Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Last Night's Special City Council Meeting Was Yet Another Bad One For Bruce Inman

Just mailing it in?
You have to wonder if perhaps Bruce Inman is asking, in a round about and rather passive aggressive way, to be retired. And if that is the case, judging by the frustrated reactions of the City Council to Bruce's performance last night, he just might get that wish. And sooner than we even know.

Due to the sunsetting of the UUT, making this a time when money is truly the most troubling issue the City Council has to deal with, Bruce continues to only offer solutions that require the spending of lots of it. Last night was no exception, with the amount asked this time being $28,250. No alternatives to that number were offered by the Director of Public Works, though clearly some could have been.

Last night's Special Meeting of the Sierra Madre City Council was originally supposed to be one item only, and expected to last all of 15 minutes. It involved a Sacramento concocted UUT collection adjustment that expands the confiscatory reach of City Hall to tax a previously untouched category of cell phone service. The vote on this item was a legal formality, one that was quickly held and unanimously passed.

However, on August 13 an important connection to the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, which is a large pipe, sprang a leak. And since the SGVMWD is now the sole source of water for Sierra Madre, it is a serious problem. Temporarily patched, the financing for required permanent repairs was added to the agenda, and at the last moment.

Now there is budget in existence that would cover that amount of money, but can be spent only if the City Council first votes its approval. And given the emergency nature of this problem, a serious rupture in the line where SGVMWD water is piped into this city's system, it was obvious to all attending that the work needs to be done.

But the devil is in the details, so let's take a look at the Staff Report (link).


On the surface this all looks fairly standard, but you need to know a little more. Perry C. Thomas Construction is the same company that did the original work, and that took place just two short years ago.

Here is some more to chew on:


So here's the problem as I see it. As I said above, Perry C. Thomas Construction is the company that built all of this two years ago. Therefore they could be held at fault for any failures causing this line to spring a leak. Traditionally the company that does the job is responsible for their work. And according to the City Attorney, for a period of four years. Well within the time frame we're discussing today.

Yet Perry C. Thomas is the only company Bruce Inman called. No inquiries were made to any other companies that do such work, nor were any answers as to why this problem might have happened sought. Instead, claiming time was of the essence and that no other possible remedy could be considered, Bruce made just the one call, and that was to the very people likely responsible for the failure.

And so you know, the amount paid to Perry C. Thomas for their original work on this project was in excess of $500,000. An awful lot of money, even for government. The stated purpose being to link Sierra Madre to a viable water source.

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This amount was paid by the SGVMWD and not the City of Sierra Madre, but you know the drill. The source of all such funding comes from just one place, that being the pockets of you and I.

It seems to me that a City Director more engaged with his job would have called Perry C. Thomas Construction and asked them to come out and take a look at the sad state of their work. And once there demanded that they explain why this leak occurred.

Certainly holding them financially responsible for any needed repairs is not an unheard of practice. As it is Perry C. Thomas Construction would stand to profit by their failed work. You have to wonder if they believed they would get away with that.

When asked by the City Council last night why this failure occurred, Bruce admitted he didn't really know. But since he only made that one phone call, this is not very surprising.

Councilmember Gene Goss boiled it all down. Gene compared this to a plumber installing a bathtub at his house. If the tub springs a leak two years later, wouldn't the most obvious solution be to call that same plumber and make him fix his shoddy work? And if that guy can't get the job done, hire someone else and make the original plumber pay the bill?

Pretty standard stuff in anybody's life. A workman is expected to stand by his work, and almost always at no additional cost.

Here is another problem. The firm that designed the system for this SGVMWD hook up is Spencer Engineering. Another company Bruce has done a lot of business with over the years. Wouldn't they have been among the first calls you would have made? In order to find out what happened?

Under questioning from the City Council, it turns out that call has yet to take place.

All Bruce Inman did was make one call, and got a quote from that one company. That being the same company likely responsible for this failure, and therefore beholden to fix the problem at no cost.

Then Bruce asked the City Council for the $28,250 that Perry C. Thomas Construction demanded to repair their own inadequate work. Certainly the people of the City of Sierra Madre deserve better than that.

A clearly exasperated City Council asked Bruce Inman to get them some more answers. We'll see how that all goes.

sierramadretattler.com

53 comments:

  1. Where is the city manager in all this? Why didn't she answer any hard questions?

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  2. Bruce should ask the council for money to hire a consultant to help him with this difficult issue.

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    1. Who would call the consultant? Bruce is obviously very busy.

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    2. A specially hired part time employee might work.

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    3. This is pretty basic stuff. Of course when you are dealing with other people's money, maybe people like Mr. Inman don't care as much. As Gene Goss points out in his example, I can assure you that if a similar situation happened in Mr. Inman's house, he would call the plumber and ask some tough questions as to how it happened after only two years. Instead, he simply calls the people who did the shoddy job and expects the City Council and the taxpayers to pay them again for their own mistake. Its called City Government in action. And don't think this is an isolated case. The fraud and incompetence goes on all the time. That's why I never will vote on any new taxes or extending the UUT until I'm convinced that all waste, redundancy, and inefficiencies have been eliminated from the budget.

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    4. I will not vote to increase the UUT. The city has not shown that they are a trustworthy steward of the public purse.

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    5. I won't vote to increase the UUT because it was all based on a lie and purposeful misinformation

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  3. Bruce if you're reading this - a water question. Does the city do anything with the water that is always running from the dam thru the canyon? Does it go to the settling ponds or just pass through the city? Is the city entitled to that water?

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  4. in the real business world, Bruce would be fired with cause

    but he works for Elaine

    she didn't ask him why he went back to the same company?

    jeez is incompetence a badge of honor is city governments?

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  5. The CC is asking questions, but they need to go a little further and include Elaine.

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  6. Elaine and Bruce need to take retirement. There are people working at City Hall who could be easily promoted to their positions, and do those jobs far better.

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    1. yeah but their retirement is going to cost us for years to come

      amazing paying for incompetence once it's gone

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  7. August 13? The leak started on August 13th and is being brought to the city's attention on August 24th?

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    1. Wonder what we've overpaid...

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  8. Anybody know, are we talking about shutting off all water in the city to fix the pipe, or is there some kind of system in place that anticipated an event like this?

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    1. They're going to draw water from the city's own wells while this is happening to keep households supplied. There is a real measure of doubt here, though. They'll have to custom make a part, and they got to get this done before our own supplies run out. Is there a chance for real trouble? Yes, there is. Are they winging it? Could be.

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    2. Thanks 8:25.
      So there will be a mix of the bad reactions we've had with the chloramine water in the pipes, and our good water. Huh.

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    3. Wow. Nothing to worry about here.

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    4. The water tanks will be filled with MWD water, not our own water. We don't have enough water to pump to fill all we need.

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  9. We've been giving examples of Mr.Inman's incompetence for years. Yet one more example and who knows how many have been concealed.The entire water issue is a damning indictment of Inman & Aguilar
    1.Inam lacks the qualifications for his job (P.E. or equivalent)
    2.His subordinate Cimino is equally unqualified.
    3.Neither have basic management skills required.
    4.Neither have an incentive to improve nor the interest in the community to try
    5.We pay for the Councils failure to dismiss them for cause.
    6.The longer the Council dithers ,the greater the cost to our budgets.

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    Replies
    1. If Cimino goes, the city would be in a heap of trouble. He knows more about our public works department than anyone in the city. As for his management skills, I am not privy to the behind-the-scenes, but his workers all admire and respect him, and that's saying a lot.

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    2. I agree. When Inman goes Cimino deserves promotion.

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    3. Seems to be a problem in our administrative offices. The planning department has a senior planner who is far more knowledgable and conscientious than any of the Directors have been.

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    4. Cimino- nobody "desrves" a promotion. You earn it in open competition with other qualified candidates.
      This nonsense is why we mistakenly hired Inman in the first place and why we have an even less qualified #2.
      Time for the Council to get some real talent in the Management team.If Cimino wins the contest fair & square - great !

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  10. I have cut my water usage so much I wouldn't even notice if they shut off the water.

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    Replies
    1. The toilets are of some concern - how about the Kensington....

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  11. Does the city ever check to see where these suppliers get their supplies? We already know that some products that are imported have been faulty. Do they ever ask what the warrenty is on 500,000 dollars worth of work? 1 year? That's it? Why does nothing ever fall back on Elaine? Inman couldn't answer questions last night and Elaine did? That's fine. But she knew all this in advance. She didn't advise him what the right thing to do would be and the CC didn't hold her responsible. Nothing is ever clear. Something is rotten in Denmark.

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  12. When asked how much of an emergency this is, Bruce said the only problem is they had to disconnect the anti-corrosion feed. However, he said, there haven't been complaints of increased discoloration of the water since that disconnect. But we are so used to the brown water that we haven't complained. At a gathering of friends on Sunday, our conversation turned to the condition of our water. We all agreed from the west side to middle of town, to the east side, we all have had an increase of the - not yellow - but brown water. We are all concerned about our health.

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    Replies
    1. Fellow residents, no one is actually drinking this water, right?
      Don't drink it!

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    2. North east has nasty water too.

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  13. What if there's a fire?

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    1. Bring hotdogs and marshmallows.

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    2. They'll be plenty of campfires to go around.

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  14. Concerned SGV CitizenAugust 25, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Bruce Inman should consider paying with Gemcoins or pieces of buggy hard resin

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    1. Sierra Madre Water Enterprise is not backed by amber mines.

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    2. Water Company leaps its profit.

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  15. I haven't complained again about my orange water filled with sediment. I gave Bruce a bottle of it months ago and never heard a thing. I not only have the colored water but anything that gets washed has a residue on it. I have soft water. I've had it checked three times. No problem with that. No stainless flatware, as the other kept getting rust, has rust. The inside of my dishwasher, which is stainless has rust. IS THAT A BIG ENOUGH COMPLAINT, BRUCE??????

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps you should complain to a city official not Mr. Crawford and a bunch of anons?

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    2. When you complain to Crawford & The Anons (great rock band, btw) you get some action. Complain to City Hall and they blows a bunch of happy smoke up your, um, ear.

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    3. 4:21, I believe Ms. Thayer has already followed your fine suggestion, and thus, needs to take another action, one that could get actual results.

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  16. I said at the very beginning of the change-over and a very stained toilet, that I was going to buy stock in Clorox Toilet Cleaner. Now I wish I had, as I'm now going through it at about a bottle every two weeks.

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    1. It's really working?

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    2. Try Ed Fred toilet bowl cleaner sold at Arnold's . Works great and no hard water ring.

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    3. to 4:21 P, Really? You don't think I've talked to all the CC, Elaine, etc. Posting on the Tattler seems to get heard. What a snarky comment.

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  17. Anyone know how the leak was discovered?

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    Replies
    1. Luck is my guess.

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    2. Luck or a big bumping bill.

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  18. City Hall needs a regime change.

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  19. It's pretty third world to live somewhere where we can't even drink our own water we pay premium $ for. And over pay to live here yet can't have a basic need such as water met.

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    1. 3:11, I'm sure you meant "developing nation", but this is worse, because in a "developing nation" you can boil the water to potability. Can't boil away those damn chloramines....not unless you boil the water for a couple of hours.

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  20. Our 80 year old pipes are holding up better than our new connection.I guess they did a good job in 1935 Go figure........

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  21. Thee seems to be a lot of inbreeding of incompetent public employee city managers? Why is that?

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