The Office of Court Corruption & Malfeasance (OCCM) announces a sham RFP for maintenance services..

Posted on December 11, 2010

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We call this RFP the deal of the decade. Outlasting any other contract of a similar nature in state government, this RFP permits only the largest of construction and engineering companies to participate. Names like Bechtel, KBR, Jacobs, URS and Halliburton are most of the only companies qualified to submit a bid under this RFP. When one pours through the evaluation criteria for the vendors, everyone but Jacobs is weeded out. This proposal is designed to detract others that are not Jacobs from submitting a bid, so say our experts. 

In early November, I had heard from numerous sources that include AOC employees, AOC contractors and employees of AOC contractors that the terms of the existing contracts against previously unlicensed contractors had been extended for another year. This was confirmed by multiple sources who had all provided JCW with the same information. Indeed, even the AG’s office is going with the decision by delaying their own litigation against the two previously unlicensed contractors for nearly a whole year.

On November 16th, JCW blasted this process as being corrupt and spelling out public corruption in 12 foot high letters because the AOC was still steering millions of dollars of work to the previously unlicensed contractors who only changed their names in an effort to be illegitimately re-qualified to continue to do this work.

Now that JCW and construction professionals that have no interest in bidding on the RFP have reviewed the newly released proposal, JCW urges the AOC to with withdraw, amend and re-publish the proposal. It is a sham RFP written for one and only one bidder.

Let’s ask some pertinent questions: Are the current contractors excluded from participating in this process? Is the AOC rewarding the previously unlicensed contractors, their affiliates or their subsidiaries with another shot at the AOC’s business?

Let’s go to section 3.7 to make this determination as the AOC has not otherwise disqualified the previously unlicensed contractors, their affiliates and subsidiaries. 

“The AOC, in evaluating Proposer’s experience, will consider whether Proposer (or any entity controlled by or under common control with Proposer) has breached an obligation in any contract with the AOC during the seven (7) year period prior to the Proposal Due Date and Time, and whether such breach was subsequently remedied to the satisfaction of the AOC.”

Unfortunately, this ambiguous language does not completely bar the previously unlicensed entities from this contract when it should. This paragraph should also be modified to include the following language:

“The AOC, in evaluating Proposer’s experience, will consider whether Proposer (or any entity controlled by or under common control with Proposer) has breached an obligation or has any unsatisfied outstanding claims in connection with any contract with the AOC during the seven (7) year period prior to the Proposal Due Date and Time, and whether such breach was subsequently remedied to the satisfaction of the AOC and/or the Attorney General of the State of California

That is issue number one that needs to be cured. The AOC’s prohibition barring the previously unlicensed contractors must not be ambiguous enough to permit a re-award.

Issue number two.

This proposal is a 10 year contract, for an initial term of 4 years and three subsequent two year options. (Paragraph 1.8) How about making this for an initial 2 year contract with three subsequent one year extensions instead of locking the AOC into a 10 year contract that may not be in its best interests. Last time out, the AOC broke the contract in two seperate pieces as they did in this contract. They pre-approved a list of local contractors who had local business offices for local court work and then they approved the Jacobs, AGS and Emcor contracts and did not give any of the work to the local contractors . They steered it all to the “service providers” and had them manage the entire process, including subcontracts.

If you are going to hire building engineers to maintain a building, then hire building engineers to maintain a building. Make that one contract. If you hire a construction company, you are likely to find that everything turns into a more expensive construction job rather than a basic maintenance job. Why? Because people make far more money convincing the AOC to retrofit a light fixture ($2000.00) than to change a light bulb (current going AOC rate for a light bulb change is down to only $128.00 these days…)

The AOC has the work broken up into two categories. One being a JOC or Job Order Contract and the other being a FMC facilities mods contract. In the past, the “service provider” got the whole shooting match. Break these pieces apart permanently. Have facilities maintenance people do facilities maintenance and have construction and engineering people provide construction and engineering services. Right now, Jacobs Engineering Group serves as a highly paid middleman and front to American Building Management who represent all of the boots on the ground in the trial courts. This is who “Team Jacobs” is.

This should be prohibited as it is prohibited in public contract code. He who is awarded the contract should be writing the payroll checks to the people with their boots on the ground, not subcontract it to an unqualified vendor to write those checks. This brings us to the falsehood that is paragraph 5.8.

Paragraph 5.8 misleads prospective bidders into believing that a vast majority of the services they provide should be provided in house with little to no subcontracts and cites fraudulent examples and material misrepresentations in the table below this paragraph. With that being said, it’s good for the average Judicial Branch employee to look at this table and understand what a SWO (Service Work Order) costs because the average represents the average call.  And the most common of calls are to adjust a thermostat or change a light bulb. Please re-review these average costs in that light. Furthermore this table misleads people into believing that both Jacobs and AGS do not subcontract out. Either Jacobs is operating as a joint venture with ABM or that they subcontract out the whole shooting match out to ABM. The AOC can’t have it both ways. This table entry supports that Jacobs and ABM are operating as a joint venture because otherwise that table might read that most everything is subcontracted out. Jacobs has no boots on the ground in the trial courts. They are all people paid by and working for ABM that man trial courts. A prospective vendor would look at this entry and the lack of subcontracts, scratch their head and wonder how anyone could possibly accomplish what the AOC is saying they are already getting and not bid on the proposal – or wildly overbid on the proposal as to be able to afford all of that in-house expertise in support of this contract. This paragraph supports the position that this RFP is a sham.

Issue three:

The AOC in this proposal is making requirements that no company in California can fulfill without sub-contracting  all of these services out to others. They know that but since they already have invested heavily in their current service providers to provide these services by paying to train them to perform these tasks for them there is a bit of slanted favoritism going on that gives preference to the existing arrangements and disqualifies most everyone else.

Again, these contracts should be permanently broken into two categories – those that operate and maintain the buildings locally (possibly even under joint control of the local courts) and those that provide professional services, such as lighting, plumbing, electrical, engineering, environmental, HVAC, building automation, etc and each of those professional services contractors should be under the control of the AOC project managers, not an expensive subcontract of the guy that would normally change a light bulb like things are operating now. Break these contracts apart permanently. You are not getting any added value, only added costs by having your vendor subcontract everything out to their own preferred vendors or manage the downstream bidding processes to do this work.

Issue four:

These proposals actually ask for cost plus alternatives to fixed price jobs or bidding, indicating that the AOC believes that contracting ala KBR/Haliburton DOD style might be a better alternative, more cost effective and a better value to the AOC.

Fred Stetson, Jerry Pfab and Grant Walker, whatever you are smoking, please keep it to yourselves. You gentlemen are out of your @!%$ing minds believing that and have no data to support it. In fact, you have $175.00 to empty an ash tray, $150.00 to change a light bulb, $1,000.00 to lower a flag to half-mast and another $1,000.00 to raise that flag the next day as your underlying data. In all of this elaborance of this proposal, exactly how does a building engineer get paid to stay in a building all day? Does he bill every task as an individual job? Does he bill you by the day as if he were a temporary employee doing an all day job? Your elaborate 81 page RFP seems to make no mention of how you currently hypothetically pay such a person and we can only infer by past performance that the guy who lowered the flag to half-mast for a grand probably manned the building all day and changed 150.00 lightbulbs and emptied $175.00 ash trays. Legitimize these activities by simply paying a fixed rate for someone to man the building when the law or the local court requires someone to man the building and do so for a fixed charge…. not some magical hocus pocus 81 pages of contract language with complicated formulas. This is yet another reason to seperate basic maintenance from professional services. You will gain far greater value in doing business the way that everyone else does. Just because you gentlemen came from the Air Force doesn’t mean the AOC should be issuing DOD style cost plus contracts to …… janitors. There, I said it. ABM is licensed as a janitorial firm that is running the courts as a contractor on behalf of Jacobs. Laughable, yet true.

I could go on and on about this proposal and how this is a winner take all deal for the next 10 years and that the winner is already a preferred vendor established and nurtured already by the AOC. So don’t be surprised if Jacobs is awarded the whole state “Deal of the Decade” for the next 10 years and don’t say we didn’t tell you so.