Tonight the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will meet for a regular meeting and revisit an agenda item that failed to get assembly approval two weeks ago. During the May 2 meeting the assembly failed to approve a contract with Wohlforth Brecht Cartledge and Brooking for legal services associated with the sale of revenue bonds for the new long term care facility.
During last Thursday’s work session, Assemblyman Mel Stephens asked why the contract was back.
“I’d like to know why it is back on the agenda. We voted on whether to postpone and ask for additional information on this. That motion failed. We voted on whether to pass it, that motion failed. No person asked for reconsideration," he said. "So I think your obligation was to call up the attorney and say the decision of the assembly was not to go along with this.”
The contract failed in large part because of an increase in fees associated with the legal services. In July 2012 the firm bid for the contract with a fee of $17,500, but on May 2 the assembly faced a contract for $25,000, plus any additional expenses. At the time there was no explanation of the change, but a memo has since been provided to the assembly by the borough’s attorney outlining why the cost went up, and where in the original contract fee increases are allowed.
The memo helped clarify the matter for Assemblyman Tuck Bonney, who said he is in favor of revisiting the contract, even after voting against it during the May 2 meeting.
-- (LTC Repeat 2 :34 “I was led to believe
that the contract was a solid contract for $17,500 and it couldn’t be
changed. But it’s very clear in that contract that if the scope of the
work changes, which it did, it went from a $7 million bond to an $18
million bond, and I support it 100 percent. I got bad advice. I got
slapped upside the head on this one and I’m not happy about it. Because
it was in the contract and nobody brought that up. You didn’t bring it
up Mel, when you said the $17,500, you didn’t even talk about the
contract. So I support it. I got bad information and I apologize to the
borough assembly for making that vote.”)
Stutes was absent from the last meeting, but said she listened to the
audio from it and was shocked to see it back on the agenda for this
-- (LTC Repeat 3 :29 “And I listened to it
not once, not twice, but I listened to it three times. And I couldn’t
believe when I saw it on the agenda. Nobody requested additional
information, nobody, except for Karl. Nobody on the assembly said I
would like to have additional information from the attorneys, and it was
voted down. And I thought, Jesus, what does this mean? If staff doesn’t
like the way the vote goes they just put it back on the agenda? This is
problematic for me.”)
Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said borough
code allows the contract to be revisited, so he and the clerk put it
back on once the additional information from the borough’s attorney was
Assemblywoman Chris Lynch said she supported
revisiting the contract and said the memo from the attorney paints a
different picture than what the assembly had to work with before.
(LTC Repeat 4 :29 “The memo from the attorney calls
out the timeline and the reason why they were requesting additional
funding, and yes, this project changed three separate times. First it
was a $7 million bond, which would be a different bond than once the
project increased in size. They had to redo documents three times,
clearly there was additional work and I think they’re justified in the
memo that they wrote and are requesting.”)
The contract will be
before the assembly during tonight’s regular meeting, which begins at
7:30 p.m. in the borough assembly chambers. If the contract fails
tonight, borough code states that it cannot be revisited for another six
months, unless the assembly decides otherwise.