Why a light bulb costs almost $500.00 at the AOC

Posted on March 7, 2011


The picture isn’t working out. Imagine one guy on a ladder, one holding the ladder, one directing traffic and one supervising with a two-way radio.

This is an image familiar to court workers all over California who witness something similar every day. One bulb, one worker to replace it, one to hold the ladder, one to ensure safety and to direct traffic and one to supervise.

All being billed against a service work order for about $99.00 per person, per hour. No, we’re not done yet. There is the people whom the supervisor has on the other end of the two-way radio that must be paid, along with the area supervisor and those people in accounting that will code the invoice. And we can’t forget the management bonus.

If this were a ballast instead of just a bulb, all of this activity would be subcontracted out to a similar motley crew as a subcontract of these guys here. That is where the really big money is. Installing a ballast that costs just twelve bucks might cost you, the taxpayer as much as two thousand five hundred dollars.

Let’s look at the same transaction with local court workers or DGS workers. This same motley crew changing the light bulb (no disrespect meant state/dgs workers) would cost a little less than 2/3 rds as much as the service provider. If this were a ballast replacement instead of a bulb replacement, this motley crew of state or DGS workers would cost just 15% of an AOC service provider as nothing would need to be subcontracted out.

We’re happy to see a vote that subjects court construction funds to the public contract code but we would like to see others join us in asking why these contracts were structured like slot machines fixed to hit the jackpot with every coin deposited in the first place. Also why the new contracts are more of the same, save boosting that $500.00 of no accountability to $2,000.00 of little accountability.

This is how the AOC mans buildings.

They don’t do what you would do and go hire someone with a pulse, experience and tools and pay them an hourly rate.

They allow another company to pay the 25 bucks per hour to a person with a pulse, a clean criminal background check and no tools or knowledge and make a whopping 400%+ minimum markup by billing hours against a service work order. Part of the jackpot comes into play because it’s possible to be billed a hundred hours against service work orders for just fourty hours of actual work. The other part of the jackpot comes in the incentive to subcontract everything out at inflated costs as to avoid the profit ceiling presented by your own work force.

We will be attaching some additional files to this post that outlines Team Jacobs issues in Contra Costa County soon so check back.

*note to readers: We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with posts that include video and imagery as well as the performance of this site and are working to address the issues.