EDITOR: As a former county employee that regularly saw the waste of taxpayer money due to the crazy requirements of Charter Section 602, I implore my fellow citizens to vote yes on Measure C and put your tax dollars to better use.
The charter requires that all services bought by the county require a written contract. Services that cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars like replacing a broken window; locksmithing; repairing a plotter, dishwasher (in our jail facilities), door, or other specialized machine; or veterinary service currently require a full written contract. The county standard contracts are lengthy and written in “legalize.” Many small companies choose not to deal with the headache of reviewing and signing a contract they do not understand for what is otherwise a few hours of work for them. The result is that county staff spends more time (and your tax dollars) either searching for companies willing to deal with the headache (for an added cost of course) or trying to make changes to the standard contract to appease the company. The county lawyers have to approve any contract changes, so the taxpayers get to pay that cost too.
An expensive example of this waste was a $2,000 surveillance camera that cost $10,000 in administrative charges to get a contract approved. The existing written contract requirement only applies to services (someone providing labor), not materials. Right now the county buys thousands of dollars in materials (paper, bolts, computer monitors, etc.) without a full written contract by using a purchase order. The county can buy a lock with a purchase order but needs a contract to have it re-keyed. They can buy a tire for a snow play with a purchase order but need a contract to have it installed. Think of all the equipment and facilities the county maintains and the list is almost endless. It’s crazy that the county cannot hire someone to replace a broken window pane for $150 with a purchase order but could instead buy a whole new window for $500 with a purchase order and then pay their own maintenance staff to install the whole window at an overall less cost because of these contract requirements. This measure went before the voters before and failed by less then 2 percent. Please help me stop the waste and put our tax dollars to better use by voting yes on Measure C.