Wednesday, March 27, 2019

City Engineer Pehl Poached by Centurion Planning?

City Engineer Russell Pehl will leave public service to work for David Alexander, the former office manager of KSA Engineering and co-founder of Centurion Planning and Design. 

On August 7, 2018 San Angelo's City Council approved hiring Centurion Planning and Design for airport planning services. 

The regular agenda item stated:
Awarding RFQ AP-01-18 Professional Services- Airport Planning Services to Centurion Planning and Design, LLC in the amount of $826,334 for Task Order 1, budgeted for purchase FY2018, and authorizing the City Manager to execute any related documents.
Since then the City hired Centurion for three more projects:

1.   Professional consulting services offered pursuant to RFQ AP-01-18 “City of San Angelo Professional Services-Airport Planning Services”, required for ancillary airport land use development strategy and planning for various undeveloped properties located at the San Angelo Regional Airport—Mathis Field, relating to proposed development of a business and industrial park at the airport for $120,991.

2.   Planning and design services for a hangar and related infrastructure improvements to municipal airport property utilized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (CBPAMO) for $46,435.

2.   Additional professional engineering and surveying services required by TXDOT on permit applications for driveway access to a portion of the Remainder of Block 1 San Angelo Gateway Addition Section 1 of the San Angelo Business and Industrial Park, for a sum not to exceed $7,500.
Centurion is a Civil Engineering firm with offices in San Angelo, Texas and Lee's Summit, Missouri.  It's LinkedIn page showed five employees.  Centurion's website highlights two employees.

While at KSA Engineering David Alexander did work for the City of San Angelo.  Alexander worked on the airport renovation and expansion.  He also designed the reconstruction of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

As recently as November 2017 Centurion's founders worked for the City on an airport project as KSA Engineering staff.  Ten months later Centurion won an $826,334 contact for airport planning services and then received three more engagements from the City of San Angelo.

Pehl made three presentations to City Council as City Engineer on March 19, 2019.  The city's public information webpages do not yet mention Pehl's pending departure. 

The City's Engineering Department had to contract out millions ($) in work due to low staffing.  How much more work will Centurion receive after poaching City Engineer Russel Pehl?

Update 4-30-19:  After weeks of silence the City announced new City Engineer Lance Overstreet.   The press release stated Pehl would work for a private sector engineering firm.  It failed to mention the firm does significant work for the City of San Angelo.  Let's hope Overstreet does a better job of answering City Council questions than he did with the water collection agency change.

Update 11-8-19:  Centurion Engineer Russel Pehl spoke before the COSADC board on a turn lane project at the Business Park.  Centurion landed a $2.1 million engineering project for Chadbourne Street (prior to Pehl's leaving city employment).

Update 12-15-19:   City Council will entertain a $36,000 economic development incentive for Centurion for office expansion and the addition of up to 6 new jobs.  The Development Corporation approved the incentive on 11-20-19.

Update 8-29-20:  One year ago Centurion received up to $13,000 to craft a presentation for United Airlines and travel with airport staff to present their proposal.

Update 11-17-20:  The City is looking for a new City Engineer.  The current City Engineer Lance Overstreet presented to City Council today but made no mention of his leaving or future plans.

Update 6-8-23:  It took the city over two years to find Lance's replacement.  Russell Pehl's LinkedIn page shows his position with Centurion ended in January 2023.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

No Fanfare or Presentation for Rehiring of Judge Gilbert

For months the City of San Angelo was atwitter over the retirement of Municipal Court Judge Allen Gilbert. On February 19th the City's Twitter feed noted the Judge's looming retirement.

March 1 the public was invited to his retirement celebration,  The Twitter post did not mention City Council discussed hiring Gilbert Consultants in executive session on February 15th

On March 4th the City led the public to believe Judge Gilber's last day would be Friday. 

City Council rehired Gilbert on March 5th  

Not one word was uttered for the public to hear about re-employing Judge Gilbert as a contractor for $60,000 a year.  There was no Twitter post celebrating Judge Gilbert's return to the City's Municipal Court.

Straight talk would've informed the public how much of Judge Gilbert's time the court will receive for $60,000 and for how long. Neither City Manager or City Council did that.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Judge Gilbert Retires, City to Hire Gilbert Consultants

On January 29, 2019 the City of San Angelo published a video on the retirement of Municipal Court Judge Allen Gilbert after 44 years of service.  February 5, 2019 City Council recognized Judge Gilbert for his longtime service and recognized special guests

On February 19, 2019 City Council entertained "contract negotiations with court consultant" in Closed/Executive Session.  There was no report to the public after the closed session.

On March 5, 2019 City Council will consider a consent agenda item:

Consider awarding a contract to Gilbert Consultants for Municipal Court consulting services in the amount of $60,000 and authorizing the City Manager to execute all related documents (Daniel Valenzuela)
The City's purchasing department has not issued a request for bids/proposals/qualifications for Municipal Court consulting services.

The background packet indicated:

This contract is to allow Allen Gilbert to serve as a consultant to Municipal Court and to serve as an associate judge on an as needed basis. Historically, Municipal court has had two judges. Declining citations and more efficient operations of the court will allow the court to operate with one judge.

During this time of transition of the court this contract will allow the court administrator and municipal court judge to draw on the vast experience of Allen Gilbert to ensure the court continues to move forward in a professional and efficient manner.

Will Council celebrate Judge Gilbert's un-retirement?  The public deserves to know how much of Judge Gilbert's time will the court get for $60,000 and for how long as the city moves to one judge.

Update 3-10-19:  The public received no presentation by City Manager Daniel Valenzuela on the rehiring of newly retired Judge Gilbert on a contract basis.   Not one City Council member pulled the item for the public to hear. 

Update 2-19-20:  True to form Council approved rehiring Gilbert Consulting using the same wording as last year.   It passed in the Consent Agenda thus the public heard nothing on the renewal.  Not one Council member asked how the $60,000 spent benefited the city over the last year. 

Update 2-25-21:  City Council will take up a judicial consultant item in executive session in next week's meeting.  It could be the rehiring of Judge Gilbert for another year.

Update 3-12-21:  Judge Allen Gilbert will get another $60,000 contract from the City of San Angelo.  The public has not seen any information indicating the value received for this money, hours worked, cases completed, etc.

Update 3-21-22:  City Council approved another $60,000 for Gilbert Consulting.  They did so in executive session with no information on the item in the meeting background packet.  Staff did not budget this item and will use Municipal Court restricted funds for this item.

Update 2-18-23:  City Council will consider another contract with Gilbert Consulting for $36,000.  Council approved four $60,000 annual contracts since the judge's retirement in 2019.  That's a nice $240,000 post retirement gig.