Sherman County Book Club Tea, Dessert & Discussion, May 18
Grass Valley Neighborhood Sales, May 26 & 27
City of Rufus Seeks Full-Time City Recorder
Editorial: Seriously, Frontier TeleNet
Frontier TeleNet 2016-2017 Budget, Summarized
Oregon Law: Sole-source Procurements
Management & Personnel… Let’s get this right. The management team hires / appoints per organizational policy, job descriptions, serious interviews, experience and qualifications, and provides the necessary orientation, training and equipment. Management has every reason to see their people succeed. They’re on the same team. ~ Q.E. McGillicuddy
1. Sherman County Book Club Tea, Dessert & Discussion, May 18
The next Sherman County Public/School Library Book Club meeting is on Thursday, May 18 at 6:00 p.m. Please join us for tea, dessert, and discussion of our May book, “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton. Call 541-565-3279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2. Grass Valley Neighborhood Sales, May 26 & 27
Grass Valley Neighborhood Sales
Friday & Saturday, May 26 & 27
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Follow maps, balloons & signs!
Estate Sale ~ Collectibles ~ Food ~ Everything
Come to Buy or Come to Sell! Join in the fun!
Questions? Contact Terri Bibby email@example.com
3. City of Rufus Seeks Full-Time City Recorder
The City of Rufus is seeking a full-time City Recorder to perform day-to-day city office operations including billing, receiving water /sewer payments, preparing for city council meetings including the recording of the meeting minutes, follow-up with special projects for city enhancements and improvements, and other job duties as assigned by the Mayor. Individuals interested in the job must be professional and have exquisite communication skills. Must possess a valid driver’s license, pass a criminal background check, and be reliable, trustworthy and honest. Hours are flexible. Must be efficient in Excel and knowledgeable with computer skills. Job consists of 30-40 hours per week. Pay based on experience and qualifications. Only qualified individuals please apply. Job opportunity open until filled.
Please send resumes to: City of Rufus, PO Box 27, Rufus, Oregon 97050
Pick up application at: City Hall, 304 W 2nd Street, Suite 100, Rufus, Oregon 97050
Or call: (541)739-2321.
4. EDITORIAL: Seriously, Frontier TeleNet
On May 5, 2017, the Frontier TeleNet (FT) board of directors met in public session for the second time this year. Agenda topics included public contracting and procurement rules, records request policy, records retention, a location for records storage, general manager Rob Myers’ retirement, a contract with Lightspeed Network, potential merger of Frontier TeleNet and Frontier Digital Network, and … our October 20, 2016, request for public records.
We applaud the press for working as it should. See The Times-Journal, May 11, 2017.
Oregon Revised Statute 192.440 gives clear direction for public record requests. Briefly, Frontier TeleNet should have acknowledged receipt of our October 20, 2016, request as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay. It should have indicated that they are the custodian of the records and the time and fees required, or stated that they do not possess these records or that state or federal law prohibited acknowledging whether the record exists with a citation to the relevant state or federal law. That did not happen.
Frontier TeleNet received monthly reminders in the form of the original request. “As soon as practicable” and “without unreasonable delay” is now roughly 130+ working days. To her credit, in September, 2016, Frontier TeleNet contractor Jeanne Burch, without delay, sent, and continues to send, the requested board meeting minutes.
Here we offer a simple review of the public records law and our experience with requesting public records.
According to the report of the May 5th Frontier TeleNet board meeting in the May 11th edition of The Times-Journal, a board member “questioned what specifically Kaseberg was asking for” and another indicated that “he wasn’t clear either.” And they are responsible for a $4.9 million budget (below), supervision of staff and management of Frontier TeleNet communications systems. Not once were we asked for clarification.
Most agencies routinely produce, scan, archive and share documents on computers and use the Internet. We conclude that the requested Frontier TeleNet records never existed, or are non-existent, missing, lost in the chaos or withheld, and that board members are stalling for reasons we can imagine while hoping we will give up the cause.
We specifically asked for:
—All Legal Notices, Requests for Qualifications/Proposals, Agreements and Contracts regarding and/or between Windwave Communications and/or Windwave Technologies, Inc., Inland Development Corporation, Management Resources and Sherman County or Frontier TeleNet.
—All Legal Notices, Requests for Qualifications/Proposals, Agreements and Contracts regarding and/or between Rural Technology Group and Frontier TeleNet, Sherman County, Windwave Technologies, Inc., and/or Inland Development Corporation.
Here’s how this public process is working for us:
Frontier TeleNet board members, contracted staff, legal counsel, and county commissioners representing the three counties who own Frontier TeleNet received our records request and monthly reminders beginning October 20, 2016.
In December, 2016, we asked that our October request be read into the minutes of their December meeting. It was not.
In response to a separate request in January, 2017, Sherman County provided several documents related to the original request, and these were not requested of Frontier TeleNet.
On January 21, 2017, 12 public officials and legal counsel received a letter in which we asked to have our letter of request read into the record of the January 25 board meeting. It was not. On January 26, Steve Shaffer, Chairman of Frontier Telenet and Frontier Digital, wrote, “We apologize for not reading into the record your request. Not a single person remembered to add it to the agenda. It wasn’t until after adjournment, brought to our attention by Les Ruark, that we realized we did not get this accomplished. We will be sure to have it on our next meeting agenda.”
The board did not meet again in public session until May.
On February, 9, 2017, Frontier TeleNet contractor Rob Myers apologized for the delay: “First, let me apologize for the protracted response to your requests for documentation. It’s entirely my responsibility and 100% my fault that we haven’t addressed your requests in a timely manner. I have a pretty full workload but make no excuses – I should have taken care of this sooner. I’ll immediately restart work to provide you with the information you’ve requested, though it might come to you incrementally rather than all at once. Thanks for your interest, I’ll keep you apprised of our progress.”
On February 22, we consulted an attorney and reviewed statute for possible appeal, given the stall tactics and delay.
On March 14, Myers sent one document. On March 21, we asked to have our request read into the record at the March meeting. On March 23, Frontier TeleNet chairman Shaffer stated that he would read my request into the record at the “next meeting.” That took place on May 5.
On April 7, taking the next step as described by law, we sent an appeal to the district attorneys in Wheeler, Gilliam and Sherman counties. Sherman County DA McLeod and Wheeler County DA Ladd acknowledged receipt on April 10. On April 17 and 21 Myers sent documents (2). Gilliam County DA Weatherford acknowledged receipt of our appeal on May 1.
Finally, our October 20, 2016, request was read into the FT record on May 5, 2017. Now legal counsel will draft policy for FT to use in response to public record requests as the proverbial can rolls down the road.
In June, general manager Rob Myers retires. The board did not meet in public session in February, March or April, so no evidence exists to explain what the board plans for the immediate future.
This is an important matter of principle and law. What started with our interest in FT board meeting minutes led to serious concerns about public process and transparency.
Board members and their contracted personnel have lost their way, forgetting that the people in our three counties own the infrastructure and money that they are responsible for managing and that we expect to receive the benefit of the fiber optic telecommunications systems. These are tax dollars, paid by others, if not by tri-county citizens.
Apparently no one is in charge at Frontier TeleNet. With its $4.9 million budget and responsibilities, it is astonishing that this entity has no office, no central records storage, no website, and three contractors who work from their homes under contracts (agreements) that give very little specific direction.
Notable and beyond disappointing is the lack of process, transparency and collaboration in the planning, development and implementation of the fiber optic telecommunications system and extremely limited public comment.
Their own records expose how little interest Frontier TeleNet has in working with other entities and the political and personal aspects of decision-making.
Frontier TeleNet records expose failure to supervise contracted personnel, inexperience, mismanagement, incompetence, deceit, lack of planning and chaos. Other sources expose attempted interference in the use of E-Rate funding, failure to properly advertise Requests for Proposals, and unethical reporting to the ethics commission. We found no public record that anyone was authorized to protest or appeal the work of a partner organization and surprisingly few references to Requests for Proposals, Requests for Qualifications or contracts.
So far we see no evidence in the record that the Frontier TeleNet governing board understands or has acknowledged the seriousness of their situation or planned for the retirement of their long-time general manager. From September until May Frontier TeleNet failed to accurately explain to their constituents their plans or actions. Since October it has failed to provide certain public records or explain why.
5. Frontier TeleNet 2016-2017 Budget, Summarized
Cash on hand $1,412,227
Bandwidth Income $400,000
User Fees $50,000
Cottonwood Proj. $375,000
Rental Income $50,000
Sherman Fiber Proj. $2,140,000
Total Resources $4,938,227
Bandwidth Transp. $10,000
Lease Expense $80,000
Personal Services $97,000
IT Service $50,000
Taxes, Licenses $4,000
Op.Loan to Digital Network $50,000
Loan Pay to NCESD $250,000
Roosevelt Tower $100,000
Total Materials & Services $1,143,000
Sherman County Fiber Project $2,140,000
Core Network Upgrade $600,000
Site Development, Cottonwood $375,000
Equipment Replacement $150,000
Total Capital Outlay $3,265,000
TOTAL REQUIREMENTS $4,938,227.
6. Oregon Law: Sole-source Procurements
(1) A contracting agency may award a contract for goods or services without competition if the Director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, a local contract review board, a state contracting agency, if the state contracting agency has procurement authority under ORS 279A.050 (Procurement authority), the State Chief Information Officer, with respect to goods or services described in subsection (2)(b) of this section and if the director has delegated the necessary authority to the State Chief Information Officer, or a person designated in writing by the director, board or state contracting agency with procurement authority under ORS 279A.050 (Procurement authority), determines in writing, in accordance with rules adopted under ORS 279A.065 (Model rules generally), that the goods or services, or class of goods or services, are available from only one source.
(2) The determination of a sole source must be based on written findings that may include:
(a) That the efficient utilization of existing goods requires acquiring compatible goods or services;
(b) That the goods or services required to exchange software or data with other public or private agencies are available from only one source;
(c) That the goods or services are for use in a pilot or an experimental project; or
(d) Other findings that support the conclusion that the goods or services are available from only one source.
(3) To the extent reasonably practical, the contracting agency shall negotiate with the sole source to obtain contract terms that are advantageous to the contracting agency. [2003 c.794 §55; 2005 c.103 §8c; 2015 c.807 §24]