Tuesday, July 3

Animal Welfare and City Oversight

I have spent a great deal of time reading through (at least some) of the information that has been posted on various websites on this issue. Unfortunately, this looks like a situation where unprofessionalism and lack of communication have exploded into an unnecessary crisis.

First and foremost, we, the citizens, owe Geeguy a debt of at least gratitude for the time he spends researching issues that affect our body politic. A lawyer's time is a very expensive commodity, and I do not see where Geeguy is spending that time in any way that personally benefits him (other than as a citizen of our community). Geeguy, thank you very much for the thorough and balanced information and opinions you have presented. Unfortunately, you will see nothing so thorough in these pages.

However, I would also like to put in my 2¢. What I am going to say has less to do with the specifics of animal control issues in our town and more to do with a general philosophy of how to run this particular railroad.

In this case, we have a contract set to expire. This is a great time to reevaluate how things are to be done and for a governmental agency to define its requirements. It is also a great time to continue the evaluation of an incumbent contractor.

It is not, however, the best time to first discuss problems that the incumbent contractor may have had with the operation of their existing contract. Like many that have posted on this subject, the first I heard that there was a problem was when it came up on the front page of the paper. Now, I hear that there is a dysfunctional board and many complaints about the Humane Society's operation of the facility.

The time to bring these issues up is DURING contract performance; most specifically during regular contract progress meetings. If performance was bad, why have there been no written letters, cure notices, meeting minute notes, etc.? Why are we just hearing about this now?

Worse, the problems we have heard about seem minute, unsubstantiated and subjective. Even more shocking, the story published today in the paper (but not online) said that city officials have not investigated even problems.

So, because of unsubstantiated allegations that have never been documented, we are being asked to pony up hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased annual expenses. I can't wait for the justification for the coming bond issue.

Now, I haven't looked at the RFP the city put out this Spring. However, for a contract of this size (five years at $200k - $500k/year), it would be very reasonable to expect a contract with a rigidly defined Statement of Work / Performance Work Statement setting specific requirements and performance objectives. These specific requirements and performance objectives should be constructed in ways to make them measurable. Then, the resulting metrics should be analyzed during regular contract performance review meetings. To be really innovative, contract payments could be tied to those metrics (incentives for performance?? Shocking!)

Quite frankly, I have read reports in blog comments that I certainly hope are not true. However, we should all hold our city leaders accountable if (when) they present us the bill for their lack of management.

1 comment:

ReAnn said...

DITTO!!! THe vague rumors I have heard about problems this last year do not add up to the city all of a sudden demanding resignation of the entire board board or else. Now I see the or else has happened. Pretty quick decision...wonder if it was all in the cards before?? NOOOOO! Could not have been with out public meetings & a chance for the incumbant contractor to correct problems...right? Your thoughts are?