Letter: Questionable Contracts at City Hall

Over the past few months, Puyallup citizens have heard several speeches on the budget from City Budget Director Cliff Craig. After half a dozen of these scintillating experiences, you start to get a strong understanding of how he ticks.  Mr Craig clearly prefers to raise taxes rather than reduce expenditures to balance the City budget. But, a number of times he keeps pounding out the same issues. Whether it is the cost of Public Records Requests (clearly irks him) to the repetitive claim that the Puyallup finance model cannot be run like a business. 

Well, let’s examine that dilemma. A number of very questionable contracts have been awarded under very secretive circumstances to companies and contractors with limited public oversight. The council seem very happy to rubber stamp these suspect contract awards. After all, the Staff recommended the awards.   

The first is the stage in Pioneer Park. It cost $220,000 to construct including design costs. Why so much ?  A similar stage in Sumner cost far far less and one currently underway in Tacoma is a miniscule fraction of the cost of Puyallup’s. After all, Puyallup’s stage is simply a lump of concrete with a partial wooden roof. Something smells fishy about that deal. The council claim a small cash donation from the Rotary couldn’t be ignored. Yes it could have !

Second is the contract for a utility rate study. Another $170K award was far from being the lowest bid, to not surprisingly a friend of Cliff Craig.  A similar slightly smaller study for Sumner cost much less.  Something really stinky here too. 

Third, and there are so many more, was the comical contract with Republic Parking to manage the City Hall parking lot. The fact that Republic were being paid 40 times what they collected each year did not batter any eyelids at City Hall until a “rogue committee” unveiled the scam. The stink on that one is almost criminal.

 So, if Mr Craig needs any help to uncover wasted money at City Hall to balance the books, he should adopt a hungry tomcat to seek out the stinking rotting fish in his contracts file drawer.

 Dave Churchman

Puyallup

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Filed under Finances, Gary McLean, Letters

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