Friday, October 17, 2014

Corrupt Ballard Administration Gives Draft Criminal Justice Center RFP To Indianapolis Star After Stonewalling IBJ's Requests For Months

No good deed goes unpunished by this corrupt administration of Mayor Greg Ballard. The IBJ's Kathleen McLaughlin has endeavored for months to obtain a copy of the RFP the administration released to three handpicked bidding groups last April for a proposed criminal justice center, which the administration repeatedly refused to turn over despite an express law mandating it to do so. Instead, the administration has been working secretively with the bidding groups refining what it described as a draft RFP that could not be released it claimed because it contained proprietary information. Appealing to the state's public access counselor, McLaughlin obtained an informal opinion letter, which openly scoffed at the administration's specious legal claims for keeping the document secret.

Today, the Indianapolis Star reports that the administration shared with it a copy of the draft RFP, along with a draft contract, which it says it plans to put up on the City's website sometime today. Interestingly, the Star has been completely disinterested in the ongoing saga despite the key role the newspaper played in writing the very law enacted nearly two decades ago under which the administration is seeking to rely upon an outside developer to build, operate and maintain the nearly half billion dollar criminal justice center under what is referred to as a public-private partnership ("P3"). The Star at the time, along with the Hoosier State Press Association, had the law written to ensure that deals like this one could not be conducted in the secretive fashion the administration is carrying out this one.
The city this week provided The Indianapolis Star with the terms of the proposed contract, as well as the city's instructions to the three bidders. The documents, which the city plans to post on its website by noon Friday, outline in detail what's expected of the developer, from how many beds are needed (3,000 in the jail and 960 for community corrections), down to innocuous stipulations such as which areas require a janitor's closet or a restroom.
The hundreds of pages of documents also shed light on a sizable chunk of the contract's costs.
The winning bidder will be required to reimburse the city for $16.7 million in pre-construction costs, including $12.5 million for consultants that the city has already hired. The city would receive an additional $11 million "allowance" to pay for advisers and consultants during the design and construction phases.
An independent building expert, hired to verify that the building is up to the city's specifications, is budgeted for $2 million. The developer also is expected to spend $18 million on furniture, fixtures and equipment. Ultimately, these costs will be passed back to the city through the annual fee.
Add interest and 35 years' worth of operational expenses, and the total value of the contract likely will be much higher than the construction estimates — but administration officials say they're convinced that the all-in-one package remains a better option for the city than financing the construction on its own.
The purpose — aside from vacating aging buildings that officials say have been pushed to their limit — is ultimately to be more efficient, project officials say.
Take inmate transportation, which requires more than 10,000 man-hours each year: When an arrest is made today, the prisoner is taken to the Arrestee Processing Center, then to the City-County Building. From there, some inmates are transported to one of the two county jails, only to be taken back to the City-County Building for court hearings.
At the new complex, each stop will be at one location — the former General Motors Stamping plant on South White River Parkway. The city has a tentative agreement in place to buy a portion of the site, mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter said.
David Rosenberg, the city's director of enterprise development, said the bulk of the operational savings will come from terminating the city's $19 million-a-year contract with Community Corrections of America, a private prison company that manages Jail 2.
To make that happen, the city is banking on the Marion County Sheriff's Office being able to handle twice as many prisoners without adding staff. Rosenberg said the inmate-to-deputy ratio would rise from 3-to-1 to 6-to-1 at the new complex, thanks to the efficiencies.
"You won't find too many people that disagree with the concept or the need," Rosenberg said. "They understand the status quo isn't viable any longer."
At least the Star acknowledged that the more than $12 million the administration handed out in no-bid professional services contracts this past year illegally to its political cronies will actually be paid by the taxpayers at the end of the day and cut out this dishonest claim being made by the administration that those costs would be paid by the developer at the end of the day if the project moves forward.

As to this tired old argument about the exorbitant costs associated with transporting inmates among facilities currently, that's another load of crap. If the City simply invested in a video-conferencing system like has been used in counties like Hamilton for many years, it could cut down substantially on the cost of moving inmates to and from either of the jails to the City-County Building. We also keep hearing about a reduction in costs for operating the jail with a brand new, bigger jail in replace of the two current jails. When former Mayor Steve Goldsmith convinced the City-County Council it should ink a P3 agreement that allowed Corrections Corporation of America to operate Jail II, we were told what a tremendous cost-saving move it was. Now we're being told it will be much cheaper to pay a private developer to build a much larger jail than we really need to save a bunch of money--supposedly because Sheriff Layton will be able to do more with fewer staff persons. Since when has the Marion Co. Sheriff's Office done anything efficiently? These people talk out of both sides of their mouth depending on which argument of the day suits the interests of their pay-to-play pals who they seem most concerned about pleasing. This crap about a brand new criminal justice center costing no more than we spend today is just that--crap. Only a fool would fall for it.


Anonymous said...

Unrelated, but of Indiana interest. It would be nice if you had a general drop-box, grab-bag for your readers to post items of interest.

Why must every court in Indiana be such a pro-business shill as to be national embarrassment?

From the story: "In 2010 a federal district court in Indiana, which was assigned the task of coordinating 28 certified class-action lawsuits brought by drivers in dozens of states, also sided with the company, throwing out state claims. In recent months, FedEx Ground’s fortunes have shifted. In August the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, reviewing the Indiana decision, declared that drivers in California and Oregon were employees."

Anonymous said...

This stinks as much as the Regional Operations Center issue.

Tax & Spend. Pay to play. Lack of transparency.

The real estate people and construction people get rich on the taxpayer's expense... and guess what perks come the way of the decision makers!

We already know the guy who brokered the deal for The City with a politically connected real estate firm, resigned, and is now getting paid big $$$ as an executive for that firm. -That building hasn't even been built yet.