Levee Certification

Filed under: John Haas,Kevin Johnson,Nicholas Basham,PORTSMOUTH,Uncategorized — tkm June 18, 2010 @ 10:0 am

I’m taking a break from involvement in city affairs while we are remodeling our home but I felt the issue of Levee Certification, dealt with in the letters and records posted below, was too important to let slip by.  These records are public information and what they remind us is that John Haas and Nicholas Basham are doing the dirty work for the greedy multi-millionaire lawyers and real estate developers who control Portsmouth economically and politically.  If I needed a lawyer I would never hire anyone as incompetent as 5th Ward Councilperson John Haas.  And if I had a student in any school where Nicholas Basham was a teacher I would transfer them to another school, I would want my children to be taught by teachers with better habits, principles, and judgment than Basham’s.  Haas and Basham are receiving no more scrutiny from the lying Portsmouth Daily Times than Kalb and Mearan did. That’s my opinion, anyway.

I will have two attachments that will have information concerning the Levee Certification –checking back later.
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This morning’s Portsmouth Daily Times article titled “Haas Questions Levee Certification Firm” (see http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/view/full_story/7953113/article-Haas-Questions-Levee-Certification-Firm?instance=home_news_lead) may have led you to believe that I discounted the possibility of obtaining a lower cost for our project to certify our flood protection system in accordance with new FEMA criteria; new criteria developed following the failure of flood protection systems in New Orleans related to Hurricane Katrina.

Quite the contrary. Though I am indeed concerned about utilizing local contractors and employees, please note my response (below) to Councilman Haas’ email that was referenced in the Daily Times article. Though my response was shared with the press within half an hour of Mr. Haas’ email, my issues were not referenced in the Daily Times article.

A bit of background. As was referenced by the Mayor at Monday’s Council meeting, three bids were obtained for this Levee certification project; one of which came in at over $1 million. Mr. Jeff Peck, P.E. met with Howerton Engineering and Environmental Engineering Services (EES) to negotiate a combined contract which lowered the low bid from approximately $750,000 to $630,000 for Phase I testing, modeling and analyses. For those of you who have the time and inclination, attached are two documents relating to FEMA criteria. The three bids are public documents, by the way; and all citizens have the right to review them.

What occurred at Monday night’s meeting, as regards the FEMA certification contract, was yet another ambush. The ONLY documentation provided by Councilman Basham and New Boston City Administrator Steve Hamilton was a listing of contractors (four pages long). Mr. Haas, in his email, asks “Was Mr. Peck completely unaware of the list of companies submitted at last night’s counsel meeting?” This is a specious question. No government is required to issue bids to some forty engineering firms around the country.

It was “suggested” that Mr. Hamilton had received a lower bid from AMEC of Nashville, TN. No documentation of any kind was presented to support this suggestion. The inference made by Mr. Basham was that the Mayor and Jeff Peck, P.E., did not do their job in establishing and following a proper bid process; an inference not supported by the facts.

In addition, Mr. Basham questioned the utilization of sub-contractors. The use of sub-contractors is an industry standard as most engineering firms, especially those local to us, specialize in various aspects of engineering. The same is true for building schools, automobiles, major military items (space shuttles, jets, ships) or other major projects; at the local, state and federal level. To combine various engineering firms with specific specialties as sub-contractors reporting to a primary contractor benefits the project and the entity paying the bills.

But, my biggest concern is that two members of Council would publicly question the levee certification firm and process without having done their homework. What kind of bid HAS New Boston obtained? Did their bid process follow our own criteria (bid specifications, minimum of three bids, etc.)? Have these members of Council reviewed and compared the bids received by the City as well as those received by New Boston?

Below you will find Councilman Haas’ original email, as referenced by the Daily Times article. I invited you to ascertain whether you might make an informed decision concerning this issue based upon the information he has presented or by that provided in the Daily Times article.

As stated in my email (in response to Mr. Haas) below, “I look forward to reviewing the Village of New Boston’s documentation at our next Council meeting; which I am sure you (Mr. Haas), Mr. Basham and Mr. Hamilton will provide.”

Respectfully,

Kevin

Kevin W. Johnson, Member
Portsmouth City Council – First Ward
1020 24th Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662-2822
740-876-8558 (cell 250-4710)

—– Original Message —–
From: Kevin W. Johnson
To: John Haas
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 6:00 PM
Subject: Re: FEMA requirements

I thank you, John, for your thoughts concerning FEMA bid and cost issues.

I shall assume that you and Councilman Basham have:

1) reviewed the FEMA documenation provided by the Mayor (as attached),

2) reviewed the three (3) bids received by the City to meet FEMA project requirements (as was offered Council by the Mayor last night),

3) reviewed the documentation and requirements statement developed by the Village of New Boston and the bid documentation received from AMEC of Nashville, TN, as was obviously provided to you by Mr. Steve Hamilton, New Boston Village Administrator, and

4) compared the City’s documentation with that of New Boston to establish that what New Boston has been offered is comparable to the requirements in the City’s bid package.

Assuming, again, that you have done so, and the Village of New Boston truly has a better cost solution in hand, then we should indeed look again at this issue.

I look forward to reviewing the Village of New Boston’s documentation at our next Council meeting; which I am sure you, Mr. Basham and Mr. Hamilton will provide.

Respectfully,

Kevin

Kevin W. Johnson
1020 24th Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662-2822
740-876-8558 (cell 250-4710)

—– Original Message —–
From: John Haas
To: Media and City Officials
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 5:33 PM
Subject: RE: FEMA requirements

Madam Mayor and the prestigious list of honorable council members, prospective and current contractors and press:

One would think the requirements for New Boston would be the same as Portsmouth since it is the same system. Was Mr. Peck completely unaware of the list of companies submitted at last night’s counsel meeting? Have you had any conversations since the May 24 council meeting with Mr. Hamilton in New Boston about who they are looking at for the project and why they are apparently going a different direction?

Late last week, I heard that New Boston found a firm that was very experienced in performing the FEMA studies and that they were much cheaper than any number bandied about by the current or prior administration. Nick Basham deserves our thanks for doing the follow up and bringing that firm and the list of several others to your attention prior to the authorization of expenditures to Howerton. It would could have been very embarrassing to all of us if we proceeded to overpay a firm with admittedly no experience on this FEMA study only to have it pointed out later we could have hired an experienced firm for much less.

Perhaps after investigating the firm New Boston hired or is considering hiring, they will not turn out to be the lowest or best bid. At that point, I will feel we complied with our due of due diligence expected of us who serve in public office. I believe that when we are spending taxpayer’s money we need to investigate all options and not call members of council “asinine” for asking questions.

John R. Haas
From: Jane Murray [mailto:mayormurray@portsmouthoh.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:50 PM
To: City Officials
Subject: FEMA requirements

Council has been given the attached previously. But, in case you need it again, these are the requirements for levee certification and form the basis of the scope of work for the contract with Howerton Engineering.

Mayor Jane Murray
City of Portsmouth, OH
728 Second Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662
740-354-8807
mayormurray@portsmouthoh.org

________________________________________________________
From: “Kevin W.W. Johnson”
Date: June 16, 2010 8:45:08 AM EDT
To:
Subject: June 14 Council Meeting

Once again I feel it necessary to communicate additional information concerning actions by our City Council.

Monday’s meeting was a financial ambush on the Mayor, City Department heads and employees. What you read in this morning’s Portsmouth Daily Times told but part of the story.

For context, understand that the issue is our CIP (Capital Improvements Project) budget. Five weeks ago it was introduced at the Mayor’s Conference Agenda meeting and three weeks ago it was discussed at length by Council with the Mayor and Department heads. Numerous cuts were made three weeks ago, with participation and agreement by the Mayor and Department heads.

Our meeting this past Monday was for the CIP’s second reading. Imagine everyone’s surprise when, first, Mr. Haas made sweeping deletions to the first portion of the CIP (verbally, not in writing). Ostensibly, this move was to bring our budget in line with income. However, CIP funds may NOT be utilized in the General Fund (salaries, etc.) so cutting the CIP budget, for items such as road repair and equipment for our employees to accomplish their jobs does NOT impact our $1.2 million deficit. (See the Times article for cost details).

Then Mr. Basham introduced even more cuts (and some interesting additions) to the second portion of the CIP… making cuts that would have devastated Main Street Portsmouth and downtown redevelopment, eliminated our participation in (and designation by) Tree City USA and much, much more. At least, however, Mr. Basham’s proposals were in writing, so that Council could review them. (Again, see the Times article for cost details.)

Understand that there is a process in management that calls for communicating major changes to fellow members of Council so that we (on Council) and the PUBLIC are not caught off guard by last minute introductions of major change. Messrs. Basham and Haas had three weeks to provide Council and the public with an indication of their proposals. They chose, instead, to lead a tandem ambush on Council and the public with their sweeping “surprise” changes. Fortunately, certain of the City’s Department heads and community leaders were in attendance to counter and provide real facts and information to members of Council.

I was, to put it mildly, disgusted; and voiced this opinion loud and clear. You will not note this in press reports.

Finally – Mr. Basham indicated he had contacted various employees of the City for the information detailed in his cuts (and additions): bypassing the Mayor and all Department heads (such interference is forbidden by City Charter, by the way), leading Mr. Bill Beaumont to publicly chastise Mr. Basham for going behind his back and claiming that employees were afraid to voice their concerns to Department heads. Again, no mention of this in press reports.

I’ll be writing more after our next Council meeting. It is important to me that you be made aware of what is going on in the background and have historical context to what is now going on.

Sincerely,

Kevin

Kevin W. Johnson, Member
Portsmouth City Council – First Ward
1020 24th Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662-2822
740-876-8558 (cell 250-4710)

2009 Budget Projections for the City of Portsmouth – Not Good

Filed under: Trent Williams,Uncategorized — tkm August 7, 2009 @ 14:0 pm

IMGA0426-1
Pres. David Malone, 2nd Ward Council; VP Gerald Albrecht, 4th Ward Council; Mike Merean, 1st Ward Council; John Haas, 5th Ward Council; Jim Kalb, Mayor; Trent Williams, City Auditor.
These 6 puppets stay true to their unelected leaders and regurgitate whatever they are told to say, even if it means the demise of the City.

On July 30th 2009, Auditor Trent Williams calculated a Projected General Fund Revenue Summary for the current 2009 Fiscal Year. The Projected Year-End Revenues were obtained by using the Actual YTD figures from June 30th, 2009 and the Projected Year-End Revenues. These calculations show the City is approximately $1.1 million dollars short of meeting their year-to-end budget, and those figures only emphasize the highlighted line-items.  My feeling about the report is Trent was being very conservative in his calculations after reviewing the rest of the line-items. Trent used conservative numbers in predicting the Projected 2009 numbers on some line-items. Other line-items also show a shortfall for the City: several of the line items show Actual YTD 09 collections missing their mark by more than 50%.  By December these anemic financial chickens will come home to roost.

Once Council passes an Ordinance to accept the General Fund Budget the Budget is no longer the Mayor’s Budget but Council’s Budget.

Four (4) Council members (1st Ward Mike Mearan, 2nd Ward David Malone, 4th Ward Gerald Albrecht, and 5th Ward John Haas) voted in favor of Mayor Kalb’s proposed 2009 General Fund Revenue Budget in January, even though the City Auditor said he did not feel the figures presented to Council were achievable. Trent, even though he had reservations about the Budget, stood behind and even supported the pressure being placed on Council to pass the Budget by the Mayor and then ultimately joined forces with the 4 Council members whose vote it was to pass the 2009 General Fund Revenue Budget this past January.

The Auditor’s report shows the City could experience close to a $2 million deficit by the time December 31, 2009 gets here.

CLICK:  2009 General Fund Revenue Summary – 2009 Budgeted, Actual YTD June 30, 2009 and Projected Year-End Revenues

Working against the Taxpayers

Filed under: City Business,Trent Williams — tkm June 29, 2009 @ 10:0 am

During the Marting scandal Trent Williams, City Auditor, ensured the money that was collected illegally from City taxpayers between the years 1998 and 2002 and deposited in the 401 Debt Retirement Fund was accessible to Council for the bailout of the Marting Foundation and Clay Johnson. Williams influenced the particulars associated with the 401 Debt Retirement Fund so the illegally collected tax monies could be paid to Johnson through a Lawyers Trust to benefit the Foundation at the expense of the taxpayers.

Below you will see a clip from the 6-22-09 City Council meeting where Williams again is trying to influence Council and the public into believing that the 401 Debt Retirement Fund is for the sole discretion of Council and to hell with the public.

CLICK:  6-22-09Williams-1

6-8-09 Council Meeting Highlights

Filed under: Martin Mohr — tkm June 22, 2009 @ 14:0 pm

After the June 8, 2009 “Regular” City Council Meeting Frank Lewis, Staff Writer for the Portsmouth Daily Times (PDT) wrote an article giving Marty Mohr (Moron) the title of the “Voice of Reason”. When has Marty ever been the voice of reason? Watch for yourself!!!!

CLICK: 6-8-09(1) Marty

CLICK: 6-8-09(2) Marty

Jim Kalb as always continues his juvenile antics even though he knows he is continuing to hammer the nail in his coffin at the November election – See video below (depending on connection may take a few minutes to load).

CLICK: 6-8-09 Kalb during the Mayor Report

Identity Fraud?

Filed under: Bob Mollette,Uncategorized — tkm October 3, 2008 @ 9:0 am

What Bob and I do with our bank accounts is our business, but what a bank does with the information they have with people’s accounts is also the business of the individual account holder. Yes, Bob and I did remove our account from American Savings Bank, and yes it was because of the support shown by American Savings Banks for the Marting fiasco.

To add to that information I have also stopped supporting any business that has the signs in their windows or in their store. I also have started taking pictures of the businesses that are displaying the signs for future posting on the website.

Let me ask you. Do you trust a bank, American Savings Bank, who will give a local radio announcer, Steve Hayes, your banking account business? After that information was made public by this bank I know I don’t. I know if I still had an account in this bank and heard this information about another customer I would immediately remove my account from the bank. In today’s society with all the identity fraud going on is your money safe with a bank that will give out personal information? Could you trust a bank that could be giving others your personal banking information?

I feel, after experiencing this invasion of my privacy, the individuals who are involved with promoting the Marting Sham will do anything to get your vote – Maybe even put your identity at risk for their own personal gains. Can you trust these businesses that are trying to persuade you to vote their way or else maybe release vital information about you that can be found on your checks, your credit card, and even your driver’s license. Can you trust a bank like this and still feel it is safe?  As of right now the only two banks in town displaying the Marting propaganda are American Savings Bank, which we have a pretty reliable report it was distributed by a Bank employee or officer, and Desco Federal Credit Union also has these same signs in their lobby area.

Do you trust someone who will influence you through false ads, then raise your taxes by 440% for the next 30 years to accomplish their own personal agenda?  They are not going to guarantee a better tomorrow for Portsmouth. What will guarantee a future for our city is working on our infrastructure and providing the much needed services to the property owners.

Start with a feasible plan that is cost effective for the citizens of Portsmouth and the people will come support you.

Vote NO on the Justice Center and the Marting Renovation for the betterment of Portsmouth. And remember watch who you do business with.

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This was written in an article by Steve Hayes in his Flip Side publishing: “A Portsmouth city councilman and his wife recently got up in arms and in earshot of everyone around them as they closed their account at a local bank simply because they had the renderings on display in the lobby.”

Also on Tuesday September 30th just before the 7:00 am news Steve Hayes broadcast this information on his daily show. I would hope that anyone who turns in to the Steve Hayes show or has it being broadcast in their business show how disgusted they are by his display of unprofessionalism by turning him off.

Be informed and don’t be used by the unelected leaders of the community.

Get out and VOTE on November 4th or VOTE early (the polling areas on November 4th will be busy).

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