Monday, October 6, 2008

CH2M Hill withdraws Dunwoody bid & Boyken presents their plan to assist city.

This evening the Dunwoody City Council met for a work session to discuss various options for City Implementation and we were expecting to compare the CH2M Hill proposal against the Boyken Weber Hybrid plan. Unfortunately the Mayor received a letter from CH2M Hill stating that they no longer wanted to be considered for the Dunwoody project; therefore only the representatives from Boyken made a proposal to the council and the audience in attendance.

The Boyken plan intends to act as interim City Manager and hire an interim finance director and police chief to start basic operations until which time the full time City Manager is hired in late November. The plan would be to contract out individual contracts vs. hiring one master contractor to run the city.

I have attached documents regarding the Boyken proposal received from the City Attorney prior to the meeting as well as the audio recording of the meeting.

Our next meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday, 7 p.m. at Peachtree Middle School though I have not yet received an electronic copy of the agenda to post electronically; I did see it at tonight's meeting and the vote on which option we should take on city implementation was removed. Therefore we will be voting on Chapters 1 (General Provisions), 2 (Administration), 9 (Ethics) & 10 (Elections) of the city ordinances that have been discussed in the last two meetings.

Tomorrows meeting will have two open comment periods unlike this evenings agenda which had the comment period mistakenly left off. Our attorneys stated that because it was a special work session that we could not modify the formal agenda; therefore in the future I will carefully review all agendas to assure that this mistake doesn't happen again.

The AJC already has an article on line.

29 comments:

Ilovemykids said...

Not sure if it just the AJC article's slant, but it sounds as if CH2M got upset that they weren't just handed Dunwooody, "lock , stock and barrel". John, can you shed some light on their reasons?

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

From the AJC:

“They withdrew because they don’t feel they can get the kind of support they need to partner with the city,” Porter said.

Could it be any more clear that Mr. Porter is a broker for CH2M and not the independent consultant some folks say he is?

City supporters have encouraged us to "buy Dunwoody" to support the city's businesses. Perhaps that is a good thing for the city to do as well, but Wittenstein has it right, it would be nice to have some competition for our business.

Now more than ever it is important that the public be granted access to the Excel Workbooks behind Weber's proposal.

Can I make a formal Open Records request here?

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

Found it!

Thanks!

Jogger said...

Beware, my fellow Dunwoodians! We once again have only one bid proposal -- Boyken's -- on the table. In other words, there's NO COMPETITION! Plus, consider the source: Boyken is being promoted by a guy, Mr. Dan Weber, who fully contributed to and supported the lies in the CVI study which swayed people to vote for cityhood in the first place. I, for one, wouldn't trust DW with one dime of my tax dollars. P.S. As an side: keep in mind, DW was working for (i.e., taking payments from) the civil engineering firm that was making initial recommendations on the viability of constructing the new Peachtree Middle School building, while at the same time running for his current seat on a platform that supported the building of that school. It doesn't take a genius to see conflict of interest here.

Ilovemykids said...

The Peachtree Middle School facility is marvelous, so what is your point jogger?

Rick said...

Dan Weber has no control over DeKalb schools. If he did have control over DeKalb schools we would not be destroying our community with a 4-5 school. Nor would we be facing a middle school at 140% in three years.

We are in a tight spot now with they city since we never got a firm quote from Boyken, have we?

Your said...

This issue of how to operate and manage the city has not been open to the people of Dunwoody since the beginning. We were told by DY that "...the same or slightly higher level of service with no tax increase" and now he is not sure if the budget can be balanced.
Looks like we got hoodwinked. Just wait, they will ease in tax increases, SPLOST, and other tax increases. Next thing you know, we will have very high property taxes.
Thank goodness for Heneghan and his dedication to transparent, no doubt Wittenstein and others would prefer to do all this below the radar.

Jogger said...

"Transparency" or not, we only have ONE bidder for the city administration contract now -- Boyken. And that bidder is in bed with Dan Weber. And both are active, either directly or indirectly, in or with the Dunwoody Homeowners Association -- which, unless you have been living under a rock in the last 15 years, you should know has more political sway in this town than any other single organization or individual. The DHA and Dan Weber have vested interests in ensuring that Boyken gets this contract so they can pass laws influencing every aspect of your life. I wonder if the Council, in all its wheeling and dealing, will appoint a volunteer citizen-represented oversight committee? It wouldn't cost a penny, and it could keep the good ol' boy network in line.

Kelly Spratling said...

Seems like it would be prudent to contract with the county for services, to allow the city time to reissue an RFP and try and drum up some competition.

Jogger said...

Kelly, yes -- prudent it would be. However, it is certain most, if not all, of our Council members feel that contracting with the County is like dealing with the Devil incarnate.

(Even more prudent -- maybe we could "reissue" the City Charter and rewrite it as a township!)

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

Contracting with the county is simply not politically viable. After all, what would that look like?

Higher taxes. More politicians on the dole. More employees (city manager and attorney) on the payroll. And, all the same services from the same provider.

It would look like a bunch of egotists playing a dangerous game of SimCity with our money. And demonstrating they don't play the game very well--certainly not as well as they said they could when they needed our votes to get in the game.

Rick said...

I am not opposed to higher taxes. I have no problem paying a few hundred dollars a year more than I do now in exchange for equal services and control of zoning.

Furthermore, I suggest we petition the State to create a City of Dunwoody School District then vote on a $25 million bond to build (or buy) City of Dunwoody High School.

Jogger said...

TOD: The CofD is already just a lame game, played by third-rate power-hungry politico-wanna-be's. They are playing Monopoly with REAL money -- OUR money. They want to control everything -- so they can say it's all mine, mine, MINE!

RICK: Oh, I almost forgot -- the REAL reason for becoming a city: to keep developers from zoning for apartments -- as if most every Dunwoodian who now lives in a single family home didn't start out in an apartment or live in one for some portion of their precious life!

And have you actually looked at some of the apartments under construction or recently completed around here? They are really NICE -- and priced very high, I might add. Regarding control of schools -- my children are getting a very good education at DHS, have many friends there and find the teachers quite stimulating. Not that it's perfect or doesn't have problems. But do you really think a City of Dunwoody could run DHS any better???

In actual fact, you'd be swapping the devil who lives on Memorial Drive for the devil who lives next door.

Rick said...

jogger,

Have you ever seen home values increase in value? Of course you have, especially in Dunwoody.

Have you ever see apartments get nicer (and raise rents) year after year? Rarely if ever.

All apartments and condos start out as nice, then they diminish. Take a look behind Wal-Mart. The original apartments there were OK when built, then nicer, newer apartments were built. What happened? The older apartments drop rates a couple hundred a month and then rent to bottom-feeder tenants. Then newer apartments are built. The original units go Section 8, the 2nd built lower rent, and the cycle continues.

Bottom line is I'd rather be surrounded by single family homes than apartments. I'm sure 99% of Dunwoody agrees. The other 1% are lying.

Glad to hear your kids are doing well at DHS.

I would much prefer local control of our schools instead of the people controlling the schools at present.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

Back of the envelope...

DeKalb Schools total budget divided by total number of FTE students gives approximately $11,500 per FTE. Thus each DCS K-12 education is about $150,000 of taxpayer money. If the parent(s) pay this back over 30 years, each child represents over $4900 per year in taxes.

The average household with children will never pay back this burden they place on society and those that would probably send their children to private schools. Maybe we should add 'educate' to the list of parental responsibilities, alongside 'clothe' and 'feed' and then it wouldn't matter where you build apartments.

That probably won't go over well with those on the receiving end of this entitlement.

Jogger said...

TOD: Interesting way you put it. You know, presidential candidate Ron Paul wants to get rid of the U.S. Dept. of Education, preferring to let the states and local communities manage that function. I'd go for that.

But also, keep in mind that as property owners, apartment developers pay taxes too, which they build into their rents. So it's not like they're just taking away land and not giving their fair share to governmental entities.

Rick said...

Thank Jimmy Carter for the Dept of Education, he created it. Notice our rank in the world (education) starts to drop soon after Jimmy created the Dept of Educ.

I agree with government schools and do not consider educating the youth of our country a burden as does thaddeus. But the liberal force in the Gov't schools is overwhelming (pick up a kid's textbook, science or history, and you'll see it). Although many kids are receiving a quality education too many are not.

In Dunwoody Vernon Jones has been a favorite punching bag, but most do not know the school system has a higher budget than does the county! We should focus on Dr Lewis, Jim Redovian, and the rest of the Board for better leadership. I know DeKalb schools have to deal with the hand dealt to them every August and no Board member or Super. can make a huge difference in test scores, but they do a piss-poor job of planning. Look no further than PCMS and our current elem. cluster and you'll see it.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

I'm not forgetting the taxes I paid as an apartment dweller or the other taxes we all pay. I am pointing to the family down the street with 3 children in public school. Their children's DCS education will cost taxpayers over $34K per year. While they live in a nicer, more expensive house and have an excellent household income, the property tax, state income tax (which does cover things other than education) and fed taxes they will pay is not going cover those educations. Other taxpayers, individual and business, are funding this entitlement which feeds a bureaucratic monster that fails at its stated mission.

And everyone who thinks "most schools stink, but my kids are getting a great education" should watch the documentary "2 Million Minutes". This would be most parents in Georgia--and that is a big part of the problem.

Rick said...

thaddeus,

The fact that we all fund the public schools has nothing to do with your neighbor having a nicer house and better income than you.

Don't think for a minute a kid is getting close to $11k in educational resources. The DCS is full of waste at the county office. At best half that amount is actually used to educate.

And if the kids were left to roam the streets with no funding of public schools your home in Dunwoody would be worth far less than it is. Better schools equals better home values- that is proven every day in the real estate market. If the quality of education (real or perceived) decreases in Dunwoody so will your home value. East Cobb has great schools but a terrible location (logistically from the interstates) but home values their increase annually because of the schools.

If you want to pay less in school taxes try Clayton County. Your $500,000, 4000 sq foot home in Dunwoody would be worth $235,000 there.

Jogger said...

Dunwoody is all about real estate values -- and keeping up appearances. Spanking new school buildings, well-dressed Caucasion students, neatly-mowed lawns, nice big cars parked in front of imposing homes -- these seem to be of paramount importance around here. Sure, I do my part to be a good neighbor and maintain my house -- but I certainly don't want any part of this kind of brazen materialism.

And as regards education: it's actually the psychiatrists and their twisted thinking (not to mention all their prescription drugs) that have infiltrated our schools since the 1950's, that has caused the downturn in educational quality.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

Sorry Rick, but you missed my point. I don't have house envy and I'm not complaining about the taxes I pay. To be blunt: even upscale Dunwoody homeowners who pay some of the top property taxes and make incomes carrying significant income and usage tax loads are not, on average, going to pay society what it costs society to educate their children. Simple cash flow analysis.

Now imagine the burden we carry from people not as well off as those in Dunwoody. Now we see why some folks want to take Dunwoody schools away from those other people in DeKalb.

Whether or not the cost society pays DCS actually makes it into "educational resources", whatever that is, is a different discussion but it speaks to the enormity of the entitlement society built around public schools.

Look, everyone has their favorite entitlement (I know I have mine) and we all rationalize how it isn't really an entitlement. It's great for the community, in fact all of America is the better for it! Come on, let's be honest: we detest people looking for a handout so we refuse to see it in ourselves.

But pause a moment and ponder what this really means: "And if the kids were left to roam the streets with no funding of public schools your home in Dunwoody would be worth far less than it is". Sounds more like the description of a part-time prison than a place of learning.

And where are the parents, our wonderful neighbors, during all this? You're describing them as so responsible that if they cannot dump these children off in society's daycare, they'll just let them run wild. Do you really mean to suggest this is the kind of community Dunwoody would be without this government subsidy?

So I'll go back to my original, tongue-in-cheek, totally politically incorrect suggestion: parents should be responsible for their own children---including education.

DunwoodyParent said...

Thad,

Good reply. I agree with all your points, but the public school format is not going away anytime soon.
You are right in that the schools are a daycare/ temporary holding cell (from grade 1 to grade 12) for many kids. regarding school tax, we do not 'keep' all we pay. School taxes are paid to a general fund, then the state distributes all over. A small rural county has a school tax, but it is not enough to fund the program so the state sends them $ from the fund (money that may have come from you or me).

Dunwoody and many other communities would survive (and may be better) if public schools simply vanished tomorrow.

Jogger,

Dunwoody is not defined by 'spanking new schools'. Half of our kids in K-5 grades attend class in a dirty temporary trailer with no bathrooms, they eat lunch at 10:15 in the morning, they have substandard bathrooms, etc. if you think the students are well-dressed because their is a dress code. I think most communities in the USA prefer to have nice lawns, not just Dunwoody.

I agree that the shrinks (and school counselors) have a negative impact on the schools. Every time something happens they call in the counselors. I had classmates die, storms, etc when I was a kid (and you did also) and we did not have counselors 'save' us from dealing with reality.

Jogger said...

Dunwoodyparent,

Thanks for the reply. You may find this interesting, I recently spoke with a Vanderlyn parent who is pleased as punch about the new trailer her son is in. She says it's well-lit, they sit in brand new desks and it even has its own bathroom. (!)

And yes, I suppose most communities want to be well-kept. But I'm talking about making "appearances" the focal point of a governmental value system. Like right now the Council is discussing where the new City Hall will be. I think at this juncture, renting some vacant bare-bones office space at a competitive rate would be fine. A few years down the road, when we have the more important business taken care of -- including the budget - we can build the Pantheon if the city so desires.

Jogger said...

Dunwoodyparent,

Thanks for the reply. You may find this interesting, I recently spoke with a Vanderlyn parent who is pleased as punch about the new trailer her son is in. She says it's well-lit, they sit in brand new desks and it even has its own bathroom. (!)

And yes, I suppose most communities want to be well-kept. But I'm talking about making "appearances" the focal point of a governmental value system. Like right now the Council is discussing where the new City Hall will be. I think at this juncture, renting some vacant bare-bones office space at a competitive rate would be fine. A few years down the road, when we have the more important business taken care of -- including the budget - we can build the Pantheon if the city so desires.

DunwoodyParent said...

jogger,

the trailers at Vanderlyn are of course upscale. Go over to Austin and ask for the trailer park tour. I think the PTA charges $1.00 for the tour. The trailers there are nothing short of 3rd World squatting sheds. No bathrooms, walkways to/from trailers do not meet code (it's mud and gravel), blah, blah, blah.

I hope Vanderlyn donates a couple of those fancy trailers to the new Goodwill and the Austin PTA buys them on the cheap.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

DunwoodyParent said...
"the public school format is not going away anytime soon".

Sounds like the only areas of disagreement would be "when" and "how".

I submit it will be gone before most parents wake up to the new reality. We are clearly in the parental denial phase: a vast majority of parents in GA acknowledge GA public schools are some of the worst in the nation, except that their child goes to a really good school and is getting an excellent education. Unfortunately it isn't just that Georgia is the bottom of the heap in the US, but the US is at the bottom internationally.

It will be a real shock to parents when their kid is rejected at MIT even though they have a 4.8 GPA from Best HS in Bountiful, GA yet some kid from Bangalore with a killer work ethic and a head full of math gets in. Of course, they don't want their kid to be a geek, their kid deserves a fulfilling life---serving espresso to the kid from India when he graduates and gets that geek job. Only problem is our boy from Bangalore is headed home with his degree and high paying job, and all the money that might have been contributed to our economy goes back with him.

Before you know it IIT is widely recognized as far superior to MIT and other countries aren't even sending their kids here to study. What do we have then? A nation of adults with 4-yr psychology degrees and no worthwhile job and making no meaningful contribution. Unless you consider creating yet another generation just like them is meaningul.

Of course that's all just a story I heard from the guy next to me on the plane. From China.

dunwoodydad said...

Dunwoody High School is a dump.
I attended mostly public schools as a kid. I would have been terrified to walk through those doors.

SuperAwesome AKA Very Bad Tacos! said...

Wow, what a surprise, Boyken Intl. is now the only proposal to lead the citizens of Dunwoody into cityhood! Maybe transparency isn't such a good quality to be celebrating at this point as it is only clarifying what a colossal train wreck this idea is turning out to be.
Am I the only one that is reminded of the Halliburton scandal when reading this? Seriously, I am just waiting for the rumors of Sandy Springs hiding weapons of mass destruction to start circulating, and suggestions of immediate attack to be delivered by the city council.

As for the other debates going on...I can only shake my head. Speaking as a citizen that has no kids in public schools, the 'simple cash flow analysis' point is so flawed it makes me wonder if certain people actually think about the things they type. I seriously wonder if people individually analyze their opinions. Unfortunately after reading the post about the the wonderful future of the Bangalor IT student I realized I no longer have to wonder if certain people are actually thinking, it is evident they are not, or possibly they are just extremely misinformed. In any case, the moral of that story is maybe we as a society shouldn't base our opinions off of conversations with people en route from China.

JohnPaul said...

Here's a good example of their (CH2M Hill's) mindset, the one that justifies whatever this greedy corporation will do to get work, despite whether or not it's ethical. Very sad what happened to Tom Huntsinger and his family. Read the following. When Huntsinger's tried to fight it, CH2M just dragged the suit along for years, costing the Huntsingers their life savings and wearing them down until Tom Huntsinger took his life. Read on...

We only ask WHEN (if ever), will CH2M and/or Ralph Peterson find it in their conscience to apologize for all the harm, pain and suffering they inflicted on our family (the Huntsingers), for Huntsingers merely DOING THE RIGHT THING. Under Ralph Peterson's leadership, CH2M literally left a dead body behind them and a family without its son, husband, father, and grandfather (Tom Huntsinger) because CH2M simply wanted yet another job. Instead of dealing with its conflict of interest in a proper, honest way, they "shot the messenger" who raised the issue that there was a conflict of interest. The messenger is now dead! What CH2M has turned into is NOT something we long time Coloradoans should be proud of at this point.