Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for November, 2011

More self-dealing alleged at Seattle Indian Services Commission

by Matt Rosenberg November 9th, 2011

The troubled Seattle Indian Services Commission, already in the process of being stripped of ownership of its adjoining properties on 12th Ave. S. by the city in King County Superior Court, is now under fire in a newly-released state audit because former staffers reportedly diverted $73,943 for questionable purposes. This comes after previous state and city audits criticized the commission for awarding contracts to immediate family members of top staff, and for allowing a board member’s husband and son-in-law to also be appointed to the board.

Kent firm gets $64 million more in U.S. military contracts

by Matt Rosenberg November 8th, 2011

Sysco Seattle, Inc. of Kent, Wash. yesterday was awarded two contracts totaling up to $64.6 million from the Philadelphia-based U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to provide food service for U.S. military troops at an assortment of facilities in Washington state through November 3, 2012. All the work will be performed from the Kent location, south of Seattle.

One contract is for $44 million to serve the Navy; this includes ships operating out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, as well as Coast Guard ships, plus “various submarines and afloat vessels and currently the USS Nimitz, Lincoln and Stennis,” according to Sysco Seattle Sales Manager Tim Tauscheck. The other contract is for up to $20.6 million more, to serve Joint Base Lewis McChord and other land-based military facilities in Washington state, Tauscheck said. The contracts bring to $144 million the face value of U.S. defense contracts won by the Kent-based employer since 2004.

Sysco Seattle, Inc. formerly did business as Sysco Food Services of Seattle, Inc. and has been awarded at least four previous U.S. military food service contracts totaling $80 million between 2004 and early 2011 to provide food and food services to the U.S. military, as this DOD database search shows. The Kent-based division of the global giant, Sysco Systems, provides food to restaurants, schools, health care facilities, hotels and other customers in the Pacific Northwest, as well as supplies and equipment to the foodservice and hospitality industries.

The contracts awarded to Sysco Seattle this week continue the stream of defense dollars to Washington state employers other than the longstanding defense powerhouse Boeing. Early last month within less than a week, four Washington businesses won medical and construction defense contracts worth a total of up to $53.9 million, and later in October two Seattle companies and an Anacortes firm were among those splitting a $74 million award to build a new oceanographic research vessel for the U.S. Navy.

A September 2010 state study reported Washington companies in 2009 were awarded $5.2 billion in military contracts; and with indirect and induced effects added in, total jobs and labor income from military spending here were 7 and 8 percent respectively of the state’s totals.

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U.S. report: transit use, car mileage gains stuck in low gear

by Matt Rosenberg November 7th, 2011

According to a new U.S government report released in October, the “greening” of the nation’s transportation sector has a long way to go. Total passenger miles traveled on public transit are about one-eightieth those traveled in private vehicles. Solo driving accounts for three-quarters of daily work trips – just as in 1989 – while the corresponding carpooling, walking, biking, telecommuting, and transit work trip mode shares have essentially stagnated for two decades. There’s other transportation-related environmental news in the report that’s less than heartening: average fuel efficiency for passenger vehicles increased only eight miles per gallon in 48 years to 22.6 miles per gallon in 2008. Average mileage for light trucks, vans and pick-ups has progressed at a faster rate since tracking started in 1970 but is still only 18.1 mpg.

State worker car crashes cost $21 million from ‘07-’10

by Matt Rosenberg November 3rd, 2011

In the four most recent years for which public data is available from the State of Washington, the state has paid $21,661,799.44 in costs related to car and light truck crashes involving state workers. That total includes:

  • $7,537,186.85 in worker’s compensation claims;
  • $8,763,910.42 in tort liability (negligence claims);
  • $5,360,702.17 in repair costs.

  • All sub-totals are classified as “paid-to-date.” The information comes in an undated report titled “State Worker Car Crash Costs For FY07-FY10″. The report was actually released in June of this year, according to officials overseeing the state’s “risk management” division. That’s the section of the state Loss Prevention Program which prepared the report. The report covers state fiscal years 2007 through 2010, which ended June 30, 2010. Officials said data is not available yet for fiscal year 2011, ending June 30 of this year.

    Over the four-year stretch covered in the report, annual workers comp payouts for car crashes involving state employees went from $1.9 million in fiscal 2007 to $2.8 million in 2008, then dropped to $1.4 million in 2009 and $1.2 million in fiscal 2010. Four agencies – the state departments of transportation, social and health services, commerce, and the state patrol – accounted for $3.78 million or almost exactly half of the workers comp payouts to state employees for car crashes in fiscal 2007-2010, with payouts for each agency reaching above $500,000. Thirteen other agencies accounted for another $3.2 million in those claims paid, most of the rest of the $7.5 million sub-total. No car crash-related workers comp claims were paid by 113 state agencies.

    When payouts are combined for all three categories (workers comp, tort claims and car repairs), eight state agencies exceeded the $500,000 threshold: the state patrol, social and health services, transportation, corrections, Washington State University, labor and industries, fish and wildlife, and commerce.

    The report was compiled over 10 months following the end of 2010 fiscal year from the following sources:

  • OFM’s tort claim database
  • the Department of Labor and Industries – workers comp claims database
  • information from the state’s Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program
  • General Administration motor pool repair costs database
  • Individual agency fleet repair costs submitted to OFM
  • State Board of Community and Technical Colleges Annual Fall Quarter Reports

  • Public Data Ferret Transportation archive

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    Audit: state could save millions by reducing snail mail

    by Matt Rosenberg November 2nd, 2011

    A performance audit released Tuesday says four large State of Washington agencies that were examined spent almost $10 million dollars last year for un-required bulk mailings. The report from Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag’s office stops short of saying all the questioned mailings shouldn’t have been done, noting that there are times when for the sake of customer preferences, or because of limited access to technology for some stakeholders, when agencies may determine snail mail is the best option. Nonetheless, the audit said, state government has begun to find ways to save taxpayer funds by handling more business without postal service, and needs to step up such efforts further.