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Metro Govt Cap Projects Or Where’s Tony’s $300K?

January 17th, 2014 by jake · 9 Comments

Several weeks ago, Property Valuations Administrator Tony Lindauer publicly questioned where $300,000 allocated in the current Metro Government budget for renovations had gone. Specifically, the funds were supposed to be used for renovations of the Fiscal Court building. The answer Lindauer received? The Fischer Administration had other priorities. Note: it’s important to remember that those funds were dedicated for Fiscal Court building improvements by Metro Council, not dedicated to whatever Greg Fischer’s “other priorities” may be.

When we started poking around, asking questions, we discovered that looking into those “other priorities” is supremely difficult. The information either doesn’t exist or is being purposefully withheld from the public.

Those $300,000, along with hundreds of thousands in additional funds, are managed and spent by a small group of project managers in Facilities Management, working under the direction of Mark Zoeller. There are, as of this moment, no public accounting documents of the projects they manage or the funds they spend that we can find. The checks, of course, may exist in online expenses accounting provided by Metro Government – checks written to contractors, vendors and such – but there’s no information published on a project by project basis. This makes it nearly impossible to track capital projects in that division of government.

There’s neither mention of the group within LouieStat’s key performance indicators nor does a performance indicator exist that would help the public or Metro Council understand whether or not funds are being properly spent. There’s not a capital projects committee for the Council, so the stewardship of all that sweet cash is never publicly evaluated.

Common sense tells you that there are dozens of key performance indicators that could be used. Tons of indicators that would allow Metro Council and the general public to feel assured that their dollars are being spent wisely. Simple ones like this:

  • Did the project actually get completed?
  • Did it come in on budget? No? Why not?

But there’s no way to trace the projects for which Facilities Management is responsible.

Fischer’s folks will surely say the funds were spent on whatever disaster was happening at the moment. But those disasters are projects and the public accounting provided for Facilities Management apparently doesn’t include information that would allow someone to examine anything the Facilities project group handles.

Why are we picking this bone? Because there are quite a few other capital project groups within Metro Government that do a great job of accounting for their projects and the money they spend. Projects like those in the Engineering Division of Public Works – a department that actually publishes a list of projects, costs and where things stand in relation to completion.

Not Facilities Management, though. With so much at stake, we can’t figure out why this is not a priority.

Tags: Metro Government

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 The 'ole Highlander // Jan 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Transparency = the Berlin Wall. This group is beginning to resemble a driverless beer truck going down the Iroquois Park road from its overlook.

  • 2 YabbaDabba // Jan 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Isn’t that the group where at least one of ‘em got a 10% raise last year? When the rest of us got 2%?

    But seriously, that’s a big pile of cash – what happened to it? That’s Greggie’s lift tax right there.

  • 3 Greg's Backyard // Jan 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Go after Shanklin and the other one, and ‘shame on them’ — don’t think the two of them even came close to questionable spending the equal of this. How many springs broke loose from the Fischer jalopy to let this occur?

  • 4 Chris Tobe // Jan 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Maybe Louiestat is supposed to work like this, it was funded by the Arnold Foundation

  • 5 jake // Jan 17, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    The guy who runs it is top notch, Tobe. And it works for nearly every other agency.

  • 6 Debbie Linnig Michals // Jan 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I worked for Tony Lindauer for over two years at the PVA Office in the Fiscal Court Building. The building is a train wreck. It’s freezing cold in the winter or burning up in the summer. The employees have to work in a building that is filthy. I brought in my own cleaning supplies and cleaned my own space. It wasn’t uncommon to see roaches as big as mice crawling in the middle of the hall ways. The employees brought their own toilet paper and soap because half the time their wasn’t any. I hope Tony continues to fight for whatever money was allocated for improvements in that building, it’s way over due. This go along get along attitude is bullshit, peoples health is at stake.

  • 7 Valley // Jan 21, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Like Debbie, I too worked in that building YEARS ago, and it was a mess even then. Yes we had windows duct taped, the carpet was a ragged mess, where there was carpet, the corners were grimy, the non-carpeted floor, well, your shoes would stick to it.
    Looking back at previous articles, they said in May, I think, that $600K was allocated, then in the fall, that $300K of that was “taken.” So, realistically, there is 600K to account for ….
    Unfortunately, that is a drop in the bucket in repairing that building – but even major renovations would be better than a new building, the structure is, best I can tell, solid – it has just been neglected for many, many years.

  • 8 Fed up // Jan 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    This is the tip of the iceberg, there are a ton of buildings that are “held in the public trust” that are crumbling. It dates to when Pullen ran facilities under Jerry. They know it and can’t or won’t fix it all. It’s a travesty

  • 9 YabbaDabba // Jan 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    It goes much farther back than Pullen. Facilities Management is a unit that never had any accountability for its day to day work.

    Capital projects are now necessary because the equipment wasn’t maintained on a daily basis for years. The department was run from the bottom up by supervisors and managers who simply knee-jerked their way from one equipment failure to the next with no plan and lots of resentment if anyone looked into what they were doing.

    The Fiscal Court Building, and many others, could be a beautiful place if they were looked after. Time for out-sourcing the whole business.

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