Investigation into $520,000 JFC proposal – Rock Springs City Council Pt. I

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Darrian Mechling
[email protected]

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (July 22, 2020) — A city councilperson is an elected legislative official. By definition, it is the responsibility of each city council member to represent the voters, with a clear head and a solid constitution; avoiding any outside influence that may sway the councilpersons’ responsibility to the community.

 

A Resolution accepting and approving a Contract for Professional Services with JFC Engineering Surveyors in the amount of $520,000 for the Bitter Creek Restoration Project prompted a lengthy conversation between community members and council members during the Tuesday night city council meeting.

JFC is a surveying firm in Rock Springs. It has been in business for 56 years. Mayor Tim Kaumo has worked for this company for a total of 38 years and has been president of JFC for the past few years.

During the open forum, Mark Madsen, a Business Development Director from William H. Smith, spoke to the council, “As near as we can tell, all of the companies have the same components to them, with the interest of the good Mayor’s company.” Madsen quickly corrected himself before moving on to say it might not be fair to call it that.

When Madsen finished speaking, Councilman Zotti voiced his concerns.

“As I’ve stated before, because of my inability right now to vote on this with any kind of confidence, I want to make a motion to table the resolution.”

A second was called in favor of tabling the resolution and roll call proceeded with three yes’s and four no’s.

The motion to table the resolution until more information could be provided was shot down.

Although Mayor Kaumo abstained from the vote, he did continue to interact and exert influence on the topic. Suggesting entertaining a motion to move forward for a vote.

Councilman Shalata stated, “so moved your honor.”

Councilwoman Demas seconded the motion.

 

Once again, the roll call began.

Councilman West interrupted with a request to further the discussion, stating, “I’m just curious. I mean obviously, we’ve had a lot of – this has taken a lot of heat this week with the limited amount of information coming out and we’ve had some emails exchanged, there’s a couple of options here. Tabling it was one. We could not approve it and send it out for re-bid or re-RFP I guess. Or we could move forward with it as presented or potentially I would assume move forward and negotiate the price.”

West continued to say, “I’m curious what everyone else feels about it. It’s a pretty important issue. We’ve got a lot of people here in attendance who have a lot of concerns with it. So, I’d like to hear from some of the other councilors on it.”

At this point in the meeting, the information available about price differences, the scoring process, and even the process in which companies can submit a proposal was minimal. Many questions were raised as to what would happen if the proposal failed.

A big take away from this meeting is that there is a $250,000 price difference in the mayor’s proposal. An investigation into the price difference has begun and will continue into part II of this article.