Text of the investigative report In Re: Robbie Littles.
DATED 24 JULY 2007
City Manager William Wilkins took no action on this item during the subsequent period of 1 (One) Year........

The text is an OCR conversion of the scanned document, the formatting is less than perfect.

 

The Law Office of
Glen
J. Torcivia and Associates, P.A.
Northpoint Corporate Center
701 Northpoint Parkway
Suite
209
West Palm Beach, Florida 33407-1950

Glen1, Torcivia

14Tri Donor.

Christy &Rideau Jennifer Hunedie

Talephoni

(561) 686.6700
Telefax

156/) 686,8764
walit.e.unciviainincorn

July 24, 2007

Ms. Parnala Ryan

City Attorney

City of Riviera Beach Blue Heron f3ivd,

Riviera Beach, Florida

RE: Robbie Littles Investigation
Dear Ms. Ryan:

RECEIVED

JUL 25 2007

CITY ATTORNEYS OFFICE

In response to your request on behalf of the City of Riviera Beach, this law firm completed the investigation into the allegations brought by John Williams against Risk Manager, Robbie Littles, We were specifically asked to complete the investigation you began but were unable to complete due to your leave of absence from the City. As you know, this investigation was to determine the veracity of the allegations, to provide findings, and to provide recommendations based upon those findings. The report is as follows:

INVESTIGATION PREPARATION

In order to prepare for the investigation and employee interviews, reviewed the City's entire file related to the complaint, including, but not limited to, the following:

The memo from Mr. John Williams to the City Manager, dated April 6,

2006;

The memo from Mr. John Williams to the City Manager; dated June 29,

2006;

The memo from Mr. John Williams to the City Manager, dated September

26, 2006;

The memo from Mr. John Williams to the City Manager, dated October 5,

2006;

5) Documents provided by Mr. Benjamin Guy;

 

Parnala Ryan, City Attorney July 24,2007

Page 2

 

Property appraiser's report on Timiyah Enterprises, Inc;

Williarns/Littles investigation background file;

City Attorney., Pamala Ryan's investigative notes;

The City's Procurement Codes

10) Risk Management Files;

11) Building Division Community Development permit/inspection records

JOHN WILLIAMS’ COMPLAINT

In Mr. Williams' initial memo to the City Manager, dated April 6, 2006, he stated his concerns .regarding the timeliness of hurricane repairs to Parks and Recreation Department facilities. He claimed that he 15 kept "out of the loop" and that repairs were done without his knowledge. Said repairs included the Bicentennial Park pavilion arid the Barracuda Bay Waterpark. He expressed his continued frustration with the Risk Manager, Robbie. Littles, failing to communicate with him regarding repairs to his facilities,

In Mr. Williams' second memo to the City Manager, dated June 29, 2006, he stated has concerns regarding repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion. In particular, Mr. Williams informed the City Manager that upon his request, the City Engineer inspected Timothy L. Wingate's "preparatory work" on the pavilion, The engineer found no plans had been submitted to the building department and no permit had been pulled for the work. He reiterated his frustration at being excluded from decisions regarding hurricane repairs at his facilities

In Mr. Williams' third memo to the. City Manager, dated September 26, 2006, he indicated that Mr. Wingate. approached him for a key to access the upstairs office at the Wells Gym. Mr. Wingate stated that he had been hired by Robbie. Littles to perform repairs to the upstairs office at the Wells Gym. Mr. Williams stared that Mr, Littles failed to communicate or coordinate the repairs with him. He also stated that he contacted the Purchasing Department regarding the bid process conducted for this project and was told that staff was not aware of any contract regarding the work.

In Mr. Williams' fourth memo to the City Manager, dated October 5, 2006, he enumerated a list of concerns he previously communicated to the City Manager regarding Mr. Littles, i.e., his failure to communicate with Mr. Williams regarding hurricane repairs, insurance conceals, and his unprofessional conduct. Mr. Williams then went on to express his concerns regarding Mr, Littles` hiring of Mr. Wingate and the availability of more cost effective vendors. Mr, Williams indicated that he had concluded that there was the appearance of impropriety regarding Mr. Links' selection of Mr. Wingate to perform work for the city. The impropriety, as suggested by Mr. Williams, is that MI-. Littles rents property from Mr. Wingate.

Ms. Pamala Ryan, City Attorney July 24, 2007

Page 3

I net with Mr. Williams on March 21, 2007 at 10:15 a,m, in the City Attorney's office. Mr. Williams' main concern was Mr. Littles' failure to include him in decisions relating to and the coordination of hurricane repairs at his Parks and Recreation Department facilities. He indicated that Mr. Litties failed to coordinate with him the repairs completed regarding Wells Gym, Tate Gym, Bicentennial park, park lighting, and Barracuda Bay Aquatic Center. He stated his concerns regarding the structural integrity of the Bicentennial Park pavilion and his decision. to have the City Engineer inspect Mr. Wingate's work, as it did not appear that an engineer had been previously used by the contractor or required by Mr. Little:, He indicated that he never received information he requested from Mn Li tiles regarding, quotes and specifications fcr the repair work done to the pavilion_ He also stated his frustration with Mr, Littles' failure to communicate with him regarding an outstanding invoice to West Construction, Inc,, that hinged on an issue that Mr. Williams felt he could have answered immediately. He also mentioned repairs to fencing at the Dan Calloway Complex and his concerns regarding how the repairs were paid for. He indicated that the previous Risk Manager always communicated with him regarding work to be done to his facilities.

INTERVIEW WITH BENJAMIN GUY

Benjamin Guy is he Director of the Purchasing Department and has been for four years. He has been an employee of the city for over 17 years. I met with Mr. Guy on March 21., 2Q07 at 1 l 15 at the City Attorney's Office. When asked to explain the procurement process in times of emergency, Mr. Guy stated that the City Manager determines whether or not there exists an emergency that affects the public health, safety and welfare. This decision can be communicated either orally or in writing. If an emergency exists, the Purchasing Department secures a minimum of three quotes. He indicated that after the hurricanes, sometimes only two quotes were possible to secure under the conditions: Prom the quotes, the Purchasing Department chooses the lowest, most competent contractor to do the work. The department contacts the Better Business Bureau and contacts the contractor's references. After a contractor is selected, a standard contract is then drafted and reviewed by the City Attorney's office.. Contracts are later ratified by

the City Council. Mr. Guy stated that, as the Director of Purchasing, he should receive
information regarding any and all work and services being secured on behalf of the city.

Mr. Guy went on to discuss what process takes place after a hurricane. He stated that the building official inspects city property and facilities and generates a list of damages. This information is passed on to the department heads, who prepare a list of repairs needed and their plans to repair. Mr. Guy explained that if the repairs are major, a civil engineer and/or architect is secured through a service contract. If the repairs needed are an emergency, a detailed scope of work is drafted. Mr. Guy indicated that when services are secured through the Purchasing Department, specifications for the work are always required by the city.

Ms. Pamala Ryan, City Aivirwy July 24, 2007

Page 4

Mr. Guy stated that when it comes to hurricane damages, there is not a process in place regarding how projects are split between the Purchasing Department and Risk Management. After the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, Mr. Guy would "hear about repairs being authorized by Robbie Littles", yet Mr. Littles had not included the Purchasing Department in the procurement of the services or the selection of the contractor. He acknowledged that the hurricanes during 2004 and 2005 did present extraordinary circumstances and that his department was "swamped" during this time.

After the 2004 hurricane season, in regards to the Wells Gym, Mr, Guy suggested that Mr. Littles had selected Mr. Wingate to perform repair work due to the contractor's previous work it had done for the city. He indicated that the Purchasing Department was not involved with the procurement of services and he did not know whether Mr. Littles had seemed three quotes. After the 2005 hurricane season, in regards to the Wells Gym, Mr. Guy stated that Mr. Littles did not initially work with the Purchasing Department to procure a rooting contractor. He stated that he heard about the anticipated repair work and contacted Mr. Littles and required him to secure three quotes from contractors. In regards to the Tate Gym, Mr. Littles did not initially work with the Purchasing Department to procure a contractor. Mr. Guy heard about the upcoming repair work and required Mr. Littles to secure three quotes from contractors. Mr. Guy was not aware of written contracts for the work done to the Tate Gym or to the Wells Gym. He indicated that the Purchasing Department was riot contacted or involved in the repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion. He stated that Mr. Littles did not communicate with him or the Purchasing Department in the procurement of services for the city.

I spoke with Mr. Guy a second time by telephone on May 9, 2007. When asked if the Purchasing Department assisted in the procurement of services related to repairs to the upstairs office at the Wells Gym, Mr. Guy replied "no". When asked if the Purchasing Department paid Mr. Wingate directly for the repairs it completed to the upstairs office at the Wells Gym; Mr. Guy replied "no". I asked Mr. Guy if-the Risk Manager is required to coordinate with the Purchasing Department and/or the Finance Department to arrange for and pay for repairs to hurricane damages. Mr. Guy explained that the City's Code of Ordinances authorizes the City Manager to work outside the procurement code requirements in times of emergency when there is a threat to the public's health, safety or welfare. This authority, in practice, is delegated to department heads, Mr. Guy provided the following example: If a pipe bursts, the Utilities Director will seek to repair the pipe immediately and will contact the Purchasing Department to make it aware of the repairs. If it cons more than S10,000 to repair, this purchase will be presented to the City Council for ratification at the next available meeting. Mr. Guy explained that although there is nothing in the code that specifically requires the Risk Manager to work through the Purchasing Department, generally, all procurements on behalf of the city should be coordinated with his department. He also stated that in an emergency, procurement of services should be obtained through a competitive process, the reasonableness of such competitive process is determined by the conditions existing at the time of the emergency

Ms. Pamala Ryan, City Attorney  Jul), 24, 2007

Page 5

and the availability of qualified contractors, Therefore, he indicated that securing three quotes prior to selecting a contractor is not always reasonable under the circumstances.

INTERVIEW OF JEFF WILLIAMS

Jeff Williams is the Director of Finance and has been with an employee of the city for 16 years. I spoke with Mr. Williams on March 21, 2007, at 12:00 p.m. at the City Attorney's Office. Mr. Williams said that the city's insurance company, Gallagher Bassett Services, Enc., either pays for repairs directly to the vendor or to the city and the city pays the vendor. He said the insurance company is not "big on documentation" and that it is difficult to know what exact repairs are being paid for He said that sometimes you can look at the purchase order to find out more detailed information regarding what work has been done. He indicated that after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane. season, the insurance company made checks out to the contractors and sent the checks to Robbie Littles for disbursement to the contractors. In regards to the Finance Department's payments to contractors, it does not require a written contract to issue a payment. He suggested that the purchase order becomes the contract in some cases. To issue a payment, though, the department does require an invoice that supports the payment requested.

TELEPHONE INTERVIEW OF FRED HILL

Fred Hill works for the city's insurance company, Gallagher Bassett Services, ("Gallagher Bassett"), and he handled the processing of the city's insurance claims after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. I spoke with Mr. Hill on the telephone on May 9, 2007. When asked what the general process is for the assessment of damages and coordination of repairs aver a hurricane, Mr. Hill responded as follows: Photographs are taken to document all damages. The city secures a contractor through the_ bidding process: When a bid is accepted, Robbie Littles forwards the selected contractor's _ proposal to Mr. Hill. He indicated that Robbie Littles is the individual who is authorized to select a contractor on behalf of the city. When a deposit must be paid to the contractor, Mr. Littles requests the deposit from Mr. Hill and Mr. Hill issues a check made out to the contractor and sends it to Mr. Littles to disburse, Mr. Hill indicated that he does not get involved with the selection of contractors at all_ He only receives the proposal from the contractor selected by Mr. Littles, Mr. Hill does not check to see if the contractor selected by Mr. Littles has the proper licenses or insurance. He relies on .the city to secure a qualified contractor. He stated that for every check that he has issued Mr. Littles for hurricane repair work, he has a corresponding invoice on file, He indicated that the excess carrier had just reviewed his files regarding the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, and everything was found to be in order.

Pamala Ryan, City Attorney July 24, 2007

Page 6

TELEPHONE INTERVIEW OF FETE TOOMBS

Mr. Toombs is the Superintendent of Parks for the city. When asked what his official responsibilities are in regards to the coordination of repairs at parks and recreation facilities, he stated that he is to make sure that the facilities are being properly maintained and repaired. He indicated that, generally, his involvement with contactors is limited to providing access to facilities and securing tools, such as ladders, for the repair work. He said that Robbie Littles does not contact him in the coordination of repair work at parks and recreational facilities. He said that Mr. Littles will call "30 to 45 minutes" prior to a contractor needing access to a facility, but that he has no previous knowledge that they are scheduled to do repairs on a particular date or time. He stated that he was not aware of contractors making repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion or to the awnings at the Barracuda Bay Aquatic. Park. In regards to the repairs done to the upstairs office at the Wells Gym, Mr. Toombs stated that Mr. Littles contacted him about 30 minutes prior to Mr. Wingate's arrival at the gym and asked him to provide Mr. Wingate access to the office.

TELEPHONE INTERVIEW OF TIMOTHY WINGATE

I spoke with Timothy L. Wingate by telephone on May 10, 2007. Mr. Wingate is the owner of Wingate Construction and has provided construction services to the city, including hurricane repairs after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. When asked how contact is initiated when the city needs construction work, Mr. Wingate said that he is contacted by the Purchasing Department, department heads, and/or the City Manager. He stated that the insurance company drafts up a scope of work for the repairs needed and he bids on the scope, He said that if he is chosen to do the work, he submits a contract to the city for signature. He indicated that he always pulled the necessary permits for the hurricane repairs he undertook for the city. Regarding the repair work to the upstairs office at the Wells Om., Mr. Wingate indicated that after he and the city entered into a contract, he secured a key to the facility from John Williams.

When asked whether Mr. Wingate rents property to Robbie Littles, he stated that Mr. Littles was his tenant, He indicated that he was uncomfortable with the question and did not understand why he was being asked about Mr. Littles. He indicated that he was upset because I had questioned his integrity and that he doesn't "do anything illegal". He stated that he was going to end the conversation.

INTERVIEW OF ROBBIE LITTLES

I met with Robbie Littles on May 1, 2007, along with his attorney, Mikel Jones, at the City Attorney's Office. Mr. Littles stated that his general responsibilities as Risk Manager include managing the city's entire insurance portfolio including property, health, EAP, etc. He indicated that he is also responsible for the Jazz Festival, the city's, 4th of July event, and the Caribbean Carnival.

M. Pamala Ryan, City Attorney July 24, 2007

Page 7

Mr. Littles explained his role in the assessment of damages and the coordination of repairs after a hurricane. He stated that after a hurricane, he takes a quick tour of the

city's facilities and takes photos of any heavy damage, He then contacts a Gallagher-

Bassett agent to come and tour city properties to assess damages- The agent tours the city with Mr. tittles; takes photos of the damages; makes notes; and opens a "soft file" on the damages.

Mr. Littles stated that a mandate from either him or the City Manager is issued todepartment heads to assess each department's damages and to photograph the damages. He indicated that these damage assessments and. photos are forwarded to him to compareto his and Gallagher Bassett's assessments. This is to ensure that no damages areoverlooked.

Regarding the selection of a contractor, Mr. Littles said that if the Gallagher Bassett agent is familiar with the type of repairs needed, he or she will call and solicit quotes from contractors, Mr. Littles calls on contractors who have worked for the city before; seeks quotes from them; and forwards the quotes to Gallagher Bassett for the agent's review. The lowest, most responsible hid is selected.

When asked how he coordinates repairs with each department, Mr. Littles provided the following example. If the Wells Gym lost some light poles, be contacts the Parks Superintendent, Pete 'Toombs, by phone or by memo and directs .Mr. Toombs to "take the field out of play for safety reasons." He said that a contractor, once selected, will "come in and work with. Pete Toombs." The contractor will "coordinate with Pete." After the repairs are complete, Mr. Littles will release the area to allow the use of the field again.

When asked about when a contract is used, Mr, Littles indicated that the proposal submitted by the selected contractor usually becomes the contract between the city and the contractor. He stated that the contractor will submit its proposal which includes an itemization of the materials and labor needed and a scope of the work to be completed. He stated that the proposal is forwarded to Gallagher Bassett for approval. If Gallagher Bassett approves the proposal, Mr. Littles signs off on the proposal and it becomes the contract between the city and. the contractor. When asked if there is a limit on his authority to sign off or. contracts regarding hurricane repairs, Mr, Littles said that there was no limit on his authority and that he only had -to work within the parameters that Gallagher Bassett set

When asked if he coordinated repairs to Parks and Recreation Department facilities with the Parks and Recreation Director, John Williams, Mr. Littles stated the following: We "don't see eye to eye". He is "arrogant, brash, and incompetent." He stated that in regards to repairs, Mr. Williams told him, "Just make sure Mr. Pete (Toombs) knows." Mr. Littles stated that in regards to the Parks and Recreation Department, Mr. Toombs is his contact and not Mr, Williams,

Ms, Painala Ryan, City Ahcriwy

July 24, 2007 Page 8

In regards to the repairs done to the upstairs office at the Wells Gym, Mr. Little: indicated that Warren DeLoach from the Building Division secured a quote from a contractor to replace/repair a window that blew out of the upstairs office. Mr. Littles said that he secured another quote for window installation, replacing ceiling tiles, metal grid work and painting. He stated that Mr. Wingate's quote was S70 cheaper than Mr. DeLoach's contractor's quote. Mr. Wingate was hired to do the work. Mr. Littles indicated that the Purchasing Department paid Mr, Wingate directly because these repairs were not insurance related. Regarding Mr. Williarns' complaint that he, was not aware that Mr. Wingate was doing repairs to the upstairs office, Mr. Littles indicated that he did not know that Mr. Wingate was beginning work to the upstairs office because he had not yet paid a deposit to Mr. Wingate on the contract.

When asked who is responsible for checking on a contractor's licensing and insurance, Mr. Littles stated that Gallagher Bassett normally does this type of "due diligence". said that Gallagher Bassett has to set these contractors up in their system and therefore. they must have this type of information- regarding licensing and insurance.

When asked how a contractor is paid foe hurricane repair work, Mr. Littles stated that if the draw requires an inspection, he will have the Building Department inspect the work. If the Building Department finds that the work was done properly, Mr. Littles will request a check from Gallagher Bassett. Gallagher Bassett makes the check out to the contractor and sends the check to Mr. Littles for disbursement to the contractor. If it is a final payment. Mr. Littles indicated that he and the Building Department will inspect the repairs. He also asks the department head if he or she is satisfied with the repairs_ If the repairs pass inspection, Mr. Littles requests a final payment from Gallagher Bassett. The check is made out to the contractor and it is sent to Mr. Littles for disbursement

When asked when he might use the Purchasing Department, Mr. Littles stated that, for example, if there was a lot of fence damage, he might ask the Purchasing Department to solicit quotes or submit an RFP to secure a contractor to complete all fencing repairs.

Mr. Littles stated that during emergencies, there is no requirement to secure quotes from three contractors, and that two quotes are adequate. He stated that a contract is required, but that the City Attorney's Office rarely reviews these contracts.

When asked about his personal relationship with Mr. Wingate, Mr. Littles stated that Mr. Wingate is his landlord. I asked Mr. Littles if he receives any personal benefits from Mr. Wingate when Wingate Construction secures work with the city through his office.. Mr. Littles stated that he did not receive any such benefits. He said that the owner of his previous apartment wanted to move back in and he was forced to find other living accommodations. He said that he pays $1,200 a month to rent the property from Mr. Wingate. He was upset that his 'Integrity- was being questioned.

Pamala Ryan, City Attorney July 24, 2007

Page 9

TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH WARREN DELOACH, BUILDING
INSPECTOR

Warren DeLoach is a Building inspector for the city. I interviewed Mr. DeLoach by telephone on May 30, 2007. I asked Mr. DeLoach if he secured a quote for the repairs needed to the upstairs office at the Wells Gym. He stated that he did not secure any quotes for those repairs and the securing of quotes is not part of his job.

He stated that at times he will inspect damages and repairs. He said that after the most recent hurricanes, he inspected the Wells Gym floor, part of the roof, and the air conditioning equipment. He indicated that the normal. process is for a contractor to contact the Building Division for an inspection. He said that sometimes the Purchasing Department may request an inspection or Mr. Littles might ask him to inspect damages/repairs and request Mr. DeLoach's advice based on his knowledge of construction.

INTERVIEW WITH LAI. SAMADI, CITY ENGINEER

Mr. Samadi is the City Engineer. l interviewed him on May 31, 2007. Mr. Samadi stated that after a hurricane, Damage Assessment Teams are dispatched. These teams are supposed to be technical inspectors, but sometimes they include anybody with construction experience. They are dispatched and they inspect hurricane damages.

When asked about hurricane damages to the Bicentennial Park pavilion, Mr. Samadi stated that it collapsed in 2004 due to a bad design. Mr. Samadi said that there were no engineering plans prepared for the pavilion. He also stated that the contractor, Wingate Construction, Inc., applied for a permit and received it in the same day which is "almost unheard of". Re was told by an unidentified employee that "Robbie Littles brought the contractor out to the pavilion and told the contractor that this was a city project and that a permit was no: needed.!' Mr. Samadi indicated that the pavilion was damaged again in Hurricane Wilma and that, again, no engineering plans were submitted, for the repairs. Ho indicated that Robbie Littles "plays engineer, inspector, building official" and "goes way beyond his responsibilities" as a Risk Manager.

In regards to city light poles damaged by hurricanes, Mr. Samadi expressed concerns that after the most recent hurricanes, downed light poles were uplifted and/or replaced without inspections, without engineering plans and without permits. He indicated that engineering plans are necessary to ensure that the light poles are up to the most current safety standards, and that they must be inspected to determine what the structural weakness is. Mr. Samadi also expressed his concerns over the broad use of the term "emergency." He stated that when the pavilion collapsed, for example, it was secured for safety reasons "After it's secured, it is no longer an emergency"; there is no impending danger to the public.

Ms, Pamela Ryan, City Ailcgrey

July 24, 2007

page 10

TELEPHONE CONVERSATION with Gil VETTER FROM COMMUNITY
DEVELOPMENT

On or around May 23, 2007, I spoke briefly with Gil Vetter from the Community Development Department regarding my email request to that department For permit and inspection records regarding hurricane repairs during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. He indicated that he found permits for the repairs to the Wells Gym upstairs northwest office (2006); Wells Gym roof (2006), and the Bicentennial Park pavilion (2006 only). He indicated that he found no permits pulled or inspections requested regarding the repair and replacement of light poles by contractor, C.R. Dunn.

SECOND INTERVIEW WITH ROBBIE LITTLES

In order to ask Mr. Littles questions regarding the other hurricane repairs in question, I scheduled a follow up interview with him for June 27, 2007. Mr. Littles attended the interview with his attorney, Mikel Jones. Regarding the damages to the Bicentennial Park pavilion during 2004 hurricane season, Mr- Littles indicated that pine trees fell or: the pavilion during a tornado not a hurricane, as he recalled. He stated that he secured 2 or 3 quotes for the repairs and that Timothy Wingate had the "best price and quickest tun-. around time." He said that due to an upcoming July 4th function, the pavilion needed to be repaired immediately. He said that the quotes for these repairs were not included

the copies of the Risk Management hurricane files he sent to me because the damages were not caused by a hurricane, but by a tornado.

in regards to hurricane damage to the pavilion in 2005, Mr. Littles stated that the pavilion collapsed during Hurricane Wilma. Mr. Littles indicated that he did not solicit quotes from other contractors for the repairs to the pavilion. He stated that Mr. Wingate had constructed the pavilion and "everyone was pleased with the structural integrity", For this reason and because Mr. Wingate "could repair it quicker", Mr, Littles asked Mr. Wingate to repair the pavilion. When asked whether Mr. Wingate provided the city with plans and technical specifications for the repairs to the pavilion, Mr. Littles stated that be did not see them, but that was a building division function. He also indicated that plans are not always required for repairs. When asked if permits were pulled, Mr. Littles indicated, "yes."

I asked Mr. Littles whether he coordinated these repairs at the pavilion with John Williams Mr. Littles recalled that a meeting took place involving him, Paul White, and Mr. Guy, and he was "guessing" that John Williams was at that meeting also wherein they discussed the hiring of a crane to come in and lift the pavilion. He stated that a fishing tournament was approaching and the pavilion roof needed to be removed. Ile stated that Benjamin Guy arranged for the crane to come on a particular day, but it arrived a day early, unbeknownst to Mr. Littles. According to Mr. Littles, due to bad weather, the crane could not move the pavilion roof and, instead, a temporary fence was

M. Pamala. Ryan, City Attorney

Silly 24, 2007

Page 11

put up to fence off the pavilion. Mr. Littles recalled that after the fishing tournament, Mr. Wingate came in and the crane returned to move the pavilion roof. He stated that "Purchasing handled it. John Williams must have known about it."

In regards to repairs to city light poles, Mr. Littles indicated that he tried to get "four or five entities" to submit quotes, but that he received "no response" From them. He stated that C.R. Dunn had previously replaced 2-3 light poles for the city after a previous tornado. and that C.R Dunn had been "doing a lot of work for the County." He said that C.R Dunn was able to do the work and that FEMA was familiar with the company. He also stated that FEMA wanted what was called a "greenTm system" of Musco poles fixtures and concrete bases. These types of poles withstood the hurricanes that had recently hit the west coast of Florida, Mr. Littles stated that representatives from Musco met with "Parks and Rec, C.R. Dunn and FEMA." C.R. Dunn was hired to complete the repairs. When asked whether C.R. Dunn pulled permits for the repairs, he stated, "Ya. C.R. Dunn makes application to the City and we waive the fee."

After inquiring what constitutes an emergency, Mr. Littles stated that after the hurricane, the department heads and the "task force" inspect the city for damages. In regards to damages to city facilities, he stated that the department will request an inspection, the building department will inspect the damages to determine whether it is safe, and then a recommendation is made to the city manager of the condition of the facility and whether it should be taken out of service. He indicated that sometimes "upcoming events need. quick action."

Mr. Littles reiterated that when dealing with the Parks and Recreation Department, he communicates with Pete Toombs, and that John Williams stated, "Just make sure Mr. Toombs knows."

Finally, when asked when he began renting from Mr. Wirtgate, Mr. Littles indicated that he signed an annual lease with Mr. Wingate sometime in August or September, 2005. He indicated that he was renting from Mr. Wingate when Hurricane Wilma passed through the area.

FACTS

Mr. Littles and Mr. Williams do not get along. Due to this personality conflict, Mr. Littles did not communicate with Mr. Williams regarding the coordination of relevant hurricane repairs to Parks and Recreation Department facilities after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.

Mr. Littles failed to communicate and coordinate with Mr. Williams regarding the repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion (2006) and the repair of awnings at Barracuda Bay Aquatic Center (2006).

Ms. Pmala Ryan, City Attorney), Silly 24,2007

page 12

Mr. Littles did not coordinate the relevant Parks and Recreation Department hurricane repairs with Parks Superintendent, Pete Toombs. Mr, Toombs was not contacted regarding repairs done to the Bicentennial Park pavilion or repairs done at the Barracuda Bay Aquatic Center.

Mr. Littles was issued a written reprimand by Paul White on June 15, 2006, for his failure to communicate and coordinate the repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion. In that memo, it was indicated that the first occasion that Mr. Littles :ailed to communicate and coordinate with John Williams was when a crane arrived at Barracuda Bay without notice to Mr. Williams. In the memo, Mr. White made it clear that Mr. Littles is required to "notify each and every department head when work or visits are scheduled at their

Mr. Littles did not notify Mr, Williams, the department head, that work was scheduled at the upstairs northwest office of the Wells Gym. Mr. Littles contacted Mr. Toombs 30-45 minutes prior to Mr. Wingate's arrival at the Wells Gym, and Mr. Littles then asked Mr. Toombs to provide Mr. Wingate access to the upstairs office. Mr. Toombs had no prior knowledge that Mr, Wingate was scheduled to make repairs to the upstairs office prior to Mr. Littles' phone call.

Ordinance No 2412 spells out the provisions of the City's Procurement Code. The following sections are applicable to the procurement of emergency goods and services:

Sec.). - )02 provides that the Procurement Code "shall apply to every expenditure of public funds by the City for public purchasing irrespective of the source of the funds."

Sec, 2-102(2)(a) provides that the Director of Purchasing "shall procure or supervise the procurement of all supplies, services, and construction needed by the City."

Sec. 3-106 governs "Emergency Procurements " It provides that "notwithstanding any other provisions of this Ordinance, the City Manager or designee may make or authorize others to make emergency procurements of supplies, services, or contraction items when there exists a threat to public health, welfare, or safety; provided that such emergency procurements shall be made with such competition as is practicable under the circumstances. A written determination of the basis for the emergency and for the selection of the particular contractor shall be included in the contract file."

Sec. 3-302(1) requires that "Ail City contracts for supplies, services, and construction shall include provisions necessary to define the responsibilities and rights of the parties to the contract. The City Manager or designee, after consultation with the City Attorney, may include clauses appropriate for supply, service, or construction contracts..."

 

Ms. Pamala Ryan, City Atorney July 24, 2007

Page 13

Sec. 3-309 provides that "All determinations and other written records pertaining to the solicitation, award, or performance of a contract shall be maintained for the City in a contract file by the Director of Purchasing..."

Sec. 2-103 provides that ''The Director of Purchasing may not delegate authority to purchase certain supplies, services, or construction items to other City officials, unless specifically authorized by the City Manager.''

Sec. 2-104 provides that "...it shall he a violation of this ordinance for any city officer, employee, or other person, to order the purchase of, or make any contract for, materials, supplies or services within the purview of this Ordinance, in the' name of or on behalf of the City other than through the Director of Purchasing or a designee of the Director of Purchasing..."

Mr. Littles did not work with or through the Purchasing Department in the procurement of services relating to hurricane repairs after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.

Mr. Littles does not believe he is required to work with or through the Purchasing Department regarding the procurement of any services or materials that are related to insurance matters.

Gallagher Bassett's Fred Hill, the city's insurance agent after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, did not secure quotes from any contractors for work relating to hurricane repairs for the City. Mr. Hill relied solely on Mr. Littles to provide him the proposal of the contractor selected by the city to do the specified repairs Mr. Hill relied on city staff to ensure that the contractor the city selected had proper licensing and insurance. When Mr. Littles requested a deposit or payment or final payment for repair work, Mr. Hill issued a check made out to the contractor and forwarded it to Mr. Littles for disbursement. Mr. Hill relied on Mr. Littles to secure a determination of whether the repairs were properly completed.

In regards to the repairs done to the upstairs northwest office at Wells Gym, Mr. Littles secured. two quotes. Mr. Wingate provided the less expensiVe quote for the work and Mr. Littles entered into a contract with Mr, Wingate on September 12, 2006_ Mr. Wingate was paid for this work by checks issued by Gallagher Bassett to Mt Wingate, Mr. Wingate is an individual and not a corporation. According to the Department of State Division of Corporations, T.L. Wingate, Inc. has been an inactive Florida corporation since 2001, Wingate Corporation is an active Florida corporation.

In regards to the repairs done to the Bicentennial Park pavilion, Mr. Littles determined that because Mr. Wingate rebuilt the pavilion and could make the repairs quickly, Mr. Wingate should be hired to do the repairs to the pavilion.

 

Ms. Pamala Ryan, City Attar-nu July 24, 2.007

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Mr. Littles did not attempt to secure any other quotes for the repairs. Mr. Littles entered into a contract with "T.L. Wingate" for these repairs on May 26, 2006. Checks were issued by Gallagher Basset; "T.L. Wingate" to pay for theses repairs to the pavilion.

There were no specifications or plans submitted to the Building Division for the repairs to the pavilion.

According to a memo titled "Insurance Concerns Regarding Parks and Recreation -- Memo" from John Williams to the City Manager, dated June 29, 2006, Mr. Williams indicated that he asked the City's Engineer, Lal Samadi, to observe Mr. Wingate's in-progress preparatory work at the pavilion. According to that memo, on June 21, 2006, Mr. Samadi informed Mi. Williams. that there Was no permit pulled for the repairs nor were plans submitted to the building department.

A permit for the work was applied for on June 22, 2006, and received within the same day, which is rare. The permit was issued to Wingate Corp., a Florida corporation, whose president is Timothy L. Wingate.

The Building Division inspected and passed the 2006 pavilion repairs.

In regards to park lighting, Mr. Littles attempted to secure 3 or 4 quotes, but he received no responses. There is no documentation in the relevant Risk Management file of these attempts to secure quotes.

Mr. Littles knew that C.R. Dunn had done work for the City before and was, at that time, doing work for the County. He knew that FEMA was also familiar with C.R. Dunn. Mr. Littles selected C.R. Dunn to do the repair work, and entered into a contract with it for said repairs on February 13, 2006.

A memo from Assistant City Manager, Paul White to the City Manager, dated March 3,: 2005, indicates that "Purchasing has given a notice to proceed on this work". This statement was below the heading "Field Lighting and Lighting."

There are no permits or inspection requests on record with the City's Building Division for C R. Dunn’s repairs to the light poles.

Regarding Risk Management files covering the hurricane repairs after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, no documentation of the basis for the emergency procurements or of the basis for the selection of the particular contractor exists as required by Sec. 3-106 of the Procurement Code.

Mr. Littles entered into contracts (relevant to this investigation) regarding 2006 repairs to the Bicentennial Park Pavilion, totaling $21,500; to the upstairs northwest office of the

Was Gym, totaling $12,975; and to light poles at the Wells ball fields, totaling $311,632.

These contracts were not reviewed by the City Attorney's Office,

The Director of Purchasing was not contacted or involved in the repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion nor was he contacted regarding repairs to the upstairs northwest office of the Wells Gym.

Mr. Littles rents a borne from Mr. Wingate. He entered into a lease agreement to rent the home from Mr. Wingate some time in August or September, 2005. Mr. Littler was in a personal contractual relationship with Mr. Wingate at the time he selected Mr. Wingate to do construction work for the city.

FINDINGS

Based on the foregoing interviews, the documents reviewed, and taking into account the credibility and mannerism of the witnesses among other factors, I find the following:

Mr Littles' failure to notify John Williams of the work that was scheduled to begin at the upstairs northwest office of the Well's Gym is the third offense of this type by Mr. Littles_

In regards to "emergency" hurricane repairs and the procurement of construction services, there exists a breakdown in information sharing between Risk Management, the Purchasing Department, and the Building Division which appears to result in repairs being done without proper plans, permits, and inspections.

The City's Procurement Code, See. 3-106, allows the City Manager to authori2e Mr. Littles, as the Risk Manager, to make emergency procurements of construction services only when a threat to public health, welfare, or safety exists.

Mr. Littles' Risk Management files do not include "written determinations of the baths for the emergency" or the basis for the selection of the particular contractor," as required by Sec. 3-106.

Sec. 2-102 of the Procurement Code requires the Director of Purchasing to "supervise the procurement of all supplies, services, and construction needed by the City." Mr. Littles failed to communicate and coordinate the procurement of emergency construction services, at a minimum, related to the 2006 Bicentennial Park pavilion repairs and the 2006 repairs to the upstairs northwest office of the Wells Gym with the Director of Purchasing.

By soliciting two quotes, Mr. Littles procured construction services for the northwest upstairs office of the Wells Gym with such competition as was practicable under the circumstances, in accordance with Sec. 3-106 of the Procurement Code. Mr. Littles failed to document why these damages were a "threat to public health, safety, or welfare."

Mr. Littles did not procure construction services for the 2006 repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion in accordance with Sec 3-106 of the Procurement Code. He unilaterally decided not to seek any competitive quotes from other contractors, as required by the Procurement Code and, instead, selected Mr. Wingate to perform the repairs. Again, Mr. Littles has failed to document why the damages to the pavilion were a "threat to public health, welfare, or safety."

It appears that C.R.. Dunn failed to secure a permit to repair/replace light poles at the Wells ball fields and that it failed to secure any inspections for the repair/replacement of light poles at the Wells ball fields.

Mr. Littles' contractual relationship with Mr. Wingate at the same time he hired Mr. Wingate to perform construction services en behalf of the City presents the appearance of impropriety and indicates a lack of sound judgment.

There were no facts presented during my interviews that clearly established that the repairs done to the pavilion, upstairs northwest office of the Wells Gym and the Well’s ball field light poles were a threat to the public welfare, health or safety, as "emergency" is currently defined in Sec. 3-106,

Offenses:

Based on the foregoing facts and findings, I do find that there is probable cause to believe that Mr. Littles failed, for the third time, to communicate with John Williams regarding repair work to be done at the upstairs northwest office of the Wells Gym after being directed to by a supervisor. This failure to communicate is an act of insubordination.

Based on the foregoing facts and findings, I do find that there is probable cause to believe that Mr. Littles failed to coordinate and communicate his emergency procurements with the Director of Purchasing, who is required by Sec. 2-102 of the Code to supervise all procurements on behalf of the city.

Based on the foregoing facts and findings, I do find that there is probable cause to believe that Mr, Littles violated Sec. 3-106 of the Procurement Code when he procured construction services for repairs to the Bicentennial Park pavilion in 2006 without attempting to secure any additional. quotes from entities other than Mr. Wingate and therefore, without any competition as was "practicable under the circumstances".

Based on the foregoing, I do find that there is probable cause to believe that Mr, Littles violated Sec. 3-106 of the Procurement Code when he failed to include in his Risk Management files a "written determination of :he basis for the emergency and for the selection of the particular contractor."

Based on the foregoing, I do find that there is probable cause to believe that Mr. Littler used poor judgment and brought discredit to himself, his position as Risk Manager and the City when he procured construction services from Mr. Wingate while in a personal contractual relationship with Mr. Wingate, regardless of whether or not he derived a personal benefit from this relationship.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Although Policy 95-02 governs the City's disciplinary policy for general., pan-time and temporary employees and not for administrative personnel, such as Mr. Littles, i have used the policy, in part, as a guideline for some of my recommendations. Based on the foregoing interviews and findings, I believe it is necessary to recommend the following disciplinary action:

The Risk Manager plays a critical role in the sound management of the city. The Risk Manager's responsibilities span organizational lines and communication among the different departments is essential. Based on this significant role, the Risk Manager is expected to carry out his responsibilities professionally which requires, at a minimum, the proper documentation of files and accurate record keeping and strict compliance with the City's Procurement Code procedures and requirements, because actions taken or not taken by him can leave the City exposed to potential financial losses.

As such and based on Mr. Littles' failure to follow the dictates of the Procurement Code and his failure to properly communicate with others, the City would be best served if Mr. Littles was, at a minimum, subject to the following disciplinary action:

I. Suspension without pay for four (4) work weeks;

2. Placement on a six (6) month performance improvement plan, upon his return from suspension, that sets forth benchmarks regarding proper communication with supervisors, department heads and others, proper file documentation and record keeping relative to risk management, and use of proper procurement procedures. This plat should involve a minimum of three evaluations at regular intervals during the 6 month period conducted by Mr. Littles' direct supervisor, the Human Resources Director, and the Assistant City Manager. If after this 6 month period a proper evaluation of the skill areas cannot be adequately assessed, the plan may be extended for up to an additional 3 months. If after the plan is properly completed and it is determined that Mr_ Littles has not shown a significant improvement in the three skill areas, Mr. Littles' employment with the city should be terminated, If after a proper evaluation it is determined that Mr, Littles' has

M5. Pamala Ryan, City Attorney .11.11!„ 24, 2007

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shown significant improvement in all three skill areas, then his plan shall be complete and his employment with the city may continue; and

Attendance at a training on how to communicate with others; and

Immediate turn over of any current or future procurements involving Mr. Wingate to the Purchasing Department for handling for as long as Mr. Littles continues to rent property from Mr Wingate.

Items I through 4 above are the minimum disciplinary recommendations I am making to the City Manager; however, due to the level of professionalism expected of a Risk Manager and the seriousness of Mr. Littles' offenses, the City Manager has the option to terminate Mr. Littles' employment with the City immediately.

Further recommendations regarding the Risk Manager's responsibilities follow:

Sec. 2-1.02(2)(a) requires the Director of Purchasing to supervise the procurement of all supplies, services, and construction needed by the City. This includes emergency procurements by the Risk Manager. Therefore, the Risk Manager should be required to forward all quotes for emergency procurements, including a written determination of the basis for the emergency and the basis for the Risk: Manager's preference of a particular contractor/vendor to the Director of Purchasing for further handling. The Director of Purchasing is required to supervise the Risk Manager's emergency procurements. I recommend that Mr. Littles sign a document acknowledging his awareness and understanding of this code requirement.

Sec 3-106 of the Procurement Code requires that emergency procurement files include a "written determination of the basis for the emergency and for the selection of the particular contractor." .1 recommend that Mr. Littles sign a document acknowledging his awareness and understanding of this code requirement.

The Risk Manager is required by Sec. 3-309 to forward "All determinations and other written records pertaining to the solicitation, award, or performance of a contract" to the Purchasing Director for him/her to maintain in a file in the Purchasing Department, recommend that Mr. Littles sign a document acknowledging his awareness and understanding of this code requirement.

Sec. 3-106 allows the "City Manager or designee " to make emergency procurements. I recommend that the City Manager make a written determination of who is or what positions are considered to be his "designee."

I recommend that Sec. 3-106, Emergency Procurements, not be interpreted so as to allow for the emergency procurement of all services, materials and construction needed for the repair of hurricane damages. Not all hurricane damages threaten the health, welfare, or safety of the public. An 'upcoming event" at a damaged facility does not create an emergency as it is currently defined in Sec. 3-106 of the Code. If the City Manager

wishes to expand the definition of an emergency, I recommend that he consider amending this section to include, perhaps, the immediate threat of the loss of public or private property, or the interruption in the delivery of an essential governmental service.

The City Manager should deter !nine whether the Purchasing Department or the Risk
Manager should be responsible for determining whether vendors/contractors selected under Sec. 3-106, Emergency Procurements, have the proper licensing, insurance and corporate status prior ,to entering into a contract with such vendor/contractor. Gallagher Bassett is not performing this function on behalf of the City.

The Risk Manager and any other individual who is authorized by the City Manager to make emergency procurements should be required to bring all emergency procurements over $10,000 before the City Council for approval if time permits. If time does not permit, than such procurements should be brought before Council as soon as practicable to keep the Council apprised of these procurements.

I recommend that in anticipation of possible future emergencies created by hurricanes, tornados, etc., the City should conduct a competitive bid process for materials, services and construction services for such things as roofing repairs, generators, lighting repairs, etc. That way, when emergencies arise, the City can contact those contractors it has already contracted with to supply these needed emergency repairs

Finally, according to the Risk Manager, he also handles the Jazz Festival, 4th of July event and Caribbean Carnival, Assuming that the City Manager has specifically authorized Mr. Littles to procure services and materials related to these activities, the Risk Manager should be required to adhere to the following requirements: 1) The Purchasing Director shall supervise these procurements (required by Code); 2) The proper procurement code procedures must be followed (required by Code); 3) contracts for such procurements must be reviewed and approved by the City Attorney's Office; and 4) All such procurement contracts should go to the City Council for approval

Should you have any questions or comments regarding the foregoing information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you, again, for giving our firm the opportunity to assist the City with this matter.

Sincerely,