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Speed Hump Consultant? The jokes write themselves…

There is a rumor out there…that in neighborhoods across Anchorage, some who have problems with speeding traffic and have been unable to get “speed humps” (a “traffic calming” solution)  have started to…errrr…improvise with things like traffic cones (see the picture above).  The sad irony is that any unauthorized attempt to try and avoid a tragic accident will be removed by the Municipality.

Thanks, Mayor Sullivan.

Mudflats fans are aware of the excellent job Jeanne and Shannyn have been doing covering the Municipality of Anchorage “Speed Hump” debacle.   A short wrap-up may help those of you not as familiar with the issue:

–A little girl was hit by a car in May.

–Neighbors wondered why there were no “speed humps” there to promote “traffic calming” and decided to try and get one.

–Calls put in to the Municipality revealed that the Mayor’s “budget cuts” included laying-off the one person who was THE speed hump person in the “traffic calming” program (the cost to the Muni, including all salary and benefits, was $133,000).  The speed hump program was no more.

–Sen. Bill Wielechowski and Rep. Pete Peterson even brought in $700,000 in grants to East Anchorage and Abbott Loop for “traffic calming improvements “…to include lighting, chokers, speed humps and sidewalks.”   They were left with no program on which to spend it.

–The Sen. and Rep. start to apply pressure…Jeannie and Shannyn along with other blogs started their print/radio onslaught, asking Alaskans to call the Muni. The ADN’s Rosemary Shinohara wrote an article on the subject.

As a result, it seems that there has been some movement at the Mayor’s Office–per the Anchorage Daily News:

The city will recharge its traffic-calming program by hiring a consultant to help it figure out how to spend up to $1.1 million in state grants and city bond money, said Greg Jones, city community planning and development director.

He made the announcement Wednesday as part of Mayor Dan Sullivan’s weekly press briefing.

First off, I noticed the $1.1 million figure.  Where did that come from?  I referred back to the ADN article and interview with Greg Jones:

The balance of city funds that could be used for traffic calming — more than $662,000 — is money that had been designated for 10 other projects prior to 2010 but was left over, Jones said.

Are you kidding?  We had $662,000 left in a program that was cut to save $133,000?  The word “hinky” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Secondly, we are once again seeing an all-too-familiar Dan Sullivan technique: Hire/select a consultant/planner/contractor/committee/task force.

This time, we are actually hiring a consultant to “help” us spend money? A “Speed Hump Consultant?”

Since I didn’t see the Mayor’s weekly press briefing, I didn’t get the full impact of Mr. Jones’s announcement until I read the excellent write up from my friends at Alaska Commons who actually live in one of the effected neighborhoods:

“[P]art of our redefinition of this program is to go back out to those neighborhoods, reevaluate those plans, make sure that they’re still what the neighborhood wants, make sure new projects haven’t affected the recommendations within those studies, go back to the legislators, talk to them about how they intended the funds to be used. In many cases we have funds that have completed projects and they have funds left over. Sometimes the grant language says ‘can be used for this project and other projects’. Other times the grant language says ‘must be used for this project’ but we have funds left over. So we want to figure out how much those are, go back to the legislators, find out if we can reallocate them to other projects within those neighborhoods or whether we are simply just going to let them lapse; in some cases we’ll ask to get other funds attached to them. We also have bond funds that the voters approved specifically for traffic calming that we can put with some of these funds. That hasn’t been coordinated well in the past..”

Let’s look at this statement a little closer:

“…redefinition of this program…”  Last I checked, the grants are based on a specific, already-established “definition of the program.”  Re-defining it means that you may lose those grants.

…go back out to those neighborhoods, reevaluate those plans…”  Reevaluate?  In case you aren’t aware how long some of these neighborhoods have been waiting for relief from the cars that speed on their streets, Anchorage actually has a “Traffic Calming Policy Manual” which shows us exactly what it takes to get a speed hump:

In order to get your speed hump installed by June of the following year, you must have your request into the Traffic Department, must receive petitions that must be signed by a majority of folks in your neighborhood (which may be a difficult task in an area with apartments) and have that all submitted by September 15th. The, the Traffic Department does studies to see whether they will authorize either a temporary or permanent speed hump.  So, for all practical purposes, it takes close to a year. As a result of the Sullivan Administration, many neighborhoods have been waiting for TWO YEARS.   And they want to start the process over?

“…make sure that they’re still what the neighborhood wants…”  The Administration told the ADN that there are “aging studies” out there.  However, the Community Council’s Project Needs Assessment information is NOT “aging”…like the one from Russian Jack Community Council…from MARCH 27, 2010:

Russian Jack Area Traffic Calming and Safety Improvements

Problem: Local residents and the traffic department are concerned about the speeds motorists travel on
the local roads in the Russian Jack Park area.

Scope: This project will construct priority traffic calming and safety improvements in the Russian Jack
area. The project will improve safety by reducing speeds in local neighborhoods.

Status:

A study identifying specific improvements has been completed and design efforts are funded.  Construction funding is proposed through a combination of local road bonds and state grants. There are three projects remaining to be constructed from the Russian Jack traffic calming study. These projects are all neckdowns at the following locations: 1) Kenai Avenue and Pine Street, 2) 6th Avenue and Pine Street, and 3) 8th Avenue and Pine Street.

There are other “pedestrian safety project needs” listed in Russian Jack asking for sidewalks. I’m thinking that the Community Councils are still pretty clear that they need “…lighting, chokers, speed humps and sidewalks.”

“…go back to the legislators, talk to them about how they intended the funds to be used…”  Ummmmm…I guess reading comprehension is not a requirement for those in the Sullivan Administration.  Stated in the grant:

Improvements are expected to include lighting, chokers, speed humps, and sidewalks. This request will fund traffic calming throughout Northeast Anchorage.
 

Priority projects will be designed and constructed based upon the recommendations of the local community councils. 

BY LAW, that is what the funds are to be spent on…period.

“…In many cases we have funds that have completed projects and they have funds left over. Sometimes the grant language says ‘can be used for this project and other projects’…” The grant I linked above requires that the funds be used for 1) specifically listed “traffic calming” improvements 2) the specific Northeast neighborhoods and 3) projects selected by the Community Councils.  Nowhere does it say that these funds cannot be used for upcoming “traffic calming projects” as long as they fit the other criteria.   

  
“…Other times the grant language says ‘must be used for this project’ but we have funds left over. So we want to figure out how much those are, find out if we can reallocate them to other projects within those neighborhoods or whether we are simply just going to let them lapse; in some cases we’ll ask to get other funds attached to them…” Has Mr. Jones read his own “Traffic Calming Policy Manual?”  Neighborhoods submit requests for speed humps ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS.   Isn’t this money available not only for already-approved speed humps but future approved requests in the specified neighborhoods?   Remember, because the program currently “does not exist,” requests are currently not being processed. 
 
“…We also have bond funds that the voters approved specifically for traffic calming that we can put with some of these funds…” Yeah, you have $662,000 worth of voter-approved speed-hump bond money.  That’s about 198 speed humps.  Why did you discontinue the program?
 
 John Aronno at Alaska Commons says it well as he assesses the remainder of the Jones statement to the press (I encourage you to read the entire article):

I’m thinking this, once again, has much less to do with the wishes of constituents and the fulfillment of the mayor’s pledge to improve public safety and much more with awarding bids to private contractors.

According to Municipal Officials, it is common for the City to use as much as 20% of grants like these towards Administrative costs.  Mayor Sullivan could waste a big chunk of that money without ever planting a speed hump.

 
So, Dan Sullivan could use his legendary contractor vetting techniques to find a consultant:
 
 
Who could then “conclude” that Sullivan should find other ways to use the rest of that speed hump money:
 

How much longer is Sullivan’s term as Mayor?

Comments

comments

Comments
114 Responses to “Speed Hump Consultant? The jokes write themselves…”
  1. bb says:

    How soon do these cones end up in a dorm room? I just can’t read all this idiocy though you worked hard on it. I just had my neck injected. You have to remember I live in TX where your natives have influence too. rotflmbo!

  2. bb says:

    How soon do these cones end up in a dorm room? I just can’t read all this idiocy though you worked hard on it. I just had my neck injected. You have to remember I live in TX where your natives have influence too. rotflmbo!

  3. CityKid says:

    Can’t wait to see who Bumpy Dan hires to do the consulting – how much will the consultant be paid? Will the consultant be a friend of Bumpy Dan? It’s a small town – should be interesting.

  4. CityKid says:

    Can’t wait to see who Bumpy Dan hires to do the consulting – how much will the consultant be paid? Will the consultant be a friend of Bumpy Dan? It’s a small town – should be interesting.

  5. Maeve says:

    We had trouble getting speed bumps (what they are known as on the east coast) in our neighborhood when I was a kid. Some of the dads put together some homemade bumps, consisting of lengths of lumber with large nails pounded through. If you weren’t driving too fast, you could work your way around them. If you were speeding, you’d not see them in time. Slowed the traffic down until the boards were confiscated by the county – who later put in the traffic slowing speed bumps for us. Just a little guerilla warfare…

  6. Maeve says:

    We had trouble getting speed bumps (what they are known as on the east coast) in our neighborhood when I was a kid. Some of the dads put together some homemade bumps, consisting of lengths of lumber with large nails pounded through. If you weren’t driving too fast, you could work your way around them. If you were speeding, you’d not see them in time. Slowed the traffic down until the boards were confiscated by the county – who later put in the traffic slowing speed bumps for us. Just a little guerilla warfare…

  7. Pat says:

    Mayor Sullivan is just following his Dad’s example. George was mayor when the sports arena, with it’s hugh concrete walls was being built. Just a coincident that George’s great friend was the owner of Anchorage Sand and Gravel, supplier of concrete? The tear jerker “Poor George gave his heart for the City” insurance policy and other retirement goodies the former Mayor Sullivan received, that just resulted in that big check to little Dan, was payback for other deals. Someone in Alaska with a little time and access to public records under the new laws could write a great story.

  8. Pat says:

    Mayor Sullivan is just following his Dad’s example. George was mayor when the sports arena, with it’s hugh concrete walls was being built. Just a coincident that George’s great friend was the owner of Anchorage Sand and Gravel, supplier of concrete? The tear jerker “Poor George gave his heart for the City” insurance policy and other retirement goodies the former Mayor Sullivan received, that just resulted in that big check to little Dan, was payback for other deals. Someone in Alaska with a little time and access to public records under the new laws could write a great story.

  9. Zyxomma says:

    Man oh man! I cannot stand NYC’s mayor; he has the worst speaking voice this side of Sarah Palin (if anyone has seen American Dad, he sounds just like Roger the Alien, but whinier), totally pro-business (especially real estate and chain stores that displace/replace real homegrown Mom-n-Pops) and anti-“little person.” And, to boot, he’s more NYC’s nanny than NYC’s mayor (he loves telling people how to behave, cuts jobs for teachers and cops while wasting $3 million on disgusting anti-smoking posters, even after raising the taxes on cigarettes so many people have had to quit because they can’t afford them), etc. His only saving grace (IMO, of course) is that he’s *not* Rudy Giuliani, NYC’s worst mayor since the “olden days” of Tammany Hall (he has in common with Rudy tweaking the crime stats and giving contracts to his pals).

    However, next to Dan “Let’s have a Party (Planner)” Sullivan, he’s wonderful.

  10. Zyxomma says:

    Man oh man! I cannot stand NYC’s mayor; he has the worst speaking voice this side of Sarah Palin (if anyone has seen American Dad, he sounds just like Roger the Alien, but whinier), totally pro-business (especially real estate and chain stores that displace/replace real homegrown Mom-n-Pops) and anti-“little person.” And, to boot, he’s more NYC’s nanny than NYC’s mayor (he loves telling people how to behave, cuts jobs for teachers and cops while wasting $3 million on disgusting anti-smoking posters, even after raising the taxes on cigarettes so many people have had to quit because they can’t afford them), etc. His only saving grace (IMO, of course) is that he’s *not* Rudy Giuliani, NYC’s worst mayor since the “olden days” of Tammany Hall (he has in common with Rudy tweaking the crime stats and giving contracts to his pals).

    However, next to Dan “Let’s have a Party (Planner)” Sullivan, he’s wonderful.

  11. leenie17 says:

    Methinks that the City of Anchorage needs a thorough – and independent – audit.

    Done by someone who was NOT a beneficiary of Daddy’s little insurance policy.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      They are required to have a financial statement audit every year, conducted by an independent accounting firm. However, financial statement audits are not designed to catch fraud, collusion, and the like, nor are they designed to catch anything below what is considered “material.”

      It sounds like what you are looking for is a forensic audit.

  12. leenie17 says:

    Methinks that the City of Anchorage needs a thorough – and independent – audit.

    Done by someone who was NOT a beneficiary of Daddy’s little insurance policy.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      They are required to have a financial statement audit every year, conducted by an independent accounting firm. However, financial statement audits are not designed to catch fraud, collusion, and the like, nor are they designed to catch anything below what is considered “material.”

      It sounds like what you are looking for is a forensic audit.

  13. barbara says:

    it’s been driving me a little crazy – where i come from they’re called speed BUMPS. so i thought maybe i’m just old, but here’s what wiki says: A speed bump (in British English a speed hump, road hump, speed breaker, sleeping policeman, or slow child; in New Zealand English a judder bar) is a speed-reducing feature of road design to slow traffic or reduce through traffic. A speed bump is a bump in a roadway with heights typically ranging between 3 and 4 inches (7.6 and 10 cm).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_bump
    sorry to go off topic. it was a distraction and i had to exorcise it..

    • All I Saw says:

      There is a technical difference. Which is probably only obvious to the contractor (and the bid specifications).

      In Alaska the “speed bump” is only about 2 feet wide. A “speed hump” is much wider, more like 6- 8 feet. There are portable “speed bumps” (and some permanent) but a “speed hump” is built up with a gravel base and capped with asphalt.

      The former is more jarring than the latter. The latter is usually located at a crosswalk and the former can be located anywhere, usually near “children at play” signs.

    • stef g. says:

      Speed Humps have a longer profile and use more asphalt than speed bumps. We have both here, bumps are more common in parking lots, humps on public roads.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      Speed humps are easier on ambulances and snow plows, too.

      • CityKid says:

        Choke points work best – they force traffic to navigate an S curve. Then of course there is enforcement….last time I asked an APD plaincloths cop (who pulled me over on my bicycle to tell me I had almost been run over by a speeding truck – like I didn’t know that) why he didn’t have a radar gun he told me he didn’t want his taxes to go up. True story. Maybe it’s time to head south.

      • All I Saw says:

        Bingo.

  14. barbara says:

    it’s been driving me a little crazy – where i come from they’re called speed BUMPS. so i thought maybe i’m just old, but here’s what wiki says: A speed bump (in British English a speed hump, road hump, speed breaker, sleeping policeman, or slow child; in New Zealand English a judder bar) is a speed-reducing feature of road design to slow traffic or reduce through traffic. A speed bump is a bump in a roadway with heights typically ranging between 3 and 4 inches (7.6 and 10 cm).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_bump
    sorry to go off topic. it was a distraction and i had to exorcise it..

    • All I Saw says:

      There is a technical difference. Which is probably only obvious to the contractor (and the bid specifications).

      In Alaska the “speed bump” is only about 2 feet wide. A “speed hump” is much wider, more like 6- 8 feet. There are portable “speed bumps” (and some permanent) but a “speed hump” is built up with a gravel base and capped with asphalt.

      The former is more jarring than the latter. The latter is usually located at a crosswalk and the former can be located anywhere, usually near “children at play” signs.

    • stef g. says:

      Speed Humps have a longer profile and use more asphalt than speed bumps. We have both here, bumps are more common in parking lots, humps on public roads.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      Speed humps are easier on ambulances and snow plows, too.

      • CityKid says:

        Choke points work best – they force traffic to navigate an S curve. Then of course there is enforcement….last time I asked an APD plaincloths cop (who pulled me over on my bicycle to tell me I had almost been run over by a speeding truck – like I didn’t know that) why he didn’t have a radar gun he told me he didn’t want his taxes to go up. True story. Maybe it’s time to head south.

      • All I Saw says:

        Bingo.

  15. Lacy Lady says:

    i think these speed humps are hard on motor vehicles. even at a slow rate of speed.
    i am having a hard time typing–as i broke my wrist at the gas station two days ago.
    so it is peck and hunt for awhile

  16. Lacy Lady says:

    i think these speed humps are hard on motor vehicles. even at a slow rate of speed.
    i am having a hard time typing–as i broke my wrist at the gas station two days ago.
    so it is peck and hunt for awhile

  17. Enjay in E MT says:

    Isn’t it nice Sullivan got his $192K early in the year
    so he has time to cut city employees for the public.

    Isn’t there anyone that can investigate how & why
    he’s running the city this way?

  18. Enjay in E MT says:

    Isn’t it nice Sullivan got his $192K early in the year
    so he has time to cut city employees for the public.

    Isn’t there anyone that can investigate how & why
    he’s running the city this way?

  19. CO almost native says:

    Mayor Dan
    The Contractors’ Man
    Loves to delay and delay;
    The only time
    He’ll spend a dime?
    If it goes into his pay.

    aargh.

  20. CO almost native says:

    Mayor Dan
    The Contractors’ Man
    Loves to delay and delay;
    The only time
    He’ll spend a dime?
    If it goes into his pay.

    aargh.

  21. Jeanette says:

    I live on the Eastside and was rabid when I received an e-update from our Representative Pete Petersen informing me that our Mayor had axed the speed hump program. We have what amounts to a drag strip called east sixth avenue. This little strip runs from Muldoon to Cherry right up to Muldoon elementary. At night during the summer, you can nod off to the sound of Japanese fury careening up and down this drag strip. During critical hours before and after school, you can see people merrily racing down this section of road, slamming on their brakes for a nifty California stop before they race off down Cherry. You will also notice tiny little people bracing for impact as they attempt to negotiate their way from school to home (we apparently don’t have a budget for cross walk attendants either). The only speed hump that got installed on the east side between Debarr and the Centennial Park campground that I can see is the two that got laid out on the east section of Duben when the road was repaved two years ago. Those speed humps work pretty well unfortunately they are no where near the elementary school.

    I have said it before and I will say it again. Anchorage citizens who want to live here for the long term (immigrants, old timers, natives and anyone who sees the value of this city for more than just a place to hang out until retirement), need to stand up to those who seem to want nothing more than to keep Anchorage as a boom town. Their motto is don’t spend anything that could be pocketed and spent down in the lower forty eight after you retire. With every bond issue struck down, veto callously ascribed, they shout, “Screw the kids, the schools, the youngsters who would like to attend college in the same state in which they were reared, the elders who want to retire and die here, the fishermen and women who can’t afford to put the seafood they catch on their own dinner plates, the immigrant who wants to make a new start for themselves and their families, the pioneers who paved the way that made it easy to find and exploit the oil that fuels the greed that stifles the lifeblood of our city.

    Lets flood the meeting halls, the town halls, the community councils, the barber shops, the school auditoriums (you don’t even need a kid to participate) and any public arena that we helped to pay for, and start formulating a game plan for our town. We need to embrace the concept that:

    It is not enough to know what you don’t want. You must know what you do want in order to achieve that vision.

    This madness has gone on long enough. Don’t believe anyone who tells you the citizen is powerless, that are vote doesn’t count, that are voices are meaningless. The numbers at the poles in Alaska during the last Presidential election are proof that we have a voice, can flew are citizenry muscles, but we must take an interest. We must believe.

    I am making a renewed commitment to my community today. I am tired. I keep waiting for my health to improve, or for a thousand other “shoulda, woulda, couldas to happen, but I am going to do what I can, when I can. Speak, grunt, write with my toes, smoke signals. Gotta, GOTTA, GOTTA get this moja rising.

    I love this town. I’m mad as hell and I ain’t gonna take it anymore. The first time was for Obama, but this one is for my home. Maybe the shocks on Fox Island are a sign of the moving and shaking that is gonna happen at the polls.

    • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

      Jeanette – you would scare the cr@p out of me if you were after me! You are so intelligent, well spoken, & incredibly well informed – you are a formidable opponent (as are Linda, Shannyn, AKM) to these lowlife politicians. I love it!

  22. Jeanette says:

    I live on the Eastside and was rabid when I received an e-update from our Representative Pete Petersen informing me that our Mayor had axed the speed hump program. We have what amounts to a drag strip called east sixth avenue. This little strip runs from Muldoon to Cherry right up to Muldoon elementary. At night during the summer, you can nod off to the sound of Japanese fury careening up and down this drag strip. During critical hours before and after school, you can see people merrily racing down this section of road, slamming on their brakes for a nifty California stop before they race off down Cherry. You will also notice tiny little people bracing for impact as they attempt to negotiate their way from school to home (we apparently don’t have a budget for cross walk attendants either). The only speed hump that got installed on the east side between Debarr and the Centennial Park campground that I can see is the two that got laid out on the east section of Duben when the road was repaved two years ago. Those speed humps work pretty well unfortunately they are no where near the elementary school.

    I have said it before and I will say it again. Anchorage citizens who want to live here for the long term (immigrants, old timers, natives and anyone who sees the value of this city for more than just a place to hang out until retirement), need to stand up to those who seem to want nothing more than to keep Anchorage as a boom town. Their motto is don’t spend anything that could be pocketed and spent down in the lower forty eight after you retire. With every bond issue struck down, veto callously ascribed, they shout, “Screw the kids, the schools, the youngsters who would like to attend college in the same state in which they were reared, the elders who want to retire and die here, the fishermen and women who can’t afford to put the seafood they catch on their own dinner plates, the immigrant who wants to make a new start for themselves and their families, the pioneers who paved the way that made it easy to find and exploit the oil that fuels the greed that stifles the lifeblood of our city.

    Lets flood the meeting halls, the town halls, the community councils, the barber shops, the school auditoriums (you don’t even need a kid to participate) and any public arena that we helped to pay for, and start formulating a game plan for our town. We need to embrace the concept that:

    It is not enough to know what you don’t want. You must know what you do want in order to achieve that vision.

    This madness has gone on long enough. Don’t believe anyone who tells you the citizen is powerless, that are vote doesn’t count, that are voices are meaningless. The numbers at the poles in Alaska during the last Presidential election are proof that we have a voice, can flew are citizenry muscles, but we must take an interest. We must believe.

    I am making a renewed commitment to my community today. I am tired. I keep waiting for my health to improve, or for a thousand other “shoulda, woulda, couldas to happen, but I am going to do what I can, when I can. Speak, grunt, write with my toes, smoke signals. Gotta, GOTTA, GOTTA get this moja rising.

    I love this town. I’m mad as hell and I ain’t gonna take it anymore. The first time was for Obama, but this one is for my home. Maybe the shocks on Fox Island are a sign of the moving and shaking that is gonna happen at the polls.

    • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

      Jeanette – you would scare the cr@p out of me if you were after me! You are so intelligent, well spoken, & incredibly well informed – you are a formidable opponent (as are Linda, Shannyn, AKM) to these lowlife politicians. I love it!

  23. All I Saw says:

    Two words: “managed competition”

    San Diego’s city council is debating its merits.

    Bill Starr (Anchorage Assembly) attempted to introduce it in a meeting last month. Mayor Dan is a big fan.

    In a nutshell it makes public employees individually “compete” against private contractors for their jobs. Under the premise that when you strip away extravagant benefits like health care insurance or pensions, the taxpayers get a “better value”.

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/jun/18/managed-competition-city-san-diego/

    Gotta love those private contractors!

    • As a family, we have personal experience with this. It’s why my husband is no longer a Federal employee and is now a contractor. Believe me…we wish he was still a Fed. He’s making much less now than he would be…and the benefits are much worse.

      • All I Saw says:

        Obama is implementing an “insourcing” policy with regards to federal contracting. Specifically for “inherently governmental functions”.

        It’s basically a reversal of Bush’s “privatization” push. I believe that Sullivan et al are trying to “embed” their version of “privatization” on a local level ahead of the federal changes in policy.

        When governmental functions are “privatized” the money and use of it is hidden under “confidential” contracts with private companies. Some companies (who specifically target federal contracts) are much more secretive than others. Those type of companies are exempt from discrimination laws, Sarbanes-Oxley and do not answer to the SEC – so the spending is obscured more than usualy.

        Three guesses as to which kind of company I’m talking about =-) Hint: they are unique to Alaska.

    • John says:

      Sure, pay the workers less so they can’t shop in local businesses and instead have to get the best deal possible on line or at walmart. Local businesses then close down and we end up much worse off than if we had just paid a decent living wage to hardworking government employees in the first place.

      Good management is possible in government. It just takes a leader who believes that government is for the good of the people instead of something evil to try to kill.

    • Jeanette says:

      Bill Starr also thinks the term forward funding (meaning a long term budget) is extravagant. He, and those on the assembly who think as he does, believe that no project should be fully funded from cradle to grave. The federal government has already taken steps to beginning replacing contractors with non contract civilian employees. The back lash against fat cat contracting will felt very soon. Many in the lower forty eight have already grasped the fact that contractors don’t necessary cut any cost. The constant change up generated by this revolving door system has been exposed, and people have just grown plum tired of it. There will always be appropriate places for contractors, and a fellow above pointed out several good examples, but things will change.

  24. All I Saw says:

    Two words: “managed competition”

    San Diego’s city council is debating its merits.

    Bill Starr (Anchorage Assembly) attempted to introduce it in a meeting last month. Mayor Dan is a big fan.

    In a nutshell it makes public employees individually “compete” against private contractors for their jobs. Under the premise that when you strip away extravagant benefits like health care insurance or pensions, the taxpayers get a “better value”.

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/jun/18/managed-competition-city-san-diego/

    Gotta love those private contractors!

    • As a family, we have personal experience with this. It’s why my husband is no longer a Federal employee and is now a contractor. Believe me…we wish he was still a Fed. He’s making much less now than he would be…and the benefits are much worse.

      • All I Saw says:

        Obama is implementing an “insourcing” policy with regards to federal contracting. Specifically for “inherently governmental functions”.

        It’s basically a reversal of Bush’s “privatization” push. I believe that Sullivan et al are trying to “embed” their version of “privatization” on a local level ahead of the federal changes in policy.

        When governmental functions are “privatized” the money and use of it is hidden under “confidential” contracts with private companies. Some companies (who specifically target federal contracts) are much more secretive than others. Those type of companies are exempt from discrimination laws, Sarbanes-Oxley and do not answer to the SEC – so the spending is obscured more than usualy.

        Three guesses as to which kind of company I’m talking about =-) Hint: they are unique to Alaska.

    • John says:

      Sure, pay the workers less so they can’t shop in local businesses and instead have to get the best deal possible on line or at walmart. Local businesses then close down and we end up much worse off than if we had just paid a decent living wage to hardworking government employees in the first place.

      Good management is possible in government. It just takes a leader who believes that government is for the good of the people instead of something evil to try to kill.

    • Jeanette says:

      Bill Starr also thinks the term forward funding (meaning a long term budget) is extravagant. He, and those on the assembly who think as he does, believe that no project should be fully funded from cradle to grave. The federal government has already taken steps to beginning replacing contractors with non contract civilian employees. The back lash against fat cat contracting will felt very soon. Many in the lower forty eight have already grasped the fact that contractors don’t necessary cut any cost. The constant change up generated by this revolving door system has been exposed, and people have just grown plum tired of it. There will always be appropriate places for contractors, and a fellow above pointed out several good examples, but things will change.

  25. Baker's Dozen says:

    I lived in a very small town with a state highway right through the middle. Much of the prosperity of that town relied on tourism–tourists making their way to a national park, and tourists coming for the historical points of interest in the town. The state highway system decided it was in their best interest to have the highway blow right through town, no stop signs or any way to get people to slow down from the 50 mph speeds on either side of town. The merchants, desiring that people slow down not only to see what was in town, but to protect pedestrians and so on, objected the to erasing of all–every single one–of the crosswalks on the highway in town. State highways erased them. The merchants went out in the middle of the night and reinstalled them with cans of white paint. A few days later, they were eliminated again; they were back by morning. The local state police were all for protecting their families and reducing traffic accidents, so were never on the scene to see these acts of vandalism–there was always a call to take them away from town.
    The merchants and families were willing to take the risk of jail time in order to protest the stupidity of the state highway doofuses. After months of trying to erase the crosswaks, they gave up and repainted them in the proper fashion themselves.
    Keep putting in your stop gap measures. If the neighborhood sticks together, they’ll outlive the “powers that be.”

  26. Baker's Dozen says:

    I lived in a very small town with a state highway right through the middle. Much of the prosperity of that town relied on tourism–tourists making their way to a national park, and tourists coming for the historical points of interest in the town. The state highway system decided it was in their best interest to have the highway blow right through town, no stop signs or any way to get people to slow down from the 50 mph speeds on either side of town. The merchants, desiring that people slow down not only to see what was in town, but to protect pedestrians and so on, objected the to erasing of all–every single one–of the crosswalks on the highway in town. State highways erased them. The merchants went out in the middle of the night and reinstalled them with cans of white paint. A few days later, they were eliminated again; they were back by morning. The local state police were all for protecting their families and reducing traffic accidents, so were never on the scene to see these acts of vandalism–there was always a call to take them away from town.
    The merchants and families were willing to take the risk of jail time in order to protest the stupidity of the state highway doofuses. After months of trying to erase the crosswaks, they gave up and repainted them in the proper fashion themselves.
    Keep putting in your stop gap measures. If the neighborhood sticks together, they’ll outlive the “powers that be.”

  27. The process sounds like what our neighborhood went through to get our speed humps and traffic circle. It took my neighbor going door to door to get the signatures. It wasn’t that people didn’t want it, they just didn’t care enough to send stuff back that was mailed to them.

    I do think they help, except for the teens and one old guy on a motorcycle who see the speed humps and the traffic circle as a challenge. But mostly it’s better. There was a child who was hit on our street about 20 years ago by a driver who was not speeding. He ended up in a body cast for the summer. We just got our speed humps and traffic circle about 3 years ago.

    I can’t believe that they are going back to the neighbors to see if that’s what they really want. Sounds to me like ole Dan has something he wants to spend the money on instead but he’ll have to prove that the speed hump in that neighborhood isn’t necessary or wanted.

  28. The process sounds like what our neighborhood went through to get our speed humps and traffic circle. It took my neighbor going door to door to get the signatures. It wasn’t that people didn’t want it, they just didn’t care enough to send stuff back that was mailed to them.

    I do think they help, except for the teens and one old guy on a motorcycle who see the speed humps and the traffic circle as a challenge. But mostly it’s better. There was a child who was hit on our street about 20 years ago by a driver who was not speeding. He ended up in a body cast for the summer. We just got our speed humps and traffic circle about 3 years ago.

    I can’t believe that they are going back to the neighbors to see if that’s what they really want. Sounds to me like ole Dan has something he wants to spend the money on instead but he’ll have to prove that the speed hump in that neighborhood isn’t necessary or wanted.

  29. GhostbusterTX says:

    I love that the neighborhoods are fighting back on this! Best of luck to them…

    My neighborhood, in a notoriously progressive city with a notoriously progressive city council, still had to fight for years to get any movement on basic traffic calming / pedestrian safety issues. And even then some of the projects were a mixed bag – a badly needed sidewalk was installed, but was set right up against the curb, visually widening the street and yes the traffic speeds did increase as a result. 🙁 We measured.

    But the good news is that there’s lots that can be done for *free* or for little or no cost – and even without the blessing or cooperation of the city.

    Like that do-it-yourself island pictured above.

    Anything that increases “intrigue” or unpredictability will catch drivers’ attention and slow them down. (That’s why a wreck on one side of the highway will cause a traffic jam on the other unobstructed side, as drivers slow down to see what’s happening and go on alert for emergency vehicles.) Waving and smiling at passing motorists, placing gardens, bird feeders, chairs or toys near the edge of the road, etc. will do the trick. In my neighborhood we have some free-range guineas that wander around. We also have some undergrads who like to drink beer and toss the football out in the street – it does discourage speeders, especially since they usually smile and wave to anyone passing by. A couple of neighbors painted their garbage carts with flowers, and often leave them out on non-collection days…

    One of my favorite ideas is painting intersections. Check out the gallery on this website:
    http://www.paintthepavement.org/frontpage

    Here’s another website that has lots of ideas, and a discussion of the theory behind them too. One of my favorites is simply tying a balloon to a rock and setting it in the middle of the street. Some of the ideas are kind of silly, but they should get you thinking about what would work on your own street. We’ve implemented some of the ideas in various parts of our neighborhood; the street reclaiming events were a regular “protest” event for awhile in one area where we needed city cooperation to address a serious and ongoing hazardous situation.
    http://www.lesstraffic.com/Programs/SR/SR.htm

    Good luck to the Anchorage neighborhoods!

  30. GhostbusterTX says:

    I love that the neighborhoods are fighting back on this! Best of luck to them…

    My neighborhood, in a notoriously progressive city with a notoriously progressive city council, still had to fight for years to get any movement on basic traffic calming / pedestrian safety issues. And even then some of the projects were a mixed bag – a badly needed sidewalk was installed, but was set right up against the curb, visually widening the street and yes the traffic speeds did increase as a result. 🙁 We measured.

    But the good news is that there’s lots that can be done for *free* or for little or no cost – and even without the blessing or cooperation of the city.

    Like that do-it-yourself island pictured above.

    Anything that increases “intrigue” or unpredictability will catch drivers’ attention and slow them down. (That’s why a wreck on one side of the highway will cause a traffic jam on the other unobstructed side, as drivers slow down to see what’s happening and go on alert for emergency vehicles.) Waving and smiling at passing motorists, placing gardens, bird feeders, chairs or toys near the edge of the road, etc. will do the trick. In my neighborhood we have some free-range guineas that wander around. We also have some undergrads who like to drink beer and toss the football out in the street – it does discourage speeders, especially since they usually smile and wave to anyone passing by. A couple of neighbors painted their garbage carts with flowers, and often leave them out on non-collection days…

    One of my favorite ideas is painting intersections. Check out the gallery on this website:
    http://www.paintthepavement.org/frontpage

    Here’s another website that has lots of ideas, and a discussion of the theory behind them too. One of my favorites is simply tying a balloon to a rock and setting it in the middle of the street. Some of the ideas are kind of silly, but they should get you thinking about what would work on your own street. We’ve implemented some of the ideas in various parts of our neighborhood; the street reclaiming events were a regular “protest” event for awhile in one area where we needed city cooperation to address a serious and ongoing hazardous situation.
    http://www.lesstraffic.com/Programs/SR/SR.htm

    Good luck to the Anchorage neighborhoods!

  31. hedgewytch says:

    I agree with you whole heartedly All I Saw,

    I definitely think there is something very fishy going on. Sullivan seems to be playing a shell game -What this hand carefully, while the other is under the table and in someone’s pocket. I use as proof – The park parcel he is refusing to allow to saved, instead he’s got high end developers eyeing that land – to the detriment of the people and the beluga’s who need that critical habitat off the wetlands there. As mentioned, the hugely overbudget, and strangely under-reported project at the port. Party planners, speed bumps, consultations and reviews. The Sullivan Trust “insurance” payout.

    We need a really good hound dog of an investigative journalist to uncover the crap Sullivan is hiding from the people of this State.

  32. hedgewytch says:

    I agree with you whole heartedly All I Saw,

    I definitely think there is something very fishy going on. Sullivan seems to be playing a shell game -What this hand carefully, while the other is under the table and in someone’s pocket. I use as proof – The park parcel he is refusing to allow to saved, instead he’s got high end developers eyeing that land – to the detriment of the people and the beluga’s who need that critical habitat off the wetlands there. As mentioned, the hugely overbudget, and strangely under-reported project at the port. Party planners, speed bumps, consultations and reviews. The Sullivan Trust “insurance” payout.

    We need a really good hound dog of an investigative journalist to uncover the crap Sullivan is hiding from the people of this State.

  33. Ptarmigan says:

    Traffic engineering, including traffic calming, is a technical field requiring expertise and experience which budget cuts may have culled out of municipal staff. The city may indeed have to hire a consultant to design the traffic calming measures, as there are technical standards to be followed–it’s not a question of throwing down a speed hump here and there. Back up and take a look at the larger picture of municipal management.

    • hedgewytch says:

      So explain then why he got rid of the very person on the city’s payroll who had that expertise? ‘Cause somehow its cheaper and better to hire a consultant to do the job he’d been doing for years? Sorry, not buying that.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      You are right that it is a field requiring specialized technical expertise, however, if a city the size of Anchorage doesn’t have someone in the public works department with that expertise, that would seem imprudent. Even Wasilla has an engineer on staff who is knowledgeable about such matters, and does put in speed humps when there is enough neighborhood support behind them.

  34. Ptarmigan says:

    Traffic engineering, including traffic calming, is a technical field requiring expertise and experience which budget cuts may have culled out of municipal staff. The city may indeed have to hire a consultant to design the traffic calming measures, as there are technical standards to be followed–it’s not a question of throwing down a speed hump here and there. Back up and take a look at the larger picture of municipal management.

    • hedgewytch says:

      So explain then why he got rid of the very person on the city’s payroll who had that expertise? ‘Cause somehow its cheaper and better to hire a consultant to do the job he’d been doing for years? Sorry, not buying that.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      You are right that it is a field requiring specialized technical expertise, however, if a city the size of Anchorage doesn’t have someone in the public works department with that expertise, that would seem imprudent. Even Wasilla has an engineer on staff who is knowledgeable about such matters, and does put in speed humps when there is enough neighborhood support behind them.

  35. All I Saw says:

    Greg Jones is the godfather of all grants and all construction spending in Anchorage. This is a significant change from how the previous administration had separated those powers.

    It’s no coincidence that with every scandal (except perhaps the party planner) Jones is the pivot point.

    Me thinks Dan Sullivan isn’t running the city but that Greg Jones is.

    I also think they LOVE these kinds of petty manufactured crises, because it is very likely something much bigger and more sinister is going on.

    For one, the massive problems related to the Port Expansion project which according to the ADN is $300 MILLION over budget.

    Where is all the money going? With all this “confusion” about budget shortfalls then mysterious surpluses, how exactly does the city “earn” a higher bond rating? How can any of their financial statements be trusted?

    Not to mention the strange layoffs and resignations at the highest levels of the Anchorage Fire Department.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      Thanks for the information regarding Mr. Jones.

      You may be right that these manufactured crises are a smoke screen for something larger. I never could figure out how there could be a shortage used to vilify Begich, followed almost immediately by a not-very-well-explained surplus they seem to be using to try to make Sullivan look good. They never have proven any wrong doing by Begich, nor has Sullivan been shown to be above reproach.

      Re: AFD, I don’t know the others, but I know and have great respect for Bridget Bushue. If she has filed a grievance, I’d say there’s something very wrong there.

    • Jeanette says:

      Methinks you speak very well on this subject. Did you catch the dedication of the special ferry that was launched back in spring. I know boats and that was one weird ferry and it is under the control of the military.

  36. All I Saw says:

    Greg Jones is the godfather of all grants and all construction spending in Anchorage. This is a significant change from how the previous administration had separated those powers.

    It’s no coincidence that with every scandal (except perhaps the party planner) Jones is the pivot point.

    Me thinks Dan Sullivan isn’t running the city but that Greg Jones is.

    I also think they LOVE these kinds of petty manufactured crises, because it is very likely something much bigger and more sinister is going on.

    For one, the massive problems related to the Port Expansion project which according to the ADN is $300 MILLION over budget.

    Where is all the money going? With all this “confusion” about budget shortfalls then mysterious surpluses, how exactly does the city “earn” a higher bond rating? How can any of their financial statements be trusted?

    Not to mention the strange layoffs and resignations at the highest levels of the Anchorage Fire Department.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      Thanks for the information regarding Mr. Jones.

      You may be right that these manufactured crises are a smoke screen for something larger. I never could figure out how there could be a shortage used to vilify Begich, followed almost immediately by a not-very-well-explained surplus they seem to be using to try to make Sullivan look good. They never have proven any wrong doing by Begich, nor has Sullivan been shown to be above reproach.

      Re: AFD, I don’t know the others, but I know and have great respect for Bridget Bushue. If she has filed a grievance, I’d say there’s something very wrong there.

    • Jeanette says:

      Methinks you speak very well on this subject. Did you catch the dedication of the special ferry that was launched back in spring. I know boats and that was one weird ferry and it is under the control of the military.

  37. benlomond2 says:

    ,,, If I lived in one of those neighborhoods that was slotted for speed humps, and had THIS to deal with, I’d be mounting a recall of Dan with the neighbors !!

  38. benlomond2 says:

    ,,, If I lived in one of those neighborhoods that was slotted for speed humps, and had THIS to deal with, I’d be mounting a recall of Dan with the neighbors !!

  39. thatcrowwoman says:

    Q: How much longer is Sullivan’s term as Mayor?

    A: Too feckin’ long!

    “I guess reading comprehension is not a requirement for those in the Sullivan Administration. ”
    and that’s a crying shame…
    What a waste of time and $ and safety when the answers are right there under his nose. Daddy says some folks have more money than cents, er, sense. I say it just ain’t right. Many thanks for keeping his antics in the light of day for public scrutiny.

  40. thatcrowwoman says:

    Q: How much longer is Sullivan’s term as Mayor?

    A: Too feckin’ long!

    “I guess reading comprehension is not a requirement for those in the Sullivan Administration. ”
    and that’s a crying shame…
    What a waste of time and $ and safety when the answers are right there under his nose. Daddy says some folks have more money than cents, er, sense. I say it just ain’t right. Many thanks for keeping his antics in the light of day for public scrutiny.

  41. ks sunflower says:

    I hope that the good people of Anchorage who voted for Mayor Sullivan are finally sufficiently embarrassed to vote him out of office when his term is up. Every mudflatter across the nation and the world who reads of his antics and his callousness regard him as a buffoon, morally corrupt and intellectually challenged. He is, to us, a crook and a clown.

    If he should be re-elected after his tenure of corruption and destruction of civic health, few outsiders will regard Anchorage worth visiting. Considering the boycott of Alaskan tourism already in motion because of the horrific wildlife policies implemented under Palin and continued under Parnell, businesses and their employees should be concerned, very concerned that Mayor Sullivan is creating an image of Anchorage that repels tourists because of its disregard for the people who live there.

  42. ks sunflower says:

    I hope that the good people of Anchorage who voted for Mayor Sullivan are finally sufficiently embarrassed to vote him out of office when his term is up. Every mudflatter across the nation and the world who reads of his antics and his callousness regard him as a buffoon, morally corrupt and intellectually challenged. He is, to us, a crook and a clown.

    If he should be re-elected after his tenure of corruption and destruction of civic health, few outsiders will regard Anchorage worth visiting. Considering the boycott of Alaskan tourism already in motion because of the horrific wildlife policies implemented under Palin and continued under Parnell, businesses and their employees should be concerned, very concerned that Mayor Sullivan is creating an image of Anchorage that repels tourists because of its disregard for the people who live there.

  43. Wallflower says:

    I have some experience with grants and I have never seen one where the funds could be expended on “other projects” if you hadn’t used it for what you agreed to. And 20% for admin is a gravy-train!

    I think Mayor Dan is trying to create the impression of a “surplus” in the budget so that he somehow looks fiscally prudent.

    And, finally, if they want to save salary costs, they could hire and train a temp to temporarily fill the Traffic Calming Program spot and prioritize the existing requests, and then the grant money could be used to implement those changes. (I can’t help wondering if the person who had that job campaigned against Mayor Dan.)

    It’s very clear that whatever else is up with him, Mayor Dan has no idea how to manage the needs of a municipality.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      He also has every appearance of playing up the anything govt can do private industry can do better /cheaper idea with the endless consultant gobbeldygook thing.
      Waving his lil magic wand of no in the face of all the work community councils, the city, and the area Legs have already done to make this happen and now coming up with a time wasting, money wasting method to get ready all over again – jeez.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      While Linda and Wallflower are correct that grant money can only be spent on things within the scope of the project as stated in the granting documents, I have known of organizations that were successful in going back to the granting agency and having them authorize the expansion or alteration of the scope, particularly when there were funds left over, or when the program turned out not to be working as expected.

      In this case, however, it does not appear that there was any need to do so, since what is needed and has been requested was fully within the original scope. Also, while many grants allow little to nothing for administrative costs, that doesn’t sound like it was the case here, so letting go the person who was administering this program just to turn around and hire an outside consultant to start over from scratch sounds like a good way to waste taxpayer money, unless “That hasn’t been coordinated well in the past..” is another way of saying the staff person they let go wasn’t competent.

      I agree with the philosophy that if private business can do something as well or better and for less money than the government can do it in house, that’s the way to go, but good consultants have a tendency to be very expensive, so they aren’t usually cost effective unless there is a limited need for specialized expertise. It will be interesting to see who gets hired, and what connections they have in the community. I’ll be staying tuned for updates.

      • CorningNY says:

        I can’t see why an outside consultant would be needed at all. There’s already a process in place to determine where and how the speed humps get installed, as well as some studies already done at places needing “traffic calming.” This is not rocket science. Mayor Sullivan is just an a**hat.

      • UgaVic says:

        My general thoughts on consultants in these areas, as is also the case in many parts of Western AK, it is just another “endless consultant gobbeldygook thing”.

        Thanks for the write up Linda!!

      • John says:

        If contracting with private business will save money, then it is worth considering. My concern is that Mayor Dan doesn’t believe it is ever possible for government to be cheaper and more efficient than the private sector. He is wrong on that. But when the facts get in the way of his political philosophy, then the facts must be thrown under the bus.

      • strangelet says:

        First, I must make the obligatory (if sometimes unfair) reference “A consultant is someone you pay to borrow your watch so he can tell you what time it is”.

        Second, I have no idea how big Anchorage’s in-house road-maintenance organization is, but all municipalities I’ve ever known contract out most major road projects to private firms. It almost never makes sense to maintain an in-house organization that can perform major works — what do you do with them the rest of the time? So I’d assume that most of the actual “humping” would be done by private contractors.

        Third, I would therefore expect that the services provided by the consultant (and probably that provided by the former traffic-calming employee) would be administrative in nature: handling the rather involved request and approval process, negotiating and awarding the contracts, follow-up to make sure the work is done in a satisfactory and timely manner, gathering traffic statistics to evaluate the success and suitability of traffic-calming projects, preparing grant applications, and the like. In a moderate-sized city like Anchorage, I would think this would be roughly one full-time job.

        A lot of the success of an ongoing program like traffic-calming comes from continuity of management. It’s not the kind of thing that is particularly suitable for a one-time consultant, especially in this case where it appears that there is already an approved backlog of projects. Sounds more like re-inventing the hump to me.

    • Turk401 says:

      So…..If you apply for a grant, and specify what the funds will be used for, and then spend it on something other than what was specified, isn’t that sorta like fraud?

      • ValleyIndependent says:

        It is in my book, and the granting agency generally wants its money back.

      • All I Saw says:

        Yes.

        But in Alaska, there is absolutely no investigative or regulatory authority to do something about it.

        They tattle on the recipient to the legislature.

        That’s about it.

    • fishingmamma says:

      I work for a non-profit and we have a legislative grant this year. The admin cost allowance is 5%. But there is no language prohibiting a consultant. That contract would be a direct grant cost and not administrative. My guess is that the consultant is looking for ways to spend the grant funds without doing the work described in the grant.

      I sent an e-mail to the mayor’s office, and I recommend that you all contact him as well, to tell him this is unacceptable.

      I heard the announcement on the radio yesterday that the city will be “looking at installing speed humps in several neighborhoods”. Knowng the backstory and hearing the press release. I thought my head would explode right there on Minnesota drive. Most people don’t know and don’t care what’s really going on.

  44. Wallflower says:

    I have some experience with grants and I have never seen one where the funds could be expended on “other projects” if you hadn’t used it for what you agreed to. And 20% for admin is a gravy-train!

    I think Mayor Dan is trying to create the impression of a “surplus” in the budget so that he somehow looks fiscally prudent.

    And, finally, if they want to save salary costs, they could hire and train a temp to temporarily fill the Traffic Calming Program spot and prioritize the existing requests, and then the grant money could be used to implement those changes. (I can’t help wondering if the person who had that job campaigned against Mayor Dan.)

    It’s very clear that whatever else is up with him, Mayor Dan has no idea how to manage the needs of a municipality.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      He also has every appearance of playing up the anything govt can do private industry can do better /cheaper idea with the endless consultant gobbeldygook thing.
      Waving his lil magic wand of no in the face of all the work community councils, the city, and the area Legs have already done to make this happen and now coming up with a time wasting, money wasting method to get ready all over again – jeez.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      While Linda and Wallflower are correct that grant money can only be spent on things within the scope of the project as stated in the granting documents, I have known of organizations that were successful in going back to the granting agency and having them authorize the expansion or alteration of the scope, particularly when there were funds left over, or when the program turned out not to be working as expected.

      In this case, however, it does not appear that there was any need to do so, since what is needed and has been requested was fully within the original scope. Also, while many grants allow little to nothing for administrative costs, that doesn’t sound like it was the case here, so letting go the person who was administering this program just to turn around and hire an outside consultant to start over from scratch sounds like a good way to waste taxpayer money, unless “That hasn’t been coordinated well in the past..” is another way of saying the staff person they let go wasn’t competent.

      I agree with the philosophy that if private business can do something as well or better and for less money than the government can do it in house, that’s the way to go, but good consultants have a tendency to be very expensive, so they aren’t usually cost effective unless there is a limited need for specialized expertise. It will be interesting to see who gets hired, and what connections they have in the community. I’ll be staying tuned for updates.

      • CorningNY says:

        I can’t see why an outside consultant would be needed at all. There’s already a process in place to determine where and how the speed humps get installed, as well as some studies already done at places needing “traffic calming.” This is not rocket science. Mayor Sullivan is just an a**hat.

      • UgaVic says:

        My general thoughts on consultants in these areas, as is also the case in many parts of Western AK, it is just another “endless consultant gobbeldygook thing”.

        Thanks for the write up Linda!!

      • John says:

        If contracting with private business will save money, then it is worth considering. My concern is that Mayor Dan doesn’t believe it is ever possible for government to be cheaper and more efficient than the private sector. He is wrong on that. But when the facts get in the way of his political philosophy, then the facts must be thrown under the bus.

      • strangelet says:

        First, I must make the obligatory (if sometimes unfair) reference “A consultant is someone you pay to borrow your watch so he can tell you what time it is”.

        Second, I have no idea how big Anchorage’s in-house road-maintenance organization is, but all municipalities I’ve ever known contract out most major road projects to private firms. It almost never makes sense to maintain an in-house organization that can perform major works — what do you do with them the rest of the time? So I’d assume that most of the actual “humping” would be done by private contractors.

        Third, I would therefore expect that the services provided by the consultant (and probably that provided by the former traffic-calming employee) would be administrative in nature: handling the rather involved request and approval process, negotiating and awarding the contracts, follow-up to make sure the work is done in a satisfactory and timely manner, gathering traffic statistics to evaluate the success and suitability of traffic-calming projects, preparing grant applications, and the like. In a moderate-sized city like Anchorage, I would think this would be roughly one full-time job.

        A lot of the success of an ongoing program like traffic-calming comes from continuity of management. It’s not the kind of thing that is particularly suitable for a one-time consultant, especially in this case where it appears that there is already an approved backlog of projects. Sounds more like re-inventing the hump to me.

    • Turk401 says:

      So…..If you apply for a grant, and specify what the funds will be used for, and then spend it on something other than what was specified, isn’t that sorta like fraud?

      • ValleyIndependent says:

        It is in my book, and the granting agency generally wants its money back.

      • All I Saw says:

        Yes.

        But in Alaska, there is absolutely no investigative or regulatory authority to do something about it.

        They tattle on the recipient to the legislature.

        That’s about it.

    • fishingmamma says:

      I work for a non-profit and we have a legislative grant this year. The admin cost allowance is 5%. But there is no language prohibiting a consultant. That contract would be a direct grant cost and not administrative. My guess is that the consultant is looking for ways to spend the grant funds without doing the work described in the grant.

      I sent an e-mail to the mayor’s office, and I recommend that you all contact him as well, to tell him this is unacceptable.

      I heard the announcement on the radio yesterday that the city will be “looking at installing speed humps in several neighborhoods”. Knowng the backstory and hearing the press release. I thought my head would explode right there on Minnesota drive. Most people don’t know and don’t care what’s really going on.

  45. B in Co says:

    I think that party planner would be the perfect candidate for “hump consultant!” Experience is crucial for this type of position.

  46. B in Co says:

    I think that party planner would be the perfect candidate for “hump consultant!” Experience is crucial for this type of position.

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