Clackamas County releases independent review of contracting practices at Water Environment Services
Clackamas County has publicly released an independent report into contracting practices at the Department of Water Environment Services (WES). The review was ordered by County Administrator Don Krupp following allegations raised in an arbitrator’s decision involving a former WES employee. A copy of the review is attached.
Below is a statement released by Administrator Krupp to county staff of the release of the report.
“As you are aware, I asked for an independent review of contracting practices at Clackamas County Water Environment Services (WES) in response to a February 10, 2014 arbitrator’s Opinion and Order regarding a disputed employee termination in the department. At the same time I placed Mike Kuenzi, WES director, on administrative leave.
The independent review has been completed and a copy of the report is attached.
In light of this report, I am working with Mr. Kuenzi to determine the process for his departure as director of WES. The County will begin a competitive recruitment for a new WES director. Until that time, the County will contract with a third-party wastewater agency to provide leadership of WES. I will have more to say about this once I have negotiated a mutually agreeable contract. In the meantime, Liz Garcia will continue to serve as the interim Director. I very much appreciate the great job she has done during this challenging time.
I am taking the following steps to address the report’s findings and re-affirm the County’s commitment to sound stewardship of public dollars:
- Cancelling the contract with CFM Strategic Communications that was a subject of the contract review.
- Requiring WES managers to use purchasing checklists that were put into place in 2011 but not yet fully implemented.
- Assigning dedicated purchasing staff directly to WES but under the direction and authority of the Finance Director. The assigned staff will ensure that local contracting review board rules and best practices are being followed.
I am confident that these actions will result in better oversight and further ensure the responsible and transparent expenditures of public monies. This has been a difficult period for all of us and particularly for WES employees. We are now moving forward to ensure that our citizens, ratepayers and the public receive the highest ethical and professional services from Clackamas County employees, departments and agencies.”
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