$465 billed by Chicago guys to distribute hotel RFP: Mid-June 2014 Richard Griffin, the City’s lead officer on the downtown hotel project signed ‘OK to pay’ to an invoice (JSL#011530, City#PO13-004363) for $16,064.27 from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the Chicago based real estate consulting firm hired by the City to assist in choosing a developer. Stamped PAID June 20, 2014 it was one of 22 invoices for work on the hotel project over about two years totaling around $335,000. The 22 invoices were released by the City via a Public Information Act request.
Attached to this June invoice are time-sheets of three of the JLL consultants detailing hours by date and a description of the work done under the heading Services Rendered. About 60 items are listed in this invoice spanning the months of February and March 2014.
A great many of the “services rendered” by JLL and paid by the City are questionable, but as a matter of simplicity let’s focus here on just one item: “Distribute RFP.”
Three hours were billed by JLL’s Pete Lambis to “Distribute RFP” on Feb 20, 2014. At $155/hour that’s $465 on City of Frederick taxpayers. The RFP is the Request for Proposals, the formal bid solicitation document, and the RFP#14-J for the downtown hotel project is a pdf file of 35 pages. Like all other City procurement documents it was posted to the website of City’s purchasing office website for download, so a distribution email could have contained just the link.
How long does it take to distribute such an RFP to a bunch of firms who’d signed up at an earlier information session? There might be ten emails to do, a boilerplate cover statement to write saying, perhaps, that you hope they will respond with a proposal because of course the City being so keen on a competition for the best value, is looking for as many proposals as possible to choose from.
How long could that take to do? 15 minutes, or 20 at the outside, I’d say. But three hours the Chicago guys bill for it, and their billing is OK’d to pay by the City’s official in charge.
And does it need a $155 per hour consultant from a Chicago firm to be employed sending out such basic emails? Isn’t there a regular City employee who could do that? What kind of City management lets a $155/hour consultant bill three hours for a small chore of that kind?
There’s another problem. Immediately after the table of contents on p4 of the RFP itself is a Notice to Proposers and a heading Authority to Distribute RFP Packages which reads: “The City of Frederick Purchasing Office (and website, if applicable) is the sole entity authorized to provide the RFP package to interested companies or individuals.”
So the City’s consultants should NOT have been distributing the RFP in the first place. They should have left that chore to the City’s purchasing office out by the airport.
Perhaps those busy whizzes from Chicago didn’t know the City of Frederick’s little rules, you say? A simple mistake. Their eyes just glossed over that.
But the very same Chicago consultants of JLL labored for much of their $335,000 of billed time — we can see from the invoices — drafting, consulting and finely honing that 35 pages of golden prose in the first place. They wrote the darned thing.
And they bill, and they get paid, for doing stuff they shouldn’t even have been doing!
Can the City’s accounts department please ask for that $465 back from Chicago? It’s about a month of my City taxes. Peter Samuel, Frederick. 2016.07.16