It’s not easy to look like you’re taking responsibility for some screw up or other when in reality you’re trying to spin as fast as you can to avoid accountability. But that’s exactly what seasoned bureaucrats do, and that’s precisely what County CEO Tom Mauk is up to now. It’s same old song: mistakes were made (passive voice, no subject of sentence), but corrective action is being implemented.
I have gotten hold of Mauk’s report to the Board of Supervisors about the massive fiasco in the County’s acquisition of the money pit at 433 West Civic Center – at the behest of the other Tom, County Clerk Tom Daly.
It would seem that the Board was never given crucial information about the true costs of remodel and remodel/expansion of the building. This data is shown in Attachment A to Mauk’s report, and is damning. Mauk doesn’t really even say he’s sorry for not passing critical cost information to the Board. The projected amounts developed by the County RDMD were significant – in the millions – and congruent with the ultimate figures presented by Kishimoto Architects, hired by Daly after the sale went through.
What information the Board was given was rosy: work on the building would be relatively minor, that the building was “reasonably maintained,” and that renovation would be done by Daly.
Wrong on all counts.
But everything is still okay, see, because the County has been using the lot for parking and has saved a whopping $26,000 a year. Mauk wraps up his report with this whopper:
“In the meantime, it does appear that having the property in our inventory is a positive outcome.”
Well only in government bureaucracies is wasting $2,100,000 on a near worthless property considered a positive outcome. I can only hope some Supervisor who really wants to supervise something will ask Mauk to quantify that statement. Mr. Moorlach?
Mauk may choose to do the Texas two-step around the truth, but I won’t. Check out the list of people CC’d at the bottom of that RDMD memo. The County Clerk was well aware of the millions needed to make that building functional and yet disclosed none of it to the Board; neither did the RDMD staff who created it. How come this happened? Mauk doesn’t bother to inform his readers. Hopefully the Board will be curious.
Was Daly hoping his $60,000 investment in Townsend and Associates was going to pay off with a big State grant that would cover the true costs to relocate the archives? If so that idea sure bombed big time.
What is inescapable is the conclusion that both the Clerk’s Department and the RDMD deliberately withheld the true financial implications of this acquisition in order to get the Board to go along with it. Is there another explanation? It would also appear that Mr. Mauk would now like the whole thing whitewashed.
So that’s the story. Now, who’s going to do something about it?