* This letter is in reference to Mr. Bill Gourley's letter (Sept. 1), called "Highhanded Tactics."
Mr. Gourley is correct in that I am a financial consultant, that I am thoroughly skilled in financial matters and well qualified to plan for corporations' and individuals' financial futures. He intimates some wrongdoing for hiring an outside consultant without going through a bid process. It is perfectly legal and appropriate for the city to hire someone under a professional service contract without a bid process, if that person is the only one qualified for the job.
Since the Fire Department which provides service to our city does not have any expense figure showing the cost of fire service in Thousand Oaks, it is now busy extracting figures from its gross budget to provide to the city. As of this date, the Fire Department cannot tell us how much it costs to provide fire service to Thousand Oaks. After doing some financial work with the cities of Santa Monica, Pasadena, Glendale, Oxnard and Ventura, I find that the cost to those cities having a similar number of fire stations is about $8 million. All of us in Thousand Oaks are paying the county $14 million in taxes for this service. If we can save these millions of dollars by having our own fire department, then it is going to be a tremendous benefit.
We have to go through a complicated process to gain our own fire department, if we so desire. The expert that the staff recommended is the only person they could find that worked not only as a financial analyst for the Fire Department, but is a past executive director of the organization that must approve us getting our own fire department.
I asked the council to approve this expert with a maximum cost of $10,000. If Mr. Gourley can find some other person who has the same qualifications, I would certainly be willing to consider that person. However, I believe spending $10,000 in order to save $3 million to $4 million of your taxes is worth the expenditure.
Lastly, Mr. Gourley indicates that there was no competitive bidding for the company that is our construction manager for the Civic Arts Plaza. Mr. Gourley should pay attention to the fact that several years ago we had a very competitive bid process which included 22 different firms that applied for the job. After extensive review and interviews by the City Council members, Lehrer, McGovern & Bovis was chosen as the construction manager for our project. This was done by competitive bid. Anyone who has questions about any recommendations I have made can call me at my office, home or at the city.
Frank Schillo is a member of the Thousand Oaks City Council.