6/29/2007

Source Documents

In keeping with my goal of always trying to produce the source documentation for a story, here is a series of letters between Jim Donahue, Chairman of the Humane Society, and representatives of the City. There is also a copy of the proposed Memorandum of Understanding that the Humane Society rejected. These are, to the best of my understanding, in chronological order:















18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. Important stuff. Stuff we need to know. Why aren't we getting this kind of info in the tribune? Methinks that there's something terribly wrong with this mr. cork grove. The guy appears to be friggin' nuts.

Anonymous said...

What does the state code have to say regarding the sealed bid process for government?

Anonymous said...

18-4-303. Competitive sealed bidding. (1) An invitation for bids must be issued and must include a purchase description and conditions applicable to the procurement.
(2) Adequate public notice of the invitation for bids must be given a reasonable time prior to the date set forth therein for the opening of bids, in accordance with rules adopted by the department. Notice may include publication in a newspaper of general circulation at a reasonable time prior to bid opening.
(3) Bids must be opened publicly in the presence of one or more witnesses at the time and place designated in the invitation for bids. Each bidder has the right to be present, either in person or by agent, when the bids are opened and has the right to examine and inspect all bids. The amount of each bid and such other relevant information as may be specified by rule, together with the name of each bidder, must be recorded. The record must be open to public inspection. After the time of award, all bids and bid documents must be open to public inspection in accordance with the provisions of 2-6-102 and are subject to the requirements of subsection (4).
(4) Bids must be available for public inspection when the bids are opened if:
(a) the invitation for bids is issued by a state agency to contract with the private sector to provide services currently conducted by state employees; and
(b) acceptance of bids would result in the displacement of five or more state employees.
(5) Bids must be unconditionally accepted without alteration or correction, except as authorized in this chapter. Bids must be evaluated based on the requirements set forth in the invitation for bids, which may include criteria to determine acceptability, such as inspection, testing, quality, workmanship, delivery, and suitability for a particular purpose. Those criteria that will affect the bid price and be considered in evaluation for award must be objectively measurable, such as discounts, transportation costs, and total or life-cycle costs. The invitation for bids shall set forth the evaluation criteria to be used. Only criteria set forth in the invitation for bids may be used in bid evaluation.
(6) Correction or withdrawal of inadvertently erroneous bids, before or after award, or cancellation of awards or contracts based on such bid mistakes may be permitted in accordance with rules adopted by the department. After bid opening no changes in bid prices or other provisions of bids prejudicial to the interest of the state or fair competition may be permitted. Except as otherwise provided by rule, all decisions to permit the correction or withdrawal of bids or to cancel awards or contracts based on bid mistakes must be supported by a written determination made by the department.
(7) The contract must be awarded with reasonable promptness by written notice to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder whose bid meets the requirements and criteria set forth in the invitation for bids, including the preferences established by Title 18, chapter 1, part 1. If all bids exceed available funds as certified by the appropriate fiscal officer and the low responsive and responsible bid does not exceed such funds by more than 5%, the director or the head of a purchasing agency is authorized, in situations where time or economic considerations preclude resolicitation of a reduced scope, to negotiate an adjustment of the bid price, including changes in the bid requirements, with the low responsive and responsible bidder in order to bring the bid within the amount of available funds.
(8) When it is considered impractical to initially prepare a purchase description to support an award based on price, an invitation for bids may be issued requesting the submission of unpriced offers, to be followed by an invitation for bids limited to those bidders whose offers have been qualified under the criteria set forth in the first solicitation.

Anonymous said...

3.08.130 Reporting of anticompetitive practices.

If for any reason collusion or other anticompetitive practices are suspected among any bidders or offerors, a notice of the relevant facts shall be transmitted to the Attorney General by the City.

Rooster said...

Jim Donahue, the Chairman of the Humane Society of Cascade County states in his reply that:

"The vast majority of complaints lodged against H.S.C.C come, ultimately, from a single source."

Anyone care to enlighten me as to who that "single source" might be..?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the law posts...

I also am wondering who's who in the single source.

Reading through the city documents is interesting. Questioning the ethics of City government procedures is reasonable, considering circumstances.

The City Memorandum of Understanding claims a mutually cooperative effort but appears to force itself (The City) onto a contracted, non-profit organization by demanding increased oversight. On top of that, the City wants explicitly defined positions and will assist in recruitment and appointment of new Board Members.

If the City attacked you, your family and business in a predatory manner, would you feel safe or would you feel victimized?

It seems as though the city is grooming the Humane Society of Cascade County for a hostile takeover and plans to remake it in its' own image.

Still, in fairness, it is not right to come to conclusions before all the facts are presented.

What facts lurk in City files? And will the public ever see them?

WolfPack said...

I'm starting to feel like an oddball around here. I think both sides have some valid points. The animal shelter defiantly needs some oversight by the city and the diverse board recommended by the city would be an adequate way to accomplish this. This would be very similar to the way the city manages other depts. The HSCC also has plenty of reason not to want to be forced into who it’s board members will or won’t be. The city has no reason to be on the HSCC board. Why can’t a sister entity of the HSCC be created that substantially conforms to the cities demands and allows shared control of the animal shelter by the HSCC, community members and the city. This would insulate the HSCC from losing any autonomy as to non-shelter concerns and keep them from violating any of it’s bylaws. Why should our GF shelter be subject to any rules/limitations from any out of state national Humane Society organization?

From the letters provided I just can’t see how such strong opinions are justified against Grove, Stebbins or Lawton. The Overfield incident doesn’t quite tip it for me either. She ham handedly delivered her non-GF citizen concerns about perceived conspiracies and improprieties by GF commissioners, actual GF citizens and GF city staff. If she is right then Stebbins actions were motivated to cover-up, if she is wrong then she was very rude/insulting and Stebbins actions were merely putting a reasonable limit to Overfield’s slander of numerous innocent people. No one here claims to have any inside knowledge but have accepted Overfield’s version as justified. I have been a vocal critic of city government, most of which I lay at Lawton’s feet, but the idea of a great conspiracy to seize control of animal control (as a power grab) seems loony. If there is any conspiracy I’m sure it is motivated out of compassion for the animals. Remember, good people can disagree but still get along and city staff are not bad people for following orders.

As to bidding requirements, I doubt the city has to treat itself as an outside entity when soliciting bids for city functions. If this isn’t true, wouldn’t all city functions be on the table with the city losing most of the bids?

Anonymous said...

City Declares War on Humane Society

First, in response to Wolfpack;
It is the Humane Society of Cascade County and means that all
issues pertaining to it have impact on those within the county, not merely the city, so county residents should be allowed to have input.

Second: in a coup, worthy of the traditions of any third-world country, the city, along with the police department, and let’s not forget the now, VERY quiet, Animal Foundation of Great Falls Board, have issued a take-over ultimatum to a non-city entity.
How many of you would be willing to stand quietly by for this were it your business or home?

Third: this was predicted, though not at this level, on Tuesday 19, June. It resulted in the assault of a private citizen speaking at a public meeting. Speakers prior to the HSCC/animal control issue ran over time and were requested, 3 times by count if you review the full tape, to ‘wrap it up’ yet they finished their speeches without physical interruption. So, what was the difference in the speeches? Disclosure of dirty dealings by the city, police department and Foundation in concert for just this kind of personal/private agenda

Fourth: The Animal Foundation of Great Falls has said NOT ONE WORD regarding the welfare of animals during all this. This would, in all probability, be the ONE SOURCE. Follow the money and history of complaints and I bet it will all begin about the time the Foundation began in 2002. With a little effort you should be able to find all sorts of things.

Fifth: In many cities there is more than one entity that helps and handles animals. Humane Societies are established and running alongside other shelters or foundations. Why is it that here in this city there is such a concerted effort to eliminate the HSCC?
Why is it that the effort only began when the Foundation came into being?
Why is it that this city administration feels it can act in such a manner?

If the city, police and, maybe, the Foundation, feel they are above the law, immune from repercussions, can do as they please without fear of reprisal, I wonder what else they are doing, or have done, that has gone unnoticed by virtue of suppression, intimidation or illegal behavior?

It's time for a recall of the mayor, a removal of the Chief of Police and a review of anyone associated with them. Anything they've put their hand to must be considered null and void if there is any taint of illegality to it.

Anonymous said...

I think that I speak for many people in the community when I say that I don't WANT the police department anywhere NEAR the Animal Shelter! I've seen how they deal with people, and they are NOT qualified to deal with animals! I trust the Humane Society to be MUCH more humane in the treatment of animals than the cops. If the cops treat people the way that they do, how will they treat the animals for God's sake? We need people running the Shelter who come the humane end of the spectrum, NOT the law enforcement side. I ask, just WHAT is cork grove's experience that engenders faith in the public that our domestic animals will be treated in a truly humane fashion? None as far as I can see. I fear that like with everything else the city touches, it will simply become another means at raising revenue, and to HELL with the animals. I mean, there's a whole lotta money that can be raised by issuing dog citations! And maybe a couple'a plum city jobs for SOME lucky people! The whole thing stinks to high heaven. We need to keep shining a light on these people.


Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers, and Dog Handler in Vietnam, '71-'72

Anonymous said...

Wolfpack,

Thanks for your observations and additional insights.

To the anonymous poster immediately following you as Anonymous said... City Declares War on Humane Society

Please, if you are so well versed then With a little effort you should be able to find all sorts of things YOU could post as facts in this discussion.

Then YOU could link us to FACTS just like others have in this blog or give the hard copies to Geeguy so he can post them.

Anonymous said...

I see nothing wrong with what the city proposed to the HSCC. I think the existing board is the HSCC biggest problem, and most of them (not all) should go. The last year & 1/2 shows they need more supervision and a more diversified board. After all, the HSCC IS running the shelter FOR the City.
I have nothing but praise for Kathy, Sue & the Animal Control Officers for the mess they were left to try to clean up(despite the exiting board they have to deal with).

Anonymous said...

To "City Declares War" - "Private citizen assaulted" - give me a break. If you are told your time is up and asked to sit down, then do it!. In this situation, what gives anyone the right to hit someone, police officer or not !! It was obvious these gentlemen where there for control of this type of situations.
It is fine to be passionate about something but you still have to RESPECT other people.
Wolfpack - I like what you wrote, you are not alone in your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Is it normal to specifically state requirements so a contractor can place a bid, then renegotiate the bid and contract after the fact?

How is that fair?

I asked a military acquisitions officer how he did things in his job. Here is what I gathered from the conversation.

If the price is reasonable for the requirement?

Was there a question about the bid being unreasonaly low or high? (I think someone referenced the disparaging difference in the HSCC bid and the only other extreme bid GFPD in some posting.)

Is the proposed soultion realistic to the price quoted?

Is there a question of the contractor meeting the reqirements based upon past business experience?

Progress meetings and milestones measurements through periodic reviews are expected and are written into the contract but the goverment is not allowed to tell the business how to organize or conduct business. Government can only use oversight to ensure laws are not broken. Service, not technical, reviews are held on a quarterly or semiannual basis.

Contracts are ususally written to include a performance period. The time frame ranges from 1-2 years. Then there is an option to renew the contract after that.

I guess the part I have problem with is It seems as though the city is grooming the Humane Society of Cascade County for a hostile takeover and plans to remake it in its' own image.

I believe progress meetings and milestones measurements through periodic reviews should be written into the contract but City officials should not be allowed to tell the business how to organize or conduct business.

I believe the Humane Society deserves the opportunity to be free of city manipulation and control.

Anonymous said...

Wolfpack wrote "Why should our GF shelter be subject to any rules/limitations from any out of state national Humane Society organization?"

Just want to clarify, that the HSCC (Humane Society of Cascade County) is not part of the HSUS - Humane Society of the United States, it is it's own non-profit, doing business in the state of montana, for animals in Cascade County. They are not subject to rules/limitations from any out of state organization, they are their own organization.

Anonymous said...

I would encourage the people with questions to contact the Great Falls Police Department with their questions. The issues with the HSCC were raised by current and former employees and former board members.
The city provides the Humane Society with most of their income, and they should be accountable on some level to the taxpayers.

The board is too small to be effective as a board, and I know three or four people who have volunteered to serve and never contacted again.

Anonymous said...

Is this all about who has the money has the power? Money and Power are the roots of much evil and wrongdoing!!!
Gloria Lamont is the single source that is being referred to and I have heard a long time ago when she resigned from the board in a disgruntled tizzie that she would take down the board and the humane society with it if she had to and that is exactly what she has done.
If there are problems with animal control why did the city not just take animal control back to the police department where it belongs and let the HSCC do their job instead of having to do both?
I will tell you why...the police department does not want to be associated with animal control in any way nor do they want to share their station with them because they believe animal control is below them until they have to call them for help.
This game of chicken in as much as it may seem like a game is not for the animals who are going to suffer the most out of all of this.
Then you take into fact the employees of the HSCC who have not been mentioned one time in all of this, who put everything they have into taking care of the animals and doing what they can to help; where does this leave all of them? There may be some bad eggs but tell me what organization doesn't have those and you tell me that all those in government are clean and straightforward and I will tell you that you are full of it, there is corruption everywhere you go and it certainly exists in our city government because people no matter how much power or money they have are still HUMAN and humans err...
where is the blame??? It is not about blame just fix it don't make it worse and let go of the ego trips for crying out loud...THIS IS ABOUT ANIMALS WELFARE!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney could run the Humane Society:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1638065,00.html

Anonymous said...

You are so right!!!

Yes, a man like Mitt could run the shelter and dogs would be the better for it.

At least he's not afraid of poop running downhill.