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Live from Dana Point City Council: Scrutinizing TCA

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 18, 2014

At last month’s Dana Point City Council meeting, Councilman Bill Brough agendized a review of TCA in light of the very public controversies swirling around the TCA (Transportation Corridor Agencies), particularly the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, which is chaired by Dana Point’s representative, Lisa Bartlett.

9:13 PM: Item begins. Interim TCA CEO Mike Kraman gives a backgrounder on TCA, including listing the list of toll roads under its jurisdiction.

Kraman says Board actions approved 174 items, totaling $74 million, or 97% of its contracts.

At TCA, CEO authority for contracts is between $10,000-$25,000 and delegated for contracts under $10,000, totaling $1 million, or 1.5% of contracts.

That power is $35,000 for Dana Point’s City Manager.

It is $50,000 at OCTA, RCTC, and SANBAG.

TCA Chair and CEO concurrent authority was granted by a resolution buried in the budget for contracts. This authority was rescinded last month.

Five consulting contracts were approved since 2013.

9:24 PM: Councilman Bill Brough asks why Bartlett brought Kraman to give the update instead of doing it herself. He asks why OCFA Chair Weinberg (also a Dana Point Councilmember) brought the Chief for updates. He believes Councilmembers should be able to give updates themselves.

Brough expresses concern when a member of his Council is stripped of her authority on a regional board by the newspaper.

9:25 PM: Bartlett blames the election season.

9:25 PM: Brough asks if Bartlett can name any accomplishments from her tenure as F/ETCA Chair.

9:25 PM: Bartlett lists various projects in progress.

9:26 PM: Councilmen Brough and Carlos Olvera express concern about the TCA bonds refinancing extending the period of time to pay off the debt, with Brough noting the agency was trying to stave off bankruptcy. Olvera asks about the refinancing stretching out the length of time it would take to pay off the debt and actually increasing the amount of debt that the agency incurred, resulting in toll payers needing to pay more over a longer period of time to pay off the debt.

9:28 PM: Bartlett compares it to a home mortgage refinancing. Kraman objects to Brough’s characterization.

9:29 PM: Craig Alexander speaks in public comment, noting that he’s a Dana Point resident, TCA toll road user, and Robert Ming supporter. Alexander expresses his concern about Bartlett representing their city on F/TCA and discusses the vast number of contract extensions Bartlett and the CEO approved without the knowledge of the Board or the public, a power that was rescinded last month. He urges that she be replaced. He says it is accountability of taxpayer dollars not election year politics driving this.

9:32 PM: Bartlett argues $200,000 is not a vast number of contracts. She says she cannot recall any contract that she did not approve.

9:33 PM: Weinberg argues the press is being sensationalistic simply to sell newspapers. He argues it was Bartlett’s leadership that led to rescinding of the contract power.

9:34 PM: The item concludes.

One Response to “Live from Dana Point City Council: Scrutinizing TCA”

  1. […] In addition, recently Ms. Bartlett was stripped of her authority as Chairman of the Transportation Corridor’s Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (Lisa Bartlett Stripped of Authority to Approve Contracts at TCA) largely due to her approving very questionable contracts without notice to her fellow board members.  Part of her duties were to approve or disapprove of certain types of contracts and contract extensions presented to her by the Executive Director of the TCA.  During the March 18, 2014 Dana Point City Council meeting I asked her which of the contracts the Executive Director of the TCA presented did she disapprove.  She responded that she did not disapprove of any of the contracts presented to her.  Further that the total amount involved was only $200,000.00 (Dana Point City Council: Scrutinizing TCA). […]

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