March 22, 2010

Finance committee delays votes on Downtown parades, no-bid contracts

The Finance and Personnel Committee put off decisions on waiving fees for Downtown parades and changing the city's bidding process for professional services.

Alderman Jeff Coe an Jean Garbo of the Downtown Racine Corp. asked the committee to waive over $1,500 in fees to close streets, hire cops and clean streets during and after the St. Patrick's Day and Christmas parades.

While the committee put off a decision, they seemed skeptical. They noted if they waive the fees for these events they're getting close to having to waive fees for all events.

Police Chief Kurt Wahlen, who happened to be at the meeting for other items, also pointed out the city was not in position to waive the fees for the off-duty officers used during the parades. The officers are hired out by a private company.

Coe asked the committee to receive-and-file the motion so he could bring back a new proposal to secure the city as an official sponsor of the events. By ordinance, the city only sponsors two events per year: the Fourth of July parade and the Memorial Day parade.

Aldermen Terry McCarthy and Greg Helding asked the committee to require city departments to bid out contracts for professional services. McCarthy raised the issue after controversy arose over Mayor John Dickert's effort to give a no-bid $40,000 contract to a videographer to rework the city's cable-access TV station, CAR25.

Dickert was able to offer the contract because city ordinances do not require bids for professional services. McCarthy and Helding would like to change that, but they'll have some convincing to do.

Finance Director Dave Brown said the proposal would create more work for his department, and Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney said it would be awkward for the city to bid out for legal services.

Their arguments appeared to convince Alderman QA Shakoor II to lean against the proposal, and Finance Chairman Jim Spangenberg said he needed more information.

The committee voted to defer action, and McCarthy and Helding said they would bring back a spreadsheet showing only 12 city contracts would be affected by the ordinance.

For a complete wrap of Monday's committee meeting, checkout the live-blog below.


  1. I think you are overdoing the live blogging thing. It's just not that exciting anymore.

  2. Helding is such a waste.....

  3. Just practicing with the live-blog software. If you're not interested, don't read it.

  4. Looks like Meier is going to retire from Caledonia. Probably the least painful for him and the village.

  5. The council better do something to control the contract issue. It is out of hand when campaign and family members are being hired by the city at far to high a rate. The taxpayer should not be paying for political favors and that is clearly what has been going on.

    In the county every contract goes to the board for approval. There is no reason why the city can't do the same they aren't above questioning contract validity.

    By the way you may want to look into why Mt Pleasant staff can get contracts approved without board approval too.

  6. looks like the DRC is looking for another handout...

    Last I remember hearing anything, the DRC receives the fees for any parades held in Downtown.

    So now, not only do they want to benefit from something that the City should be seeing profits from, they want a handout to pay for services provided by private companies.

    More of the Downtown cronyism.

  7. I will correct myself:

    The DRC wants the city to waive payments that the DRC pays both to the City and private companies.

    So not only does the DRC make the money, they steal it away from the City as well.

  8. Spangenberg always wants more information when he wants to kill a proposal. When he wants something he votes for it without any important info such as the Treasures and Tire Burning Scrap Yard deals. He's a fake, he is putting on a show every waking hour. Praises to Helding and McCarthy for trying to change the system. Dickert's lapdogs they are not. Spangenberg is in the pockets of many of the staff management.

  9. NO way should the city sponsor the St. Patrick's parade! It is a celebration on drinking booze and nothing more. Let the whining downtown businesses pay for it. Coe is an idiot if he thinks this is the same as 4th of July. His buddy Coug should pay for the parade.

  10. If you don't like it don't read it? Is that the new Racine Post motto?

  11. I have to agree with 11:11 pm. Helding and McCarthy are showing that they are tired of politics as usual. No more Dickert cronies saying yes when "Johnnie Boy" wants them to. As for Spanky he is just a tool to put it simple.

  12. Jeff Coe, the same idiot that is against development wants my tax dollars to subsidize parades. Why doesn't he take up colections at the bar he hangs out in to fund his little ethnic and religious parades? What a dork!

  13. Amen 5:44!! Spot on!!

    This city LOVES promoting drinking beyond comprehension.

    Exhibit A: The kilt wearing drunk who breaks into a downtown business to sleep.

  14. I don't know Helding but I do know McCarthy. So far I have had a lot of respect for McCarthy's leadership.
    Don't let those who think they own your post tell you what to do.

  15. Tim the Shrubber3/23/2010 7:59 AM

    "I think you are overdoing the live blogging thing. It's just not that exciting anymore."

    I can sort of agree with that sentiment. This is not exactly a breaking news story...the after the fact summary is good enough.


    "Just practicing with the live-blog software. If you're not interested, don't read it."

    That's cool too, but no need to get snarky about it.

  16. Tim the Shrubber3/23/2010 8:01 AM

    Just say no to free parades.

  17. Don't let Helding fool you - he's gearing himself up to run for mayor next time around.
    He's one of the biggest suckups on the council IMHO.
    I think he'd sell his soul if it meant a little more power or prestige.

  18. Tim the Shrubber3/23/2010 9:12 AM

    "Don't let Helding fool you - he's gearing himself up to run for mayor next time around."

    Fool us? Really? Sure, he is probably gearing up for a Mayoral bid...but that should be no surprise since he ran in the last election. There no fooling going on here...nothing deceptive. A politician is acting like a politician...gasp!

    "He's one of the biggest suckups on the council IMHO. I think he'd sell his soul if it meant a little more power or prestige."

    Now, that is a humble opinion! {sarcam / rotflmao} You might want to drop the 'H' in IMHO when you are totally flaming someone. 'In my humble opinion' indeed.

  19. Is Spangenberg standing up for a continuation of no-bid contracts to mayor friends and family? Did Dickert offer Spangenberg a job?

  20. Oink, oink, oink.

  21. The downtown businesses with the liquor licenses made the most money because the St. Patrick's Day Parade exists. Compare the list of businesses who paid to sponsor the event to the list of businesses with a liquor and food license. There were relatively few bars, restaurants and liquor stores who paid support but who reaped the rewards. The event should support itself.

    As far as the live blogging goes, I find it quite interesting to learn what is actually being said rather than having it summarized for a short article. I say keep it up. This is a window of opportunity to learn what is really said at city hall.

  22. Unfortunately this has turned into a drink fest rather than a family friendly celebration. If this is the way downtown is going, all the hard work and money that has gone into developing it will be wasted. The DRC or whoever makes those decision needs to recognize that encouraging alcohol consumption is going to ruin a good thing. In addition let the bars sell the drinks at least they are then responsible and are supposed to cut someone off before they become a problem.

  23. Duh, all the hard work and development went to make downtown alcohol friendly. Drunks spend more. DRC even serves alcohol at a memorial to our war dead. Why would anyone think DRC is interested in what the community wants? DRC exist to make DRC money. Our families and children are incidental to that.

  24. I suspect Tim the Shrubber and Greg Helding are good pals.
    I don't think too many people can deny that Helding has been a good 'ol rubber stamping boy for years now.

  25. Tim the Shrubber3/23/2010 2:19 PM

    "I suspect Tim the Shrubber and Greg Helding are good pals."

    Nope, I have never met him. I just find the hyperbole annoying.

  26. I thought the alcohol being served at Monument Square was to support a non profit cause like the veterans who the square was built for? If the DRC benefits from it what do they do with the money? In addition what do the bars think of this?

  27. Helding and McCarthy were both for the no bid PIO officer and also they were both for the 40K No bid contract just weeks ago. This is embarresing for both these guys to NOW switch their stance. And YES, Helding is in the mayor's back pocket!

  28. Spangenberg has to go. He has been a yes vote for his pal Gary Becker and now his new pal, John Dickert. He has been raising taxes in West Racine while most Americans are going without. Stop the BS Jim, we can see through you like a glass of water. You are a hippocrite.

  29. H2O, Spanky is a hard working leader. We just, have not as of yet, found out what he is working on or for!

  30. "This is embarresing"

    Really? It is embarrassing that this is what passes for political commentary in Racine. What you people don't know would fill a book (or two).

  31. Anon 9:17 – what you’re describing is exactly what happens now and, frankly, is a perfectly good system. While these smaller professional service contracts are not ‘bid out,’ they do go to council for approval.

    The council is perfectly capable of saying, “no – go find a better deal” under the current system.

  32. Alderman Spangenberg shouldn't be making any decisions with taxpayer money. He clearly has anger issues as well as other mental disorders. We should require a mental evaluation of members of city government as well as any hired staff. If we did this such thing we might well have been able to avoid the Becker fiasco.