Thursday, November 08, 2012

Councilman Morrison's Hickory Stand

San Angelo City Councilman Dwain Morrison stood during Tuesday's council meeting and asked Carollo Engineering's Hutch Musallum to give him a call.  Morrison wanted to discuss a potential conflict of interest with a Hickory Water project employee.

The Carollo employee is actually subcontractor Wilde Engineering, started by Blake Wilde.  Blake is the son of San Angelo's Water Utilities Chief Will Wilde.

Blake Wilde started Wilde Engineering in June 2012.

Prior to forming an engineering firm, Blake Wilde worked for the City of San Angelo.

Anthony Wilson, Public Information Officer, shared Blake's employment history (after an information request):

Blake Wilde was hired Oct. 8, 2007, and was terminated for cause on June 8, 2012. He was earning an annual salary of $65,100 at that time. He is not eligible for rehire.
Surely, Blake's father had some idea as to why his son had been fired from the city.  It's not clear if Carollo's Hutch Mussallam knew of Blake's termination for cause before subcontracting with Wilde Engineering.

It seems odd for a fired employee to suddenly become a "go to" project inspector for getting Hickory pipe laying back on track by working 80 hours a week (at what hourly rate?).  

I submitted other questions, which are yet to be answered.  They are:

1.  When did Blake Wilde's Wilde Engineering become a subcontractor on the Hickory Pipeline project?
2.  Please send me Wilde Engineering's proposal with scope of work and conflict of interest documentation for doing business with the City
3.  Please send me Will Wilde's conflict of interest filing with the city regarding Wilde Engineering's subcontractor work for the project Will oversees.
4.  Please share how much Wilde Engineering has been paid between June and now for subcontractor work on the Hickory project.
I'll post City responses after they're received.

Morrison's stand happened after City Council pressed Carolla's Mussallam on the project schedule.

I expected a similar grilling from Mayor New and Councilman Hirschfeld on Water Czar Chief Will Wilde's unilateral expenditure of $100,000 on furniture, but that never happened.

It remains to be seen how Will and Blake complied with conflict of interest requirements.

The document states:

Q:  What is considered a “substantial interest” in a business entity (such that it would amount to a potential conflict of interest)?

A:  Close family member with any of the above interests: If a close relative of the local official has any of the above types of interest in a business entity. A local official is considered to have the same interest in a business entity that his or her close relatives have in that business entity. In this context, close relatives of an official would include persons who are related to the official within the first degree by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage).18 Such relatives would include an official’s father, father-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, son, son-in-law and the spouse of the official.

There are many questions that need answering.  Like the Furniture Fiasco, the public deserves transparency.

Update 11-16-12:  Draft minutes of the November 6th City Council meeting state:  "Councilmember Morrison commented on a potential conflict of interest and asked staff to review the issue."   Did he really?  I only heard Morrison ask Hutch Musallum to give him a call in regard to a possible conflict of interest.  I'll have to rehear the tape. 


Anonymous said...

It just never seems to end in this town.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there were no questions from the rest of the gang is because they all have their closet skeletons hanging out there.

Anonymous said...

Blake Wilde fired for cause?....not eligible for re-hire?....sounds like Carollo may be a second rate engineering firm. No wonder the project is so far behind schedule. Wait...according to Hirschfeld there is no schedule.

allie devereaux said...

Yes they do all have their own skeletons... that's how the good old boys endure. Let new comers know the game and how they benefit and that shuts them up. Thank you for posting this. This is much bigger than Yantis Green. The reign of Will Wilde must come to an end!

allie devereaux said...

Yes, every one has their own skeletons.... that's how this good old boy system works. Ask Charlote Farmer about the special deal she recently secured for her self on Lake Nasworthy property that should have been publicly auctioned. Show the new comers the game and how they can benefit, personal integrity goes out the window with most, and the corruption continues. The reign of Will Wilde has cost San Angelo citizens millions upon millions of dollars in untold ways. This should be the last straw. The era of his reign needs to come to and end... NOW!

Anonymous said...

Since Will Wilde, Blake Wilde and Carollo's Hutch Mussallam are all licensed engineers in Texas, aren't these some of the rules they are required abide by?


§137.57 Engineers Shall be Objective and Truthful
(a) Engineers shall issue statements only in an objective and truthful manner. Engineers should strive to make affected parties aware of the engineers’ professional concerns regarding particular actions or projects, and of the consequences of engineering decisions or judgments that are overruled or disregarded.
(b) The issuance of oral or written assertions in the practice of engineering shall not be:
(1) fraudulent,
(2) deceitful, or
(3) misleading or shall not in any manner whatsoever tend to create a misleading impression.
(c) The engineer shall disclose a possible conflict of interest to a potential or current client or employer upon discovery of the possible conflict.
(d) A conflict of interest exists when an engineer accepts employment when a reasonable probability exists that the engineer’s own financial, business, property, or personal interests may affect any professional judgment, decisions, or practices exercised on behalf of the client or employer. An engineer may accept such an employment only if all parties involved in the potential conflict of interest are fully informed in writing and the client or employer confirms the knowledge of the potential conflict in writing. An engineer in a conflict of interest employment shall maintain the interests of the client and other parties as provided by §137.61 of this title (relating to Engineers Shall Maintain Confidentiality of Clients) and other rules and statutes.

My husband and I recently moved here from San Antonio in hopes that San Angelo would be the safe and quiet place to work and raise our kids that we had dreamed of. As a short term citizen I've been apalled by the sheer number of recent major issues such as this(furniture, water contamination, water bills, etc.) tied to the same handfull of individuals and the lack of accountability exercised by city leaders in dealing with them. This is pure corruption. For the sake of our entire community someone please help us!

allie devereaux said...

You want help? Get behind Dwaine Morrison for Mayor and Jim Turner to replace him for representing SMD 2. This would bring more balance and integrity to the city council than we have EVER had. These two guys are dedicated to keeping government accountable, functioning first to represent the people, and have years of valuable experience behind them. The biggest problem with our city government is too many self interested parties, some of which, as in the Wilde clan, are VERY entrenched and been around WAY TOO LONG. It is functioning less and less like a representative body and more and more like a mega corporation, such as Enron... Where of course shareholders lost billions of dollars while deal-makers and executives received large cash bonuses, extravagant spending was rampant, stocks were hyped to unsustainable levels.

Anonymous said...

Kinda strange to me that people who have self interest accuse people of having self interest.

p.s. Jim Turner would do an excellent job, as he already has for our city- I have been telling him to run for years.

allie devereaux said...

Excuse me, sounds like there is an anonymous city council member in our midst. Trying to play that same old card again huh?

Yes, we ALL have self interest. One might argue that it is a biological imperative. Perhaps I should have been more clear. Some kinds of self interest are acceptable, human nature, and can even contribute to a greater good.

For instance, when some one gets screwed on their water bill, told they better cough up $30,000 or be cut off, they get angry, they start a petition, they start the ball rolling that leads to justice being served, and in the process, this helps hundreds of others who were also being taken advantage of. One could argue, all a result of self interest... but one could also argue that the impetus was also mixed with an altruistic desire.

The kind of self interest where you embezzle millions of dollars of public funds for personal gain, is unacceptable. Breaking laws and deceiving the public you represent, is unacceptable. On the specific issue of Wilde Engineering - reasons for being terminated for cause usually include, but are not limited to, stealing, lying, failing a drug or alcohol test, falsifying records, embezzlement, insubordination, deliberating violating company policy or rules, and other serious misconduct related to your employment. Conviction of a crime or breach of a contract you have with your employer may also be grounds for termination for cause.
When you are terminated for cause the employer does not have to give you notice.

The kind of self interest that would cause Will Wilde, public water works director, to pull the strings for his son, Blake, who was terminated from the city for cause, to become subcontracting engineer on the multimillion dollar Hickory Boondoggle, is the kind of self interest I find to be of the very unacceptable kind.

What are your thoughts anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm? For twenty years, I have Will Wilde had to many "close" relationships with people who benefitted from water (irrigation district for instance).

Anonymous said...

Is this a naive question, or why can't we know why BLake Wilde was fired? I want to know the CAUSE.

Anonymous said...

Call him and ask.

He drew some fabulous plans for the Chadbourne St. Pedestrian Improvements that resulted in insane costs that the TIRZ board is having trouble coughing up - thanks to the city's mishandling of a tax deal with Shannon.

There seems to be a can of worms lurking around every corner in this "small town".

Unknown said...

Allie- the anonymous comment was not from Paul.