• Letter to the Editor: Are we witnessing "Government Gone Wild" in Johns Creek?

    By Staff
    May 6, 2017
    1 Comment

    Now that we have entered 2017 and the City Council post that Bob Gray left has been confirmed by the election of Chris Coughlin. Did you find that the most recent campaign between John Flores and Chris Coughlin was a bit strange?  Why would one candidate raise over $16,000 dollars in campaign money with 94% of the money coming from outside Johns Creek?

    Did you also notice that name showed up again?  That's right Landmark Communications ran the campaign for Mr. Flores....why does that name sound so familiar?  Oh, I remember, they ran the campaigns for Jay Lin who spent $65,000 and Nazeera Dawood who spent $36,000. Both raised significant contributions from OUTSIDE Johns Creek.

    If I'm correct the city council post seat pays $15,000 annually?  The Mayor $25.000 annually, so why would you spend such amounts in an election?

    Ever notice this name as a sponsor for many of the activities and events held in Johns Creek by the city "CH2M Hill?"  This is a contractor that has been around since the city began over 10 years ago.  Sandy Springs, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills all used this private company to roll out a city government minus Fire Department and Police Department. Sandy Springs, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills made changes after 5 years by bringing many tasks in-house and the balance put out for a competitive bid.  All of these cities realized significant savings but also realized many tasks brought in-house aligned the city government with the wishes of the citizens.
    Sometimes based on the structure of the contract CH2M Hill makes more money by promoting more high-density building, expanding more roads, doing more projects (volume of projects) whether they are good for the benefit of the city and its citizens don't matter.  CH2M Hill is no longer working with Sandy Springs and Milton, what do they know that we don't know?
    Johns Creek did reduce the scope of the contract with CH2M Hill but never put the balance of the contract out for competitive bid?  Why not? So who is this CH2M Hill anyway?
    Read a few links here and here, to get a feel of who and what they are.
    Part of the story of this company that has worked all over the United States includes some taxpayers being overcharged for work never completed. A CH2M Hill consultant who was being paid over $10,000 per month who bribed the Mayor of East Cleveland, Ohio to help land the contract for the Water system "no bid" contract. 
    CH2M Hill contributes very sizable amounts of money to Federal Election campaigns and local election campaigns.  This includes ballot issues say "T-Splost" of Park Bond initiatives.  Ever notice how many mailers we all got in the mail on this specific issues?  The organizations hide under PAC (Political Action Committees) but consist of Road Construction companies that JC City uses and the attorneys who represent them.  Is this self-dealing, or just helping planning out future cash flow and work projects for themselves?
    Johns Creek did save $4.5 Million by bringing some things in-house for the City government but they still contract out Public Works and City Development.  The last item "City Development" explains why the (CLUP) Comprehensive Land Use Plan has been so blatantly biased, promoting the "re-birth" of a City Center, High-Density housing with a true Avalon envy for the GRAND PLAN. 
    The questions still arise if you brought over the prized free agent from Dunwoody as City Manager Warren Hutmacher, why not let him put the contracts out for bid?  Or better yet bring the departments in-house?  Eliminate the conflict of interest....no?  Have you read the background of the City Community Development Manager?  Does experience with Housing Projects in New York City, Yonkers, Philadelphia, PA and (bankrupt) Bridgeport, CT. fit with what you want and expect from Johns Creek going forward?  
    Have you ever heard about SafeBuilt?  This is another contractor who the city uses for enforcing permits for home improvements, etc, within the city.  If you are the contractor and you get paid more by creating more rules and regulations do you think this could get out of hand?  Do you know where a majority of the ideas of what to permit or regulate comes from?
    The Blog "NextDoor" which the City is a participant in, the majority of the requests.....looking for a plumber, landscaper, carpenter, tile man, concrete work.  If you were to just read the blog daily for say two weeks and you are SafeBuilt, you would then present a windfall of fee opportunity to the City of Johns Creek.  Does this sound way overboard and way too much regulation in your life?  The structure of the relationship causes such events.  Just a few things to think about.     




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    Thank you JCP for researching these issues and providing us with solid information. It appears the City might be able to find more cost savings that could be utilized in other areas if they take a closer look at some of these contracts by receiving other competitive proposals.

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