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Timeline matchup of City e-mails and report on Safe Routes to School project

1 year, 3 months ago by Bob Gough

E-mails show project concept was well underway when City officials changed course and decided to seek bids

Here’s a combination of the timeline from the e-mails provided by City Hall following a Freedom of Information Act request from Quincy Journal and WTAD News regarding the bid process for the Safe Routes to School program. It also includes dates from the report City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer gave to the City Council. Sources are cited in parentheses :

December 27:  Dean LaVelle of Rokusek Design e-mails that Rachel Henke of the City’s Planning and Development Department called him on December 27 to schedule a meeting and “work up ideas” on the Safe Routes to School promotion. (E-mail)

January 3: Bevelheimer says he considered retaining Rokusek Design under the professional services provision for Safe Routes to School. He said he was concerned that competitive bids might result in a low bid from an unqualified firm. He shared his concerns with Comptroller/Purchasing Director Ann Scott and Corporation Counsel Andrew Staff.

January 10: Date of the meeting between Henke and Rokusek Design representatives. (E-mail)

January 14: A revised proposal was sent from LaVelle to Henke, who had questions for LaVelle:

“Dean,

One quick question that I should have asked over the phone…on page two under “Commercial Placements” it has the $1,500 marketing via RDI (Rokusek) social media and other digital as well as the 15% of the ad buy for the local media. Because these are PSA’s, will there be 15% of ad buy? Also, we will need the $20,000 to include the $1,500 marketing via RDI. Could you remove the wording of “15% of ad buy” and “$1,500” and resend this to me? Or lower the amount to be spend (sic) on commercials to have the entire commercial section add up to $20,000? Sorry to be so picky; I am sending this for approval from our IDOT contact and need the funds to add up perfectly.

 “Regarding our phone conversation, please wait to invoice until further notice. Once I receive approval to go forward, I will let you know.”

January 15: Henke sends Lavelle an e-mail calling the proposal “Beautiful” (E-mail)

January 16: Henke contacts Ryan Stark of Stark Studios to ask for a bid in the $40,000 range. Stark then contacted Kevin Reed of Reed Promotional Media for some guidance on the project. (E-mail)

January 16: Beveleheimer, after reviewing the grant’s administration requirements and talking with IDOT, says he learned the city had to follow the State of Illinois’ Procurement Policy. He said he asked IDOT if the City could seek a waiver from RFP or bid process and was told to submit a request in writing.

January 18: Reed contacted the city’s Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks on January 18 and Sparks assured Reed that the project would be bid out. (E-mail)

January 18: Bevelheimer met with Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks on January 18 and Sparks told him to seek competitive bids. Beveheimer withdrew his waiver request. (Report)

January 18: Bevelheimer sent Henke an e-mail saying “See me ASAP about Grant and bidding.” (E-mail)

January 28: LaVelle asks Henke how the Safe Routes RFQ was moving along and if they needed to provide anything else. (E-mails)

February 3 and 6: City places advertisement for bids in the Quincy Herald-Whig for the Safe Routes to School Promotional campaign. (Report)

February 13: Bids were opened. Rokusek Design lowers its original bid from $35,500 to $30,000 as printing is separated. AdForce Advertising Agency has the low bid of $2,950. Reed Promotional Media’s bid is $14,300. Rethink Media Group’s bid is $6,200. (Report)

February 25: Bevelheimer meets with Finance Committee and asks for bids to be thrown out because of the range. (Report)

February 28: City Administration tells Bevelheimer to interview low bidder. (Report)

March 13: Bevelheimer, City Human Resources Director Doug Olson and Maggie Strong of the Great River Economic Development Foundation meet with representatives of AdForce. Bevelheimer also  contacts some of the company’s clients over the next two days. (Report)

March 18: Bevelheimer tells Finance Committee he now recommends accepting the low bid from AdForce. (Report)

March 22: Mayor John Spring appears on Mary Griffith Show and when asked about the bid process says “a mistake was made…the person who made the mistake no longer works for the city.” (WTAD)

March 25: City Council tables program until a report is filed on the bid process and questions are answered. (QuincyJournal)

April 1: Bevelheimer leaves paper copies of report on desks of aldermen before Council meeting. (QuincyJournal)

PREVIOUS STORY

In a surprise move, after asking for additional time to respond, the City of Quincy provided e-mails requested via the Freedom of Information Act by QuincyJournal.com and WTAD News.

The e-mails arrived at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon—shedding even more light on the ongoing investigation concerning the city’s bidding practices on the Safe Routes to School project.  

The e-mails show correspondence as early as mid-November with IDOT regarding quotes for Safe Routes to Schools procurements and mid-December between Rachel Henke of the City’s Planning and Development office and representatives of Rokusek Design.

According to an e-mail from Dean LaVelle of Rokusek Design, Henke called him on December 27 to schedule a meeting and “work up ideas” on the Safe Routes to School promotion. A meeting was scheduled for January 2 at 3 p.m. There were more follow-up e-mails that led to scheduling another meeting for January 10 at 3 p.m.

A revised proposal was sent from LaVelle to Henke on Monday, January 14. Henke then had questions for LaVelle.

“Dean,
One quick question that I should have asked over the phone…on page two under “Commercial Placements” it has the $1,500 marketing via RDI (Rokusek) social media and other digital as well as the 15% of the ad buy for the local media. Because these are PSA’s, will there be 15% of ad buy? Also, we will need the $20,000 to include the $1,500 marketing via RDI. Could you remove the wording of “15% of ad buy” and “$1,500” and resend this to me? Or lower the amount to be spend (sic) on commercials to have the entire commercial section add up to $20,000? Sorry to be so picky; I am sending this for approval from our IDOT contact and need the funds to add up perfectly.
“Regarding our phone conversation, please wait to invoice until further notice. Once I receive approval to go forward, I will let you know.”


LaVelle apparently satisfied Henke’s concerns as she sent him an e-mail on January 15, calling the proposal “Beautiful.”

January 16 was also the day Henke contacted Ryan Stark of Stark Studios to ask for a bid in the $40,000 range.

Stark then contacted Kevin Reed of Reed Promotional Media for some guidance on the project. Reed contacted the city’s Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks on January 18 and Sparks assured Reed that the project would be bid out.

Back to the report, according to Bevelheimer, he met with Sparks on January 18 and Sparks told him to seek competitive bids. Beveheimer withdrew his waiver request.

On January 18, Bevelheimer sent Henke an e-mail saying “See me ASAP about Grant and bidding.”

QuincyJournal.com received no further correspondence from the City from Henke to Bevelheimer or LaVelle after that.

On January 28, LaVelle sent Henke an e-mail on January 28 asking how the Safe Routes RFQ was moving along and if they needed to provide anything else.

None of this was mentioned in the report Bevelheimer provided to the City Council on Monday. In that report, Beveleheimer writes that on January 16, after reviewing the grant’s administration requirements and talking with IDOT, Bevelheimer said he learned the city had to follow the State of Illinois’ Procurement Policy. He said he asked IDOT if the City could seek a waiver from RFP or bid process and was told to submit a request in writing.

Click here to read the e-mails.


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