July 29, 1998

 

 

Honorable Frank J. Ochoa, Presiding Judge

Santa Barbara County Superior Court

1100 Anacapa Street

PO Box 21107

Santa Barbara, California 93121-1107

 

 

County Administratorís and County Counselís Responses to the 1997-98 Grand Jury Interim Final Report on Service Contracting

 

 

Dear Judge Ochoa:

 

The County Administratorís Office and County Counsel would like to thank the Grand Jury for the findings and recommendations included in the subject report.

 

 

 

 

FINDING 1: The 1993-94 Grand Jury made recommendations regarding developing a standard contract format for use throughout the departments within the county. In response to this earlier finding, the County Administrator referred to a previously established Contracts Committee staffed by single members from General Services, Auditor-Controller, County Counsel, with the County Administrator serving as Chair. This earlier committee worked on standard service contracts. Currently only standard terms and conditions are in use for service contracts. In reviewing the above board contracts in the light of departmental responses, an absence of overall clause uniformity was noted.

 

RESPONSE: The County Administratorís Office and County Counsel agree with the finding.

 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION 1: The County Administrator should reconvene the Contracts Committee for further development of uniform policies, procedures and structure for service contracts.

 

RESPONSE: The recommendation has not yet been implemented, but will be implemented in fiscal year 1998-99, contingent upon approval from the Board of Supervisors.

 

The General Services department will implement the recommendation. The Contracts Committee shall consist of, at a minimum, representatives from the Auditor-Controller, County Counsel, General Servicesí Risk Management, Job Training Network, Health Care Services, and General Servicesí Purchasing Agent and will be chaired by the General Services Director or his/her designee. All other county departments will be welcomed to provide input and/or join the committee. NOTE: The Job Training Network and Health Care Services departments generate approximately 50% of the Countyís service contracts.

 

 

 

 

FINDING 2: The scope of work and other provisions within the reviewed contracts lacked both specificity, definition and in some cases performance parameters. This allows for loose interpretation of the contract terms, provides no mechanism for specific correction, and opens the contract to constructive change.

 

RESPONSE: The County Administratorís Office and County Counsel disagree partially with the finding.

 

Of the 3 subject contracts reviewed by the Grand Jury report:

 

  1. The Professional Auditing Services Contract is specific, clearly defined and includes performance parameters (refer to item #3, Scope of Services, item #4, Term, and item #5, Compensation of Contractor).
  2. The Economic Development Contract has a generalized scope of work and lacks specific performance parameters.
  3. The Agreement for Providing Executive Officer Services (LAFCO) has a generalized scope of work and lacks specific performance parameters.

 

The County Administratorís Office and County Counsel agree that contracts lacking specificity, definition and performance parameters can allow for loose interpretation of the contract terms and lack mechanisms for specific correction.

 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION 2: Develop a comprehensive policy for county contracting procedures to require more definition to specifications, or scope of work statements, and to couple these expanded definitions to some means of measurement, where appropriate. This recommendation can be added to the new Contracts Committee as it develops uniform procedures.

 

RESPONSE: The recommendation has not yet been implemented, but will be implemented in fiscal year 1998-99 by the Contracts Committee, contingent upon approval by the Board of Supervisors.

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Michael F. Brown Stephen Shane Stark

County Administrator County Counsel

 

 

cc: Tim Putz, l997-98 Grand Jury Foreperson