though is to run the numbers based on the actual contracts awarded versus what was paid. According to our FOIA, all the contracts to B&T total $8,002,652.47 however that is $1,013,675.43 LESS than what they have been paid.
Now we understand some jobs run into problems and have corrections and change orders are issued that may result in a higher price. For example, 15 July 2008 a bid was received for the Paris Water Project from B&T Drainage for $6,998,866.11 for Contract B portion of the project. Total actually paid was $7,261,003.19 which represents a $262,137.08 dollar increase on a quoted price! I thought the whole purpose in a bid was to lock in the cost to the tax payer? Not the case in government work! Change orders appear to be common place and more often than not, the bidding process does little to ensure keeping the cost down. It just assigns a contractor, who from the looks of it adds to it after they get the contract. Change order confirms $262,137.08 worth of additions to the B&T Contract with the City of Paris, which Francis Associates is in charge of overseeing!
Some interesting facts:
Original contract award to B&T was for $6,998,866.11
Change order total $262,137.08 - Change Order Approval
Total documented approval - $7,261,003.19
Actually paid based on B&T payments report - $7,510,717.36
Difference of $249,714.17
Someone has some explaining to do! How does the company get paid $249,714.17 more than both the contract and change order approval reflects. The totals were gathered from the very account code, 2501008550, provided and confirmed by the City. Payments to B&T Drainage.
In ten years the City of Paris has paid out over a Million dollars more than was contracted for to one company! Does anyone see a problem with that? OK, we know, emergency work can play a role where there isn’t time for formal bidding however most in this small town know there haven’t been a Million plus dollars’ worth of emergencies! If the excuse is change orders, someone isn’t doing a very good job on the Engineering proposals for the City!
The interesting part of this whole contract work is what the city told us regarding the now famous Valve Exercising expense. The city now claims that work was part of the contract for the Water Project awarded to B&T Drainage even though nothing of the sort is mentioned in the contract. In fact, the city told us,
“The contracts do not specifically reference all the contractor’s responsibilities.”
The whole purpose of a contract is to know what the contractor is getting paid for, right?
The best part of this chain of events is the Famous NON ENGINEER Bob Colvin charged the city for doing work that the City of Paris has clearly acknowledged was part of B&T’s contract. So why would the city pay Bob Colvin when it wasn’t his contract to do the work? I guess when it comes to Bob Colvin and sending in bills he has grown accustom to them just being paid with no one asking any questions like, why are we paying you for something contracted to B&T, for which they got paid? Invoices for Valve Exercising
Had your elected officials been doing their job they might have noticed Bob Colvin was only charging $84.00 an hour for the Valve Exercising that they didn't have a contract to do while B&T was charging $150.00 an hour. That represents a 78% increase in cost having B&T do that work! How is it possible for these city council members to NOT SEE THIS? It's because the city, as most other public bodies, are not paying attention to the bills that come across their desk. The good old boy system is alive and well!
We have records now that prove Mr. Colvin, Francis Associates, billed the Clark Edgar Water District for work never performed. When I attempted to expose that during the last Water District meeting Mr. Colvin claimed it was a lie, after calling me a Son-of-a-b--ch. How ironic to this day not a single sitting board member, their attorneys’, who were present, or Mr. Colvin have even asked a single question as to what I was talking about. Amazing how facts can’t be twisted!
Are things starting to crumble in Mr. Colvin’s office? They might be considering our evidence of the false billing was confirmed from one of his own employees! The Truth has no Agenda!
That sweet pot of gold Water Project contract to Francis Associates was worth $515,500.00 based on the math for the contract percentage scale.
What did he receive?
Payments to Francis Associates account code 2501005320
How does a company get paid more than TWICE what their contract outlines? That is 128.35% OVER the contracted amount assuming our math is dead on!
The great part of our country and freedoms is people know right from wrong and when they finally get tired of the incompetence, dishonesty and corruption from their public officials they speak out. Fortunately they have an outlet with organizations like the Edgar County Watchdogs and the Disclosure Newspaper to get the truth out.
A recent example of this fact is the box of information provided to us. Documents that clearly PROVE criminal activity were taking place with an elected city commissioner and it got swept under the rug, like so many others illegal acts in the City of Paris. Full story on that can be found at this link. Cover up. More exposure coming soon from that little box of information and its priceless!
Why is any of this a big deal? It’s a big deal because when you don’t address these types of actions by our government officials when they happen and hold them accountable to the law, it creates a society that thinks the law doesn’t count. That’s exactly the attitude we've have in this county for years and we are still paying for it.
It’s been over 25 years since the prosecutions of Herb Witlock and Randy Steidl. A prosecution infected with corrupt and illegal acts by elected officials and yet we are still spending money to defend those very corrupt officials. Just in July and August the State's Attorney has been billed for over $29,000.00 for legal services from a firm in Peoria, Illinois. From this expense to the settlements with the Boards during Karl Farnham's reign of illegal acts to Dee Burgin, this county continues to suffer from the failure of our elected officials to do their job and follow the law. We the Tax Payer are the ones paying and will continue to pay if we don’t wake the hell up. Legal Bills
Had enough yet? The City of Paris has paid PEDCO for property. KEYS Property! You know, the KEYS family. How is it appropriate for the City to use your tax dollars to pay Bob Colvin (PEDCO) for property being purchased by PEDCO? All that does is put money in PEDCO pockets, not the city. To date that total is $90,000.00 Dollars! 90K of City money given to a private company ran by Bob Colvin, which according to the City of Paris, PEDCO purchased this land from the Keys family and PEDCO is in fact the land owners!
When you hide, cover up, lie and deny, you get what we have right now, a handful of people wasting our tax dollars, and in some cases getting rich doing so. It has to stop and it’s up to We The People to stop it! Throw them in Jail or out of office, but throw them out we must!