Dear Salt Lake County GOP'ers,
This month Chairs Corner addresses three important topics and is in response to some conversations I have recently had with several of you. The three topics are:
1. Elected officials ignoring violations of the law in Salt Lake County
2. Volunteer opportunities
3. E-Club membership
Elected Officials Ignoring Violations of the Law in Salt Lake County
Many of you have expressed frustration and helplessness with the numerous examples of our elected officials shrugging off bad behavior, disregarding the public's trust, and ignoring possible lawlessness. The following is one of the most recent examples:
It's been a month or so since a local news reporter broke the story of serious Procurement Law violations in Salt Lake County involving a multi-million dollar contract for concession services at the Salt Palace and Mountain America Expo Center. This issue involves a possible conflict of interest and insider bid-rigging. At the heart of the Procurement debacle is Mr. Scott Beck, former CEO of Visit Salt Lake who recently left his position to take a similar position in Toronto, Canada.
What we understand is this; Mr. Beck, while sitting on the selection committee (a position that by law must be held by a person who is free from conflict of interest) personally endorsed, in writing, one of the vendors who submitted a bid for the project. Article
It is of no surprise that the Scott Beck endorsed vendor was awarded the multi-million dollar contract. However, the losing bid was from a highly respected national company, which provides concession services at the Vivint Smart Home Arena and Smith's Ballpark, whose proposal would have returned millions of dollars more to Salt Lake County taxpayers.
If the allegations against Mr. Beck are correct, State code 3.33.040 says he broke the law. It specifically states, "Material Communications" by selection committee members "that could reasonably provide, or could reasonably create the appearance of providing, a competitive advantage in the procurement process" "is a class C misdemeanor". It is also a violation of Salt Lake County Ordinance.
While Mayor Wilson did eventually cancel the award and reissue the RFP, many Salt Lake County residents naturally assumed she would immediately call for an investigation into this egregious violation of the law. Certainly, Mayor Wilson would want to know if a taxpayer-subsidized employee violated that law and if so, how she can prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately, Mayor Wilson refuses to investigate; instead she simply calls it a "hiccup", "an innocent mistake"!
It appears that not only is there no investigation and no accountability, but Mr. Beck is now honored with his own day. That's right; September 27, 2019, is now "Scott Beck Day" in Salt Lake City.
Mayor Wilson seems to have forgotten that her fiduciary duty is to the residents of Salt Lake County, not to a highly paid (Scott Beck's annual salary is $275,000.00), subsidized employee, who just conveniently accepted a new job in Toronto, Canada. Mr. Beck leaves his mess to the County taxpayers to pay for and County staff to re-issue the subject bid.
Where is the investigation? Where are the questions and where are the answers? Mr. Beck, as the Director of Visit Salt Lake for 14 years, oversees a multi-million dollar budget. Mr. Beck would have been involved in dozens and dozens of contracts over the years. Given his willingness to violate County procurement law, taxpayers are right to question the integrity of those contracts. Our County party leadership believes we need an investigation not only into this current multi-million dollar debacle but also into the other contracts Beck oversaw and participated in. The Procurement integrity of Visit Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, and Salt Lake County are at stake. This apparent business-as-usual cannot be swept under the rug.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments regarding this violation of the State and County Procurement Code.
As you know, this is a volunteer organization. We have much work to do, which means, we need your help. Each of you has your own unique skill set and interests and we invite you to volunteer within our County party. If you enjoy research, writing, data, organizing, and much more, please send a note to me (via this link) and let's identify a good volunteer fit for you.
Our E-Club continues to grow! This is a great way for each of you to contribute a little, which collectively, adds up to a lot. Your monthly financial contribution ensures that our Salt Lake County GOP stays engaged, proactive, and continues to serve each one of you. I understand and respect that time and resources are often limited and I am grateful for your participation in our Party. To sign up for our E-Club, use this link.
SLCO GOP Chair