• mtbcouncilman

Council Majority Approves $8 million No-Look Contract

The council majority (Mayor Kimberly Cobos-Cawthorne, Mayor Pro Tem Angie Jimenez, and Councilmember Salvador Melendez) have failed the City of Montebello again. After voting to quiet your voice at city council meetings with new onerous council procedures, then approving a new exemption to our purchasing system so the city can skirt competitive bidding practices…


Last night, the council majority approved an $8.3 million dollar 5-year contract ($4,776,438 in immediate capital outlay plus $900,000 a year) without having the documents necessary to responsibly spend city funds.


What was missing?

1) The Request for Proposal (RFP) – what goods and/or services is Montebello seeking?

2) The list of respondents to the RFP, how they scored and their ranking, and how much their proposals would cost.

3) The prevailing proposal – how will the top identified consultant respond to Montebello’s needs?

4) The professional service agreement – the actual agreement between the city and the consultant that lays out the terms of the relationship and legally protects the city.


Without these documents, the city council did not know what it was buying, and the residents had no assurance that the appropriate bid processes was followed.


In October 2021 the State Auditor moved Montebello’s financial risk factor from moderate to high. Strong rebukes in their report referred to deficiencies in the city’s bidding practices. In that same report it was recommended that all matters of fiscal policy (revenues and expenditures) be fully discussed in public.


In February 2022 the city council waited to approve a $50,000 contract because the agenda item was missing documents. Last night the council majority should have applied the same values of accountability and transparency to a 5-year, $8.3 million contract. There would have been no greater risk to the city by waiting two weeks or less to review the documents. An IT strategic plan may be urgent, but it is not an emergency. Moreover, in the event of an emergency, the mayor has the authority to call a special meeting with as little as 24-hour’s notice.


If my words are strong, it’s because this matter is serious. This is a recurring problem and I plan on calling it out each time it’s found because each instance is a chance for council to do the responsible thing. This is not council’s distrust of staff; it is council being accountable to the voters.


Warm regards,

David Torres, Councilmember

City of Montebello

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