Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why We Need to Know About the City Change Orders

When I first started getting interested in city politics, one of the first things I wanted to see were the Purchase Orders and Change Orders on construction projects for the city.

Well, I actually wanted to see some sort of general ledger that would show all of the funds going in and out of the city's accounts, but that wasn't available, so I figured P.O.'s and C.O.'s would be a good substitute.

It took quite a long time to get what I wanted (about two months) and I still didn't get completely what I was looking for. I was only able to look at a two week period for Purchase Orders and only got a small smattering of Change Orders. Even though I had specifically asked to see all the Change Orders on one particular project, to be determined pretty much at their discretion, I was given change orders from totally different projects.  So, I couldn't get a good idea of all of the total changes that happened on one project at all.

However, I did find out some valuable information.

In the Purchase Orders, it outlined how in just those two weeks we spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertising to local media outlets, and that we made questionable purchases such as $400 to be part of the National Parking Deck Association.

I also found this in the Change Orders:
Change Order No. 26     Renovations to Thailian Hall    $8,760.59
        Constructive Building Solution
        Wilmington, NC
This change order consists of pelmet drapes and webbing on the side box curtains covered with fabric. 
Yes, folks, you just paid nearly $9k for "pelmet drapes and webbing on the side box curtains" for Thalian Hall.

Now, I'm sure some people in the city will make the argument that this was an absolutely essential expenditure.  Even though I know really nothing about this other than what is in that Change Order, I can't imagine this being essential.

But the point remains: wouldn't you like to know things like this are going on?

No comments:

Post a Comment