Hey Paul Giblin – Get Bent

If you thought we were shut of Paul Giblin when he moved away from the Glendale beat, you were mistaken. He’s back.

Collaboration Is Cool

Collaboration Is Cool

There was a piece today (March 13, 2014) targeting former Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall, who has since taken a position with the Coyotes. For some reason, Giblin teamed up with Craig Harris for what he’s characterizing as a hard hitting expose of all things gnarly in Glendale, Arizona, particularly where they involve the Coyotes.

You’d think that, with two people on the job, they would have done more complete research before offering some words that are little more than a hint at impropriety.

The allegation of the duo this time is that Tindall unduly influenced the awarding of a very necessary contract to audit the beleaguered Glendale finances.

I’m not an apologist or defender of Mr. Tindall, I assume he’s quite capable of dealing with any legal matters himself. The bone I have to pick with the piece is that the facts are wrong and the basis for Giblin’s theory is therefore moot. It would have been a simple matter to have utilized the vast resources available on AZCentral (Giblin’s employer-ish) to discover the facts.

Article Premise Based on Incorrect Statement

One single sentence is sufficient to erase all credibility from the hit piece:

“City policy says bids should be solicited on contracts valued over $50,000.”

Giblin offers no citation for the above statement, so we can’t follow up on the basis for his premise that he uses to damn Tindall in this piece. We assume he found it somewhere, or heard it from somebody.

I’ll help him out, the language specifying the $50,000 amount is in Section 2-145 of the Purchasing Ordinance in the City Charter.

City Charter Rule Giblin Ignored

The problem with the mud Giblin throws on the contract awarding process is that the Glendale City Charter specifically excludes “professional services”, certainly covering an audit done by a law firm, from the competitive bidding process.

Sec. 2-121. Authority of council to contract, etc., for professional and technical advice.
The council may, from time to time, by contract or otherwise, procure the services of such accountants, attorneys, engineers and other technical experts and employees as it shall deem necessary or for the best interests of the city; and shall pay for such services out of the funds of the city such reasonable compensation as may be fixed by the contract for such services or otherwise agreed upon or lawfully determined.

The above provides at least one “out” to the City Council to hire a law firm to audit the books without a formal bid process with simple “by contract or otherwise” language.

Another City Charter Rule Giblin Ignored

The definition (in Sec. 2-138. Definitions.) of “Service” in DIVISION 2 PURCHASING PROCEDURE provides the description of specifically excluded items from the formal bid process.

Service: The furnishing of labor, time or effort by a contractor, not involving the delivery of a specific end product other than reports which are merely incidental to the required performance. This term does not include “professional services” such as architects, lawyers, certified public accountants, consultants, appraisers, and engineers, or employment agreements or collective bargaining agreements.

This was the language I guessed (click here) Judge Fink might use to negate a lawsuit brought against Glendale (nearly two years ago) by Goldwater Institute in the name of Ken Jones and Joe Cobb. I’m not sure whether he did or not, but he certainly ruled that professional services, even one (arena management) that could arguably be NOT “professional”, are not subject to the bid rules.

Ruling Against Goldwater’s Bid Objections

On June 27, 2012, Judge Fink ruled against Goldwater and explained that professional services were exempt. I found a June 28, 2012 Lisa Halverstadt piece on the AZCentral site (click here) that described the decision. Googling further, I found the text of the decision on Mr. Giblin’s site, click here to read it in it’s entirety if you wish. There’s a lot of information in the document about why Judge Fink tossed the Goldwater complaint, boiled down to one sentence (on page 3) it’s:

“The Court finds that the arena management contract calls for the provision of professional services and therefore falls outside the scope of the Purchasing Ordinance.”

Further, Judge Fink describes why arena management would be considered a professional service, making it clear that “traditional” professional services would also fall outside the scope of the Purchasing Ordinance.

Read The Piece Again

Arizona Republic's Paul Giblin

Arizona Republic’s Paul Giblin

I didn’t add a link to the Giblin/Harris piece on purpose, it’s easy enough to find. If you choose to read it, and you probably should, please keep in mind that the initial premise that offering a contract for a professional audit must be subject to an open bid process is completely false.

Politically, should the contract have gone to a bid? In my opinion, DUH. The reason people were insisting on an external audit was the whiff of improprieties in the Glendale expenditures process. So, the best way to start digging out of that hole should have included a public bidding process.

But, the way it happened was neither illegal nor improper. If one implies otherwise, they are either underinformed or working with their own agenda. Neither of those should be applicable to a “news” story.