Stressed and out: City spokesman resigns after bid-rigging investigation

Rob Schilling has long railed against an allegedly fortress-like atmosphere in City Hall, one that allegedly kept him in the dark even while an elected member of City Council. But, on March 21, less than two hours after a Schilling exposé revealed an improper contract award, a well-known head rolled. Citing "stress," city spokesperson Ric Barrick said he had resigned.

"I'm frankly troubled," says Schilling, "Who knows what else is going on?"

What may be known as Barrickgate was uncovered by Schilling, a self-styled watchdog and WINA radio talk show host, whose investigation began in 2010 with a Freedom of Information Act request for a week of Barrick's emails.

"I realized it was serious, and I didn't want to take it lightly," says Schilling. "That's why I took over a year to investigate it. I understood it could be detrimental to Ric Barrick."

Indeed, it turned into a criminal investigation. But the investigator, Orange-based special prosecutor Diana Wheeler, found no criminal intent– just an effort to work with a vendor who, Barrick asserted to her, provided the best graphics services for the city's TV10 cable access channel.

"There were questionable actions, some less than satisfactory answers to certain questions asked, and some apparent violations of rules and practices," the Orange commonwealth's attorney wrote in a March 16 investigation letter to Judge Edward Hogshire.

"That issue has been resolved in my favor if you did not know, and I would rather leave it at that," Barrick wrote in an email to a reporter a few hours before his resignation became public.

On March 22, he says that he had submitted resignation three weeks ago, before the investigation was complete. "Although the issue Mr. Schilling brought to our attention did lead to additional discussions about my duties here at City Hall, the investigation is not the reason that I resigned as assumed by Mr. Schilling," says Barrick in another email.

One of the reasons Wheeler cites for not prosecuting is that there was no personal benefit to Barrick, no pre-existing relationship with the favored vendor, and that Barrick's actions, "though in error and improper, were simply an effort to obtain the best product or service for the city at the best price."

Continues Wheeler: "It is my belief that most if not all of his errors were the result of ignorance and not any bad, malicious, or devious intent, or collusion."

So what's wrong with trying to get the lowest price for taxpayers?

"The whole purpose of public procurement is transparency," says Rick Grimm, CEO of a Herndon-based association called the Institute for Public Procurement, "to provide the best value for the public for their tax dollar."

Circumventing the competitive bidding process with a non-public bid raises red flags for Grimm and, he says, is "totally inappropriate."

In this case, the lower bid may have ended up costing more because it provided the services for a shorter term, and Barrick indicated that he intended to renew the contract to the favored vendor.

There's been no shortage of personal friction between Schilling and Barrick. On his show, Schilling has criticized Barrick's $95,000 salary, accused him of obfuscation, and of being "incompetent."

When Barrick removed Schilling from his distribution list of city press releases, the radio host submitted his request for a week of Barrick's emails, and noticed that Barrick appeared to be negotiating a contract.

Barrick had launched an RFQ– request for quotation– to five vendors November 15, 2010, with a due date one week later. The RFQ noted that the job would go to the lowest bidder, according to Schilling's report.

Barrick's preferred vendor, Weather Metrics, came in with a bid of $26,000, while Weather Central was the low bidder at $18,490– each for 36 months of service. After Barrick told Weather Metrics what the low bid was, it modified its proposal to a lower amount– and just 18 months of service.

"The bid ultimately accepted was represented by Mr. Barrick as having been the lowest responsive bid from a responsible bidder, which it appears not to have been," writes the special prosecutor.

"From the moment we became aware of the concerns raised in this situation, we cooperated fully with the investigation," City Manager Maurice Jones says in an email. "I believe Ric was attempting to get the best product for the City."

Nonetheless, Jones appears to have accepted the resignation as city spokesperson while allowing Barrick to retain a temporary, $27.64-an-hour post with the city maintaining web and social media presence, as well promoting the city's 250th anniversary.

"The temporary position is new and will be paid for out of salary savings within the City Manager's Office budget," says Jones. 

"I do realize, in hindsight, that I did not follow the internal procedures of an RFQ properly, but it was my very first experience with procurement and, in the future, I will certainly be better at dotting the i's," says Barrick.

Mayor Satyendra Huja, approached the day after the resignation at a public event, says such post-bid maneuvering constitutes a violation.

"If they don't follow procedure, it's not acceptable," says Huja, asserting that Barrick's resignation was the best outcome, and the investigation of procurement practices should not reflect badly on the city. "It reflects badly on the person, not the city."

Barrick, the son of a former city prosecutor, served as director of communications for Charlottesville since 2006. Before that, he was news director/meteorologist for the Newsplex television stations.

Schilling says he wasn't surprised by Barrick's resignation. "It was confirmation that this was detrimental information, and he probably took appropriate action."

The radio host is perplexed by one thing. "It defies logic that if the guy did something that makes him resign," says Schilling, "the city would keep him on."

Updated 6:20pm with Barrick's comments.

Updated March 26 with details about Barrick's new position.

Attached Documents: 

103 comments

Tip of the iceberg.

According to what I read he deleted emails - isn't that illegal ?
And if the City Manager condoned this practice and did not fire him how can he be trusted ?

Perhaps the biggest crime is evidenced by the appalling communication skills of our former city spokesmodel. Barrick's emails on the Schilling site are painful to read, and he was obviously vastly overpaid.

Is anyone else here happy at the prospect of no longer receiving city emails from "Clic" Barrick asking us to click repeatedly through sundry links to get to the often disappointing nugget of info contained therein?

Good one for Rob! One down, many more to go!

Time wounds all heals!

Why does the city have tv channel or need to provide weather in the first place? You can buy a twenty dollar NOAA receiver and get it that way or just look outside. Sounds like a big waste of money from the get go on the city part. Why they even need a "spokesman" is beyond me.

Barrick, the son of a late city prosecutor?? Am I reading this as deceased?

I don't think his dad passed away. ?????

Waldo -- I'd love to know what you think of deleting emails of government business Isn't that illegal ?

I'm with Sabbath Lily about Barrick's appalling communication skills. His long list of written communication gaffes is unacceptable for a man in his position, being paid the level of salary he was (still is?) being paid. I can only assume he was in his position for as long as he was because of nepotism, and the fact that we're talking a government level job here. Government employees tend to run in the way of "not the brightest bulbs in the box." I've seen liberalace posting around on various comments sections talking about this and he is more right then he could ever know. It's a huge pool of people who are barely average IQ, protected in their jobs because everybody knows it's all you can do to get fired at a government job. You can screw up ten ways to Sunday on a regular basis and they will look the other way because they themselves are too stupid to notice any problems. Mediocrity rules in government jobs. Anybody who's ever come in to City Hall from the private sector is usually shocked at what they find going on in terms of stupidity and screw ups and mediocrity and protected higher ups. There are some really good people in City Hall, but in general so much of what goes on is a joke.

All roads lead. back to the City Manager who doesn't even live in Chaflottesville. Maybe someone shoul Foia his emails to Mr Barrick and Barrick's to him to get the rest of the story .

I think a lot of roads also lead back to several City Councilors who conduct official business through private email accounts that are outside of the reach of investigations like the one that brought Barrick's apparent shenanigans to light. I think the practice raises serious questions and ought to be illegal.

Why would Dave Norris for example need to use cvilledave@gmail.com or Kristin Szakos k.szakos@embarqmail.com instead of email addresses provided by the city unless it's to control what can be accessed through legitimate FOIA requests? David Brown did the same as does Huja. Of the last bunch, only Holly Edwards seems to have regularly used a city provided email address. I don't know about the rest of the current members of council.

Mr Barrick is just one guy that got caught. Like another poster said, its just the tip of the iceberg. Kickbacks, favoritism and downright corruption are a way of life, I got mine is the mantra. Look around Cville and take a look at the manhole covers, they were manufactured in India. Now how do you suppose they got shipped all the way around the world and we taxpayers didn't get jilted and someone didn't get a piece of that pie? Know anybody from India?

Dick Barrick, former prosecutor, is very much alive and living in Charlottesville.

Thanks, Lloyd. That's a relief! The last time I spoke with Mr. Barrick was in a cemetery, but he was very much alive and in appeared to be in good health.

My bad editing on papa Barrick-- story fixed now.--hawes spencer

Paying Ric Barrick $95,000 per year seems to be the real crime here.

Isn't Rob Schilling a fundamentalist Christian whose main focus is to get abortion outlawed? Surely he cannot afford to live here if he is only on a radio show for a couple of hours a day on WINA...what pays his bills?

They should cut the pay of the position down before they hire the next person.

I fully realize that proper procedure wasn't followed, but has anyone actually looked at the two products being bid to see if the one Mr. Barrick was pulling for was the actual superior product? Sometimes, when purchasing you get what you pay for. The lowest quote isn't always the best buy. I think in this case Mr. Barrick was acting in the best interests in the City but did not navigate the proper channels to accomplish this goal. I think this particular instance is more about Mr. Schilling building a name/audience for himself.

People can't judge government employees solely by their experience at DMV. There are a lot of people who work for the government who are decent, intelligent people and a lot of people in private industry who are complete idiots. Case in point is Mr. Schilling. So he got mad at Barrick and found some improper dealings. The investigation found that Barrick's behavior did not warrant prosecution, and Barrick is unemployed as a result. I hope Schilling is happy now. I'm sure if you FOIA'd all govt employees' emails you'd find something minor to complain about every one of them. Schilling will probably hold himself out as some sort of fabulous muckraking journalist, when he is just a small-town loudmouth. Someday he will fall, and he will fall hard.

Schilling's religion and politics have to do with the fact that the law was violated by someone who ought to know better. To make matters worse, Barrick tried to hide the evidence by destroying documents instead of providing them in response to a FOIA request. That's shocking! What's even worse is that instead of firing him immediately the city manager is willing to keep him on staff.

Ric Barrick was highly overpaid for a position that he wasn't even competent to hold and was hired as an insider in another "procurement" procedure that itself ought to be investigated. It is highly unlikely that either he or Maurice Jones were the best from among the large pools of applicants for their positions. They were hired because of the buddy buddy system that they still seem to expect to protect them even after it has been exposed.

I meant that to read "Schilling's religion and politics have NOTHING to do with..."

I don't know how to change this, but one party rule is never a good thing. Hiring is bond to be influenced by who you know. I doubt that an objective search would have found Mr. Jones to be up to the job of City Manager. He was outstanding at his media job, but is out of his league now. The best outcome here would be if he took Mr. Barrick's job and we had a search for a new City Manager.

I see a few democrats have joined the discussion now. You can spot them pretty easily, they're the ones who seem to think Shilling is the bad guy here.

Jennifer Luchard doesn't come come out of this looking too good if you read the whole report. I wonder what she told Barrick after emailing him that the lowest bid had to be accepted and following it up with instructions to call her to discuss, after which he did exactly the opposite.

I think it (the salary) was high for him (Barrick) because it was high for his predecessor, now the current city manager. Who by the way, also makes a nice salary compared to other cities the size of Charlottesville. See below link for the national average salary of a city manager which comes in at $94,000. I think C’ville city manager makes almost double that…

http://www.ehow.com/info_7934434_average-salary-city-manager.html

When you guys and girls discuss salary, you have to remember this figure doesn't include the benefits package. A city manager making $169,000 a year is making more like $250,000 if you add in his/her benefits package. A press spokesperson making $95,000 a year is making about $135,000 after adding in the benefits package. You have paid life insurance, paid dental, paid health care coverage, paid retirement, and take home vehicles with unlimited mileage and unlimited gas.

Next stop for Mr. Shilling should be the Charlottesville Fire Department.

Now don't you be dissin' my man Charle's tricked out SUV with the satellite up-link dish.

@Dahmius - you are a trip!

Huh? Pointing out that Schilling lost in his last attempt to serve in city government gets pulled? Guess I shouldn't be that surprised given the Hook's ever-fawning treatment of Rob.

As an example, here's a morsel from the latest city press release:

"3/25/1963: Martian Luther King Jr. gave a speech at Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia."

I've known Ric since high school at CHS and he's a super nice guy. However, what he did was wrong, whether through ignorance or on purpose. Government work is a tough business, but rules/laws are the rules/laws. No one can escape that.

If this was brought to the City's attention by someone else other than Shilling, not a word would be said.

Ric - wish you the best. Hang in there!

I am getting sick of Charlottesville. Too many haters.

This is another example of why Charlottesville needs to put away the motto 'World Class City'. It is something to strive for, but we are so so far away. Why is someone on city staff in charge of a legal bid process when they have no idea of the process and rules? And if the staff person makes a $95,000 salary they should have the skills to educate themselves as to the proper and legal procedures...yeeesh this is bad.

Kosmo, read the report and not just this story. He wasn't sure if he was allowed to rig the bid, so he asked the City's Procurement Officer who emailed him that he couldn't. Then he went ahead and did just that anyway. So, either she told him over the phone how to go about doing it or he just went ahead and disobeyed his colleague.
Also, apparently now ignorance of the law is an accepted affirmative defense in Orange County?

This is a "world class City"(C-ville itself) which just had the "trial of the Century" (Hook) and getting ready for a "nationally prominent" art festival (Byers). (it was nationally prominent before the Hook even printed anything of it). Its no wonder we need a $95K spokesperson.

Well, GSOE, some of us "democrats" and "liberals" don't think Schilling is the bad guy. Certainly he's always been more interested in grabbing headlines than actual governance - even when he was on council, he didn't take nearly the active interest he could have the serious details of the budget and the like.

No argument: we need an end to one-party rule. It's ridiculous. Ric Barrick is not a criminal - he got no personal gain from this - but clearly 'incompetence' is a fair accuasation. Grossly overpaid. Rob did a service in pointing this out.

Another scam artist is gonna fill his position and collect the hundred grand free insurance free food free car free gas on the public dole for spinning information and contracts to the city's benefit, thus protecting the scam artists and their scams. Ron Paul would get rid of this position if he were the mayor of this town.

I mean, maybe New York, L.A., Chicago could justify it but this city only has like fifty thousand people tops, it hardly even qualifies as a city when the tallest structure in town is a bunch of barren concrete slabs

I think we should hire Schilling to take Rob's job. It would be amusing.

I like Aldous Snow's comment the best.

If Shilling doesn't want the job, there's a lot of other competent and qualified persons willing to do the job for half the salary, plus benefits. City salaries are totally out of control. It happened while city tax assessments were going up 10% and 15% per year and the city had plenty of money to toss around.

Do like the other 100K +- department heads. When the stress gets to you hire a 35K administrative assistant and dump most of the work on them.

LOL, Sam! Reminds me of assistant commonwealth attorney Downing Smith. As soon as Downing retired, the city had to hire several more assistants to do what Downing was doing by himself.

Consider the idea that when somebody "resigns" - regardless of whatever reason they give - they're doing so because they have no other choice. And that the reasoning they cite is just a cover story. Because again, they have no other choice other than a very unsavory option.

Read between the lines on that one.

You mean like being prosecuted for fruad? Wouldn't it be great for all the fraudsters out there if they could all be "officials" (formerly public servants)? They'd never have to worry about going to jail, they could just "resign" when they get caught.

@ Put Your Stunner Frames On

Not sure why people are painting this guy as having committed some sort of "fraud." Did you actually read what happened in this situation? Basically Ric B. thought that Weather Metrics was the better product, and in his ignorance of the RFP/RFQ process he worked with them on the side to get them to lower their bid, and in the process broke the rules on how things are done. But his goal was to SAVE the city money and to get a BETTER product at the same time. He did not benefit or profit personally from any of what happened.

I'm not saying this excuses his ignorance of how the process works and what the rules are, and I'm not saying there isn't some ineptness at work here, BUT, there was no "fraud" here as you're portraying it. He's not a crook, he didn't steal, he didn't embezzle, he wasn't up to serious negative illegal activity, and there was no malicious devious intent going on. A person isn't going to go to jail for trying to get a vendor to lower their bid so that the better vendor and product could win, and especially when there's zero personal gain involved. You don't get prosecuted for something like that. It's ludicrous.

People here seem so desperate for some sort of Watergate-level conspiracy that they're blowing this situation WAY out of whack, tossing around serious criminal terms that don't apply.

That aside, Rob Schilling has had the cross hairs on certain people in city hall since day 1, everybody knows that, and if in all his hunting and sleuthing and FOIA'ing, and even with his supposed "secret moles deep within city hall" this story was the best thing he could dig up, then.....yeah. I'm impressed. Really, I am. (eye roll.)

Wake me when something real is actually happening.

@ boooo!

Your key operational words here, as it applies to the city employee in question, are most definitely "ignorance" and "ineptness." Those are good word choices. "Arrogance" is another word we could add to this story.

And the City of Charlottesville deserves a hellvua lot more than ignorance, ineptness and arrogance for their $95,000 pi$$ed away each year on people who don't know their jobs.

I don't know Rob Schilling and so I don't know how much digging and sleuthing was involved, or whether it was his 'best effort." I do have some experience investigating government activities and can say with confidence that there is almost certainly more interesting information on what goes on at city hall than Schlling, the Hook or any other entity has the time, resources and -- sad to say -- the inclination, to look into and report on.

So Barrick's choosing the $944/mo deal over the $512/mo one was in the best interest of the City? Somebody needs a class in arithmetic. Fraud was perpetrated when the city advertised a deadline for the RFQ and then secretly extended it to benefit one of applicant without announcing the extension publicly. If Barrick wanted to go against the established policies used in the office of procurement, why didn't he check with the City Manager or the city attorney's office? Or his father for that matter. I think Council owes the residents some answers such as why is this man still employed by the city and who negotiated the terms of his continued employment. Who is performing his duties as department head? When did the City Manager first learn of the deal between the city and the vendor?

Why would Barrick feel stressed out about the Hugueley case? What did you have to do with that officially?

It would be appropriate if Mr. Barrick and Ms. Luchard were terminated
And shown to the door ASAP .

Apparently having no moral compass made their work easier .

Mr Barrick and Ms. Luchard really do have an usual view of public service.

The city manager Maurice Jones seems to be stumbling from issue to issue,
The Occupy Charlottesville , Diversity commission , and Mr Barrick, dealing
With these in an ad hoc manner , with little vision .

Perhaps Mr. Jones will step up and assert his moral authority, and manage our city
With some wisdom and political economy.

Mr. Bruce, Far better if Mr. Jones were to step down rather than up wouldn't you say? He has been in over his head since day one.

If one has any doubts to the incompetence, corruption, favoritism and out right disdain the city has for taxpayers, this story should aleve those doubts permanently. It all starts at the top, with any business, with any organization. The underlings take their lead from boss. In this case it should be the tax payers but now we know we don't count. So who's the boss here? The same guy who refuses to speak on our terms and insults us by not making any effort to communicate effectively. In his own homeland we would be considered the unwashed masses and thats his reality, and thats how he views us, him and his beemer.

I was once up for a position with the City of C'ville and was one of three canidates left. We went through some sort of testing where we completed some very obsure questionaire and the results were - I was too smart for the job. Yeah. The salary was over-inflated, I thought to myself, I could "play dumb" for the salary and benefits. But if I had to be around a bunch of others who were "not too smart for the job", I probably would have gone batty...

In the City of C'ville's case you don't get what you pay for - glad I am a county resident on this one!

Will the contract awarded be withdrawn since it was dishonestly awarded?

Weather Metrics' original bid was $26,000 for 36 months. In order to make them appear to be the lowest bidder, Barrick had them drop their bid to $17,000 to come in below the competing bid of $18,490, and also shorten the duration of their work to 18 months with the promise that it would be extended out to 36 months. Thus Weather Metrics cost actually went UP to $34,000 for 36 months. Barrick wasn't accidentally negotiating with a service provider outside of the timeframe of the RFQ, he was bribing that provider with $8,000 of City $$$ to go along and appear to be the less expensive option when in fact they would go from being almost $8,000 more expensive to more than $15,000 more expensive when fairly compared. He did all of this despite being told not to by Jennifer Luchard (perhaps with a wink?) and then he withheld incriminating emails in response to a request under the freedom of information act, a violation of federal law. This is more than just incompetence or gross ignorance. Why he's still being retained, even in a limited capacity is beyond me.
As for the contract with Weather Metrics, its either void or voidable and it'll be a miracle if the competing weather service provider doesn't sue.

^ That sounds like Barrick, alright.

Ric,

You can put those floor-mopping skills to good use at any of the local movie theaters. They're a real mess and there's plenty of work, but you'll get free or (deeply discounted) popcorn.

Just trying to match opportunities with aptitudes, little fella.

Seems to me that liberal dumping ground of an excuse for a news outlet Newsplex just had a story in the last week or so about Virginia being in the top 5 states ripe for government corruption well I give you exhibit A, the good people of C'ville should demand an explanation why Barrick is still employed in any capacity by the city. Just how deep does the rabbit hole go? Whoever stepped up and made the decision to retain his services has in my opinion just smacked the voters of the city right in the face and should be investigated as well. What a tangled web we weave. My Hats off to Rob for outing this corrupt, inept, arrogant, criminal. To those that think this is not fraud please pick up a copy of your choice of dictionary and read the definition, Barricks actions were intended to circumvent the established rules of procurement followed by most of the free world and to say their was no financial gain for Barrick is short sighted at best. Since when do people document an envelope stuffed with cash? or maybe a new computer or any number of things that could have been given in exchange for his favorable treatment of this vendor. Next time hire a real impartial investigator and maybe you will get the facts. Seems the Wolf is guarding the hen house in C'ville.

Why in the hell would we need this product anyway? When times are tough you cut back, and you sure as hell don't buy crap for public access TV. A thousand bucks a month would pay for a lot of educational tools, or food for people that need it. Right?

When working in government one does not have the option of breaking the rules and procedures for some personal interpretation of acting for the better interest of the public. It is still fraud. The integrity of the bidding system was broken on purpose. Apparently the City Manager has not made the decision to enforce professional standards for city staff. To move Ric Barrick to a different position is a failure on many fronts. He knowingly committed fraud. As a taxpayer I feel he has forfeited his right to be paid by the city. Can we not expect any standards??

i did have a small hope the city manager would
step up; assert his moral authority and ever so politely
send mr barrick on his way.

now a couple of days later; that is not to be.

perhaps mr jones who has stumbled from issue to issue
can not or will not see the how keeping mr barrick on at city hall
lowers the bar for good government.

apparently there are no real standards of ethics for city officials;
and the truth is something that works twice.

something to think about when you step into charlottesville city hall.

Booo! It's called precedent setting. It's o.k. for the borderline fraudster to resign instead of go to jail leads to it's o.k. for the big time fraudster to resign instead of go to jail, and then we have banks paying 2 billion dollar fines for 100 billion dollar scams. A day in the slammer wouldn't ruin his life.

Ha ha!

@ Put Your Stunner Frames On

Really? You seriously think Ric should have gone to jail....for improperly handling a vendor bid? Really? And have the tax payers fund his stay in jail?

This makes sense....why exactly?

From what can be discerned out of this news story, the prosecutor seems disinclined to bring charges following an investigation. I am left with the observation that we generally cannot incarcerate a city employee simply for being an arrogant dumbass. Were that to be true, who would run the local government?

But we can speculate with bemusement on his "resignation."

Is this weather contract so the City can put the weather or temperature on their website?

It's so they can manipulate the weather. They figure that if they can keep us in the dark then their universe is safe from scrutiny.

I kind of feel sad for Barrick. It looks like--due to his pedigree--he is Chville's example of the "Spalding" character from Caddyshack. Or maybe "Fredo" from The Godfather; or "Curly Joe" from the Three Stooges. I really think that this was pure ignorance on his part. However, how do you explain the Director of Procurement's role in this affair?
Now, as for government workers in general, I have three comments:
1. If you go to the DMV, every person behind the counter thinks he/she is doing a great job and offering superb service.
2. Check out the U.S. Postal Service union websites. While not a government-funded entity, every one of those unions thinks their members are superior in service and work ethic.
3. Public schools: The lion's share of union members and admins will tell you "we are doing a great job educating our kids but need more resources to fill in the pieces."
It is a culture so far away from the private sector that it might as well be from Pluto.

R.I.P.: Rudd Weatherwax

@Liberalace -

The best DMV in the State of Virginia is the Waynesboro office!

The best place to get or renew a passport is in Madison County!

Both of these public offices provide excellent customer service in addition to just being plain ole friendly people!

One other thing...Is it any conflict that, as a director-level employee of a city, he also serves on the board of directors of a nonprofit that regularly receives taxpayer dollars from that same city (the SPCA)? Just wondering (really have no opinion). Anyway, he needs to correct his LinkedIn page and add that "k" to his first name. Unless he is the sinewy leader of the original "The Cars," he should be Rick. That extra "k" adds a lot of potential value in Scrabble.

R.I.P.: Sonny Bono

Spalding from Caddyshack. Priceless. Well done, Liberalace.

" Unless he is the sinewy leader of the original "The Cars," he should be Rick. That extra "k" adds a lot of potential value in Scrabble."

Why not Ric Barric? Saves time since he's so obviously in a hurry to cut corners.

LOL.

My name is Camus and I approve this message.

Other than personally feeling that the City Manager does not have the appropriate professional financial degrees or financial management experience to be a City Manager, this exposed example of breaking procurement procedures also exposes the dangers of promoting from within. The culture of nonprofessional activities and not being held accountable continues. If we are to have a B team city staff, why are they compensated at A team rates? I have a masters degree and professional certification and toil away at UVa for half of Barrick's salary.

I thought it was a mistake on the Human Rights Commission to come out at the very start saying the director would make 90K+ a year before it was decided what the powers of the Commission would be or would be. But now I understand that is what a typical department head /upper staff at the City makes so they could throw out that salary number without knowing exactly what powers they would have.

I am on track to retire at 30. Life is good when you work for the city, baby. My cousin gets this plum job when I'm done.

Fiji, here I come!

I want to know what kind of Christian celebrates and brags about the downfall of another person. Schilling bragging about his breaking news, all of the hits on his website, all of the media attention he received makes me sick. Whatever happened to love the sinner but hate the sin? Schilling has talked about Rick Barrick and others like dogs for as long as I can remember. I do not know how he can see the sawdust in the eyes of others as he must be blind from the planks in his own eyes. I will tell you what kind of Christian he is. The kind who goes to church and butter won't melt in his mouth. The other days he scorches the airwaves with his harsh judgements and accusations. A hypocrite.

@Tired Of It All , the kind of Christian that did not attend the funerals of Herod or Pilate. If we were forgiving all of the sinners as you suggest we wouldn't have jails. You seem as though you have a childlike view of what Christianity is about. Remember Schilling did not receive any RFQs, Barrick did. Schilling had to had to FOIA in order to get press releases form Barrick's office. This is where the information came from to start the inquiry. Why?
@Sam, some of the promoters of the Human Rights Commission have their own agenda and couldn't really care less if a person that supervises only one employee makes $93k a yr. They feel that the more you pay for something the higher the priority. Unfortunately for them, everything is a priority.
@Liberalace, unfortunately there is such a blurring of the lines now between public servant and special interests advocates in our local government you can't figure out who's the whore and who's the pimp. It now depends upon who's asking for how much. (People bother to express you indignation over my phrasing It will only reflect upon your views of public morality).
I hope that most will remember that a major conduit of government corruption in our past and an is still much used today is through the process of public procurement. Tammy Hall?
I read the special prosecutor's statements as saying she did not feel there was criminal intent in Barrick's actions, not that a crime had not been committed that could secure a conviction in court. Would it be worth the time? Is the manipulation of the procurement procedures the reasons why O'Connell had so many cost overruns? Is anybody really in charge? Is Council above it all or too ignorant to understand the ramifications? Maybe an online survey for a vote of confidence is now in order? Probably not. So many people are now feeding at the public trough the vote would be overwhelmingly confident that they will continue to suck money out of the system. Is this dysfunction O'Connell's legacy or revenge?
I also wonder why Barrick was so obsessed with getting the weather on channel 10 or was he more interested in getting a contract for a friend? His actions suggest more of the latter than the former.

Dear Cville Eye,
Although I am sure you meant it as an insult, thank you for affirming my childlike view of Christianity. I would encourage you to google the sermon "Childlike Versus Childish: Maturity in Christ" by Neil Whitaker. You may see why I am not insulted. You may also gain some insight into the attention seeking, self-serving Rob Schilling.

@Tired, Thank you for that comment. I listened to Rob last week when he was crowing about the increased traffic to his blog and it made me almost ill. Rob has destroyed teh career and maligned the character of an individual, and now he is trying to keep the story alive so that he can personally benefit from it via ratings. How is that Christian? I don't get it. Aren't we supposed to be allowed to correct our mistakes, even the most heinous ones, and to be forgiven to move forward in a spiritually full life? Aren't we supposed to love our neighbors?
Ric Barrick clearly did something wrong, but fraud? Malfeasance? Probably not. It sounds like he really didn't know the difference between and RFQ ad and RFP, and I would say this was probably a lack of training on the part of the city. Now he is being further pilloried by the court of public opinion, and I find it very sad that there are so many people who don't know him willing to cast dispersions on his character for one mistake. God knows I have made plenty of mistakes, and I have to remember "judge not lest ye be so judged." Or how about "forgive us our trespasses that we may forgive others who trespass against us." I bet that every person who has written on this blog has screwed up at work, at least once. Call me childish, but I would rather look at events like this and say, "Wow, here's a training opportunity. Let's fix that in our protocols." I don't know Ric, and I don't know Rob, but I have to say that this whole exchange really troubles me. It just doesn't represent the best of who we can be as human beings, as a community, or as a society at large.

Charlottesville Tomorrow put out info on their website to "meet our government." Seems like we have a new "Acting Traffic Engineer" - anyone know whether or not she has an engineering degree?

"Ric Barrick clearly did something wrong, but fraud? Malfeasance? Probably not. It sounds like he really didn't know the difference between and RFQ ad and RFP, and I would say this was probably a lack of training on the part of the city. Now he is being further pilloried by the court of public opinion, and I find it very sad that there are so many people who don't know him willing to cast dispersions on his character for one mistake."
I'm really trying to see things from your perspective, that this was all just a big misunderstanding on Barrick's part, but I'm left with so many problems that can't be reconciled:
Barrick asked the City's procurement officer if he could continue negotiating to get the high bidder's price down after the close of the RFQ, and she told him that he couldn't. And then he did just that. Worse, he gave the high bidder the lowest quote and then went so far as to suggest a price that would win?! And instructed them to cut the duration of their quote so it would appear to be the lowest number (then he told them their contract would be renewed! Imagine having your contract renewed before you've even bid on it). Even though the price he instructed them to quote would raise their price (already the highest) from $26,000 over 36 months to $34,000 over 36 months?! And then he (or they?) back-dated that 'winning' bid to appear to have come in before the deadline. Simply informing the other bidder, Weather Central, that they weren't the winning bidder when in fact, under the terms of the RFQ they were, might be considered fraud.. Then Barrick withheld emails in violation of the FOIA. How do you reconcile all of these actions with someone simply failing to fully understand procurement procedures?

I wish the Hook would print the salaries of people employed by C-ville say over 60K a year. Would it be 20? 40? 60? 80? people...I have no clue.

Gotta love it when the Christians put down their Bibles long enough to sermonize in such a sanctimonious manner. Since when do Christians have a lock on morality? Since the end of the Crusades? More recently? Since they last burned Beatles records? Since Pat Robertson encouraged his flock of sheeple to pray for the deaths of select Supreme Court justices?

You don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows...

...D@mn. That was a beautiful subreference; it works on so many levels for this story.

Bottom line, the city had (has?) an overpaid dipstick who never learned the rules and ignored them anyway when he was told the correct procedure.

Jesus saves. But the City of Charlotesville sure as hell doesn't. They spend it all on nimrods who don't know their jobs.

Sure, we all make mistakes at work. But relatively few of us make mistakes when the mistakes are flat-out categorically pointed out to us and we make them, anyway. If you are walking straight for a cliff and someone points out you are about to take a nassty fall, do you keep heading for the precipice?

Oh, that's right: you'll take a leap of faith.

The employee in question got less than he deserved. Who knows what was in those vanishing emails?

My name is Camus and I approve this message.

Ignorance of the law is never an excuse. That's what I've always heard. Maurice Jones needs to cut Barrick from the city's payrolls entirely. If he refuses and keeps trying to protect his buddy, then Jones needs to start looking for a new job himself.

You won't see Maurice disturb the gravy train. He's the head engineer.

Remember his unwillingness to meet the requirement of his position by refusing to move to the City from the County? And how the City Council then gave him a big interest-free loan to ask him, pretty-please to live up to the job's requirements?

This City is filled with overpaid employees who are not competent at their jobs. Barrick just was unlucky/stupid enough to piss off Rob Schilling and shine a light on his own incompetence and uncaring.

We can leave it to the lawyers to determine if he broke the law ... but, nah ... they'll certainly sweep this under the rug and probably just give him another job when the smoke clears.

Barrick is the HEAD of a department making $95k a year, not an intern "in training." I am left wondering why he spent a year working to get this particular vendor the awardee. Are there emails indicating he has family or friends working there? He clearly was not behaving as a person serving the public' interests so who's interests was he serving and why?
I am getting the impression that ired Of It All and girlygirl he should be allowed to stay in a position that obviously allows him to do as he pleases even if he gets caught. Is that their idea of forgiveness? Do they forgive Rob Schilling for blowing the whistle? It doesn't sound like for me.
"I want to know what kind of Christian celebrates and brags about the downfall of another person." There are many of them described in Revelations.
Has anyone noticed why one company has been awarded so many downtown contracts for design in the past ten years? What's going on there?

@Sam "I wish the Hook would print the salaries of people employed by C-ville say over 60K a year. Would it be 20? 40? 60? 80? people...I have no clue." Some how Schilling is able to get the spreadsheet that used to be published occasionally by the Peaslees bringing out such public outrage. He may be using the FOIA mechanism. Email at robs@sina.com as ask him. Unlike emailing officials at City Hall you will probably get a response.

it's no so much the salaries, there is an excuse for those, but the benefits that come during and after employment are usually pretty good....and we thought that they were doing us a public service............

Remember, this chuckle-head used to work as a talking head on TV, "reporting" the weather. So he presumably has some background in the mechanisms and tools of weather forecasting. What does his resume list in-between gigs at city hall and tee-vee weatherguy? People in a particular line of business are typically aware of and interconnected to other people in the same business.

In all probability he knows the owners of the company that received favorable treatment and insider bidding advice. Question is, how well-connected is he to this company and by what means? In-laws? Childhood friends?

As for claism that no one benefitted from this, I point out that there is no conclusive knowedge either way regarding benefits.

I do know that a bag of green cash changing hands is invisible, insofar as it relates to proving graft & corruption.

Then again, the employee in question could simply be as stupid as I suspect he is.

My name is Camus and I approve this message.

@Cvilleye: Actually, I don't profess to be a Christian, but Rob does, mightily. I do read the Bible, because it is the most quoted book in our world, and so many politicians and pundits refer to it, that I think it is important to understand what it actually says. Its' message is quite revolutionary, actually, and really doesn't reflect, at all, what most of the people who use it to manipulate others say it does. I am not judging Rob or Ric. But I AM trying to understand Rob. My question is philosophical. We see this so much these days throughout the political arena and I am seeking to understand what I call the Politics of Religious Certainty.

Cvilleye: Cute comment about Revelations, but I don't know what it has to do with what this conversation is about. Please do read the piece by Whitaker that I sent you to. Here is my problem with Schilling. He is a whiny little man who is trying to make a name for himself. He reminds me of Church Lady having a bad hair day. Last week, he repeatedly called Mayor Huja a "jack-booted thug weraing a turban". Scillings apparent ignorance of the implications and meaning of the use of jack-booted is stunning. His religious intolerance towards Mr. Huja is reprehensible. I do not know why the folks at WINA would find this acceptable, but I guess if the ratings are there you can do whatever you like. My point is that I do not want to be lectured about Christianity by this nasty little man while out of the other side of his mouth he utters his distasteful diatribes. I get it. I do not have to listen. I just think that it is a shame that he has a mic and so many people apparently do listen. You might notice how few calls there are to his show from folks who disagree with him as he mostly appeals to people who are already in the echo chamber.

This example of fraud is not personal, but an example of the lack of standards of conduct for city staff. The animosity that Rob Schilling and Rick Barrick have for each other is personal, but it really has nothing to do with the fraud except that it motivated Rob Schilling to go on a fishing trip and FOIA Barrick's work e-mail. To be concerned about this issue does not mean that one supports Schilling's radio show. I do not listen to his show, but appreciate that he figured out what went wrong with the procurement process. When Schilling was on City Council I randomly watched 5 minutes of a City Council Meeting and it was painful because Schilling did not understand the basic mathematical principle of a pie chart always equal to 100 percent. The poor staff person making the presentation had to keep trying to explain it to him in different ways and this of course was all broadcast on tv. I give Schilling credit for being persistent in trying to understand the situation, but I was also horrified that he did not understand the pie chart concept. That this is the same person who exposed a wrong doing on city staff makes me wonder how many other fishing trips would come out with scandals since noone involved on either side is a rocket scientist??

Barrick's conduct is the issue here, not Schilling's and no amount of attempted obfuscation on the part of his friends is going to change that. Schilling has succeeded in bring the too frequently ignored issue of incompetence, corruption, and cronyism in City Hall to the forefront and he deserves to be proud of himself.

Does Barrick think that handing out insider information and giving favorable treatment to someone preselected as the winner in a competitive process is perfectly fine because that seems to be how he got his job in the first place?

Barrick's hiring came after a 6 MONTH SELECTION PROCESS which somehow miraculously resulted in HIS hiring. Surely there were better, more qualified candidates out there and several no doubt applied. A $95,000 salary + substantial benefits working for the "#1 City to Live in the Country" must have attracted some pretty strong applicants, applicants who understand that they are not above the law at the very least.

Barrick's hiring due to favorable treatment and insider knowledge was eerily similar to that of the CIty Manager Maurice Jones who beat out 80 other applicants for his position despite having no relevant experience or training for the job. Jones doesn't have a master's degree which was listed as a requirement, and his bachelors is in communications from a school that ranks high on U.S News's A+ Options for B Students and Playboy's Top Party School lists, but not many more.

"How big a role did being ensconced in the home court play? "It certainly gave me an advantage," says Jones. "Where it crystallized was in the interview," says the mayor. "He nailed it. He had command of the issues." Well of course he did, he had all the inside information he needed. http://www.readthehook.com/65908/more-mo-jones-city-manager

Jones's friends on council chose to overlook his weaknesses and handed him a plush job. In an attempt to bring him up to speed, they even offered to pay for him to go to school. What's that $170,000 base salary for you've got to wonder. I still pay for my schooling on a lot less. Jones has ignored the requirement that he live in the city and AFTER he failed to live up to his obligation to move, that's with 2 YEARS of time to do it in, his job benefits were INCREASED to the tune of two interest free loans with no public discussion of the issues raised. It's obvious that the decision was pre-approved and discussed with him in advance since his request for more time didn't come until after the period in which he was supposed to act was over.

If that were the end of it, things would be bad enough, but the list goes on and on. During the discussion of re-bricking the Mall, Jim Tolbert claimed that 4 x 12" bricks couldn't be found and instead pushed very hard for 4x10" bricks that just happened to be made by a company owned by a few wealthy local guys. Was that the reason for claiming the bricks need replacement in the first place? Then there's the Pavilion deal, the Jefferson School, the city funded SRO on Preston, and more.

Something is rotten from the top down in this city administration. No wonder Barrick thought no one would notice what he was up to or punish him if he was caught. My hope is that a few brave whistleblowers will see that it's time for a change and send more evidence of wrongdoing to Schilling so he can bring it to the public's attention.

@ girlygirl

Unfortunately your comments are going to fall on deaf ears because the people you're speaking to are helllbent on making this situation way bigger than it actually is, since nothing of real interest ever actually happens in this town (and also because so many people here are self righteous and sour).
____

Ric didn't embezzle anything, he didn't personally gain or profit from anything that went on here, he didn't hurt anybody and he didn't screw anybody over. He screwed up. Period. So, people can call him dumb, sure, say he screwed up, absolutely, say he was incompetent and overpaid, but don't claim this was some sort of high crime activity, merely because you live in a boring town and have a boring life, and a sour, self righteous disposition, and are desperate for some sort of exciting scandal because it now gives your meaningless life some purpose.

I'm not a personal friend of Ric's, I'm just somebody who's come to notice how sour and miserable so many of the people of Cville tend to be. Complaining all the time about every little thing, over involved in the most petty nonsense. So what I'm saying here is nothing new. It's stuff I've noted before in my other comments over the past couple of years.

Rob Schilling is a big fish in a small pond, and he truly believes that he uncovered some big important scandal. He didn't. He uncovered somebody who apparently didn't understand the RFP/RFQ process and really screwed up with it all. But to no personal gain for himself. So, again, criticize that aspect of it all you want, but don't make it out to be more than it is with exaggerated crime phrases merely because you yourself have a boring life and are desperate for exciting activity in your small 10.4 square mile town that pretends to be a full fledged city.

Rob Schilling is not a big fish and the only reason I can think of why some of the posters aren't upset about the fraud is because they don't pay city taxes. I do and it's very frustrating to pay for expensive incompetence. Maurice Jones is the luckiest guy alive. He does not have a shred of budget experience yet he makes $170,000 to be the fiscal manager of a city. Why does he not live in the city? Is he worried to send his kids to city schools? What is the hold up? Are my taxes paying for his interest free loan?

@ Kosmo

Oh yeah, and thanks for the insight into how Rob Schilling was apparently unable to grasp the fundamentals of a pie chart and how it all works, and during a televised Council meeting no less Very interesting, indeed. You've confirmed what I already could tell from just reading his blog - he isn't the brightest bulb in the box. After reading through his blog on multiple occasions I can't for the life of me figure out why anybody even follows this guy. His writing is very juvenile with hyper-dramatic and exaggerated language, and he's clearly emotionally stunted in his approach to everything in general. He comes across like a 14 year old boy in an adult's body. Not a mature man. He's an embarrassment to local Republicans whom he claims to represent, and is just the pot calling the kettle black.

TWO interest free loans Kosmo, TWO! And yes, you are paying for it in more ways than one.

boooo!,So some crime is crime and some is not I suppose. I'm reminded of a comment from this article. http://www.readthehook.com/102787/crib-death-defense-admits-huguely-merl...

boooo! February 9th, 2012 | 10:01am
Sounds like Nancy Drew's got a crush.

That's okay, if Nancy likes George so much she can be one of those women who "befriends" him behind bars, having one of those prison weddings or something that you always see on talk shows. "I married my prisoner pen pal!"

@saywha? March 28th, 2012 | 1:50pm

All I can say is amen....

Well, Ric isn't going to prison, so, doesn't look like a pen pal is needed. ;)

" His religious intolerance towards Mr. Huja is reprehensible." jI have never heard Schilling say anything negative about Mr. Huja's religion.
"Ric didn't embezzle anything, he didn't personally gain or profit from anything that went on here, he didn't hurt anybody and he didn't screw anybody over." The company with the lowest bid got screwed over big time.
As for Schilling not understanding a pie chart, that is ridiculous. He deals in real estate finance and management. You should see how quickly he can manipulate those figures accurately. Most likely there was something wrong with the pie chart and he was trying to correct it. It would not have been first time the percentages labeled in a pie chart did not add up to 100%.
I see well why there are laws concerning whistle blowers. Some people naturally gravitate towards shooting the messenger. I, however, feel indebted to Mr. Schilling for the year he spent exposing yet more rot in city government.
Of course Barrick is not going to jail anymore than the county coaches are being jailed for making private deals with local sports equipment vendors. He has too many friends and he knows where too many skeletons are in City Hall's closets.

Maybe Barrick shouldn't go to jail for this offense. At the very least though he ought to be fired. I can't see any argument against that, but somehow he's still drawing a city salary.

His firing should also be accompanied by a thorough audit, at his expense, of all the work he has done while he has been employed by the city. He falsified documents at least once that we know of. City management is not being responsible to the citizens they work for it they fail to make sure that it hasn't happened more than once.

What would probably be more appropriate would be for the Attorney General to audit CIty Hall to determine whether more employees are falsifying document, handing out insider information, or worse.

City employees owe each other and cover for each other. If there was an audit of the type you are suggesting, the employees would spend so much time covering up that the building would have to close temporarily.