This is the fourth article on Mayor Hayward's and Council member Cannada-Wynn efforts to close Morris Court Park, deed it back to the Area Housing Commission, and deprive children of a safe, clean park to play in after-school, on weekends, and during the summer. Their efforts are unconscionable. The City awarded a contract to a company that was not a certified construction company run by a man who was not a certified contractor. Second, given the simplicity of the structures built, the City wildly overpaid.
The first three articles can be found here: "UWF's Parks Assessment Study Reconsidered;" "Cannada-Wynn Abandons Children in Morris Court;" and, "Cannada-Wynn Coverup on Morris Court Park?."
The "Assessment" article determined that the Mayor is using the University of West Florida's study to close community parks. However, not only is the UWF assessment flawed, but it's claims about the unsustainability of the city's parks is unsubstantiated. The UWF omits any discussion of class and race related to city parks. And, as will be shown in this article, the City's mayor, and directors of Public Works and Parks & Recreation spend money very unwisely.
The second article observed that Cannada-Wynn had been misleading her constitutents for several months, assuring them she was concerned about the park while she worked with the mayor's office and the Area Housing Commission (AHC) to close the park and return it to the AHC.
The third article noted that Cannada-Wynn has refused to divulge how many meetings she had with the Area Housing Commission and when those meetings took place. She has not divulged that information in response to a Public Records Request, nor after I told the City Council at a Boyd Forum that her information was not forthcoming, and after a second Public Records Request.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the mayor's claim, based on the UWF assessment, that the city's park system is "unsustainable" is highly questionable. In fact, the mayor and the two key directors demonstrate they are grossly incompetent in the execution of the contract to improve Morris Court Park and over-spent taxpayer's money.
NO DUE DILIGENCE WORTHY OF NAME
Had city officials conducted fifteen minutes of due diligence they would not have awarded a contract of $90,510 on March 27, 2013, to a man, James A. Wolfe, and a construction company, Wolfe Construction, that did not have a contractor's license and was not a certified construction company.
In fact, they awarded that contract to improve three city parks to a man who had only filed a fictitious name document with the Secretary of State on February 20, 2013. Two days later, he filed for a business tax account with Escambia County. That business tax account was closed on January 9, 2014.
Neither "James A. Wolfe" nor "James Wolfe" nor "Wolfe Construction" at Nine Mile Road were certified contractors, according to records at the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.
What explains how a man without a contractor's license and without a certified construction company, can get a contract for $90,510 to improve three city parks? The first thought is rank incompetence by the mayor and his directors of Public Works and Parks & Recreation. The second thought is that someone in the city government was a witting or unwitting accomplice in this negligent activity.
Not only did the business tax account expire in January 2014, but the Mayor and the Department of Public Works continue, as of 2017, to include Wolfe Construction at Nine Mile Road as a bonafide vendor in contacts worth millions of dollars. Wolfe Construction is listed in the February 2017 contract for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Baywoods Gully Phase II, but also the April 2017 contracts for the Bayou Chico Stormwater Treatment Enhancement Project and the Pensacola Airport Fuel Farm Road Reconstruction.
Wolfe Construction has not been in business for over three years. In fact, the only valid thing about Wolfe Construction is that its fictitious name filing is still valid. Can the mayor and the director claim they are doing due diligence? Of course not. This is rank incompetence.
And, when it comes to university professors opining about what is sustainable and unsustainable, perhaps they should first consider how much the mayor and the Director of Public Works wasted just on the improvements for Morris Court Park.
CITY WILDLY OVER-PAID FOR MODEST IMPROVEMENTS
The invoice for Morris Court Park was for $42,236. For that price, Wolfe Construction built two dugouts, one shade structure over benches, two picnic structures, and a new sidewalk (5' x 120'). Very simple construction.
Wolfe Construction bought, for all three parks, materials worth $5,533, of which $2,192 was for Morris Court Park. Wolfe Construction did not pay one penny for those materials. The costs of those materials were deducted from the final payment of the contract. Home Depot and American Concrete Supply billed the Department of Public Works directly. All Wolfe Construction had to do was distribute the costs between the three parks.
How much profit did "James A. Wolfe" and "Wolfe Construction" make on the Morris Court Park improvement? Probably around $25,000 for that one park.
If you use the standard accounting calculations from the Business Economics website run by a certified public accountant, the Final Net Profit after direct and indirect costs, overhead, and taxes was $3848.
The calculations using the Business Economics model for a residential contractor looks like this: Adjusted Contract Price is $41,640. Cost of Construction is $24,884 (60%), though in this case that is wildly inflated. Direct Margin of 40% is $16,656. Indirect Cost, 21% of ACP is $8,744. Gross Overhead, 7% of ACP is $2,195. Gross Profit Before Taxes, 12% of ACP is $4,997. Notice that these three components add up to the Direct Margin of 40%. Taxes (23%) on Gross Profit is $1,149. That leaves a Final Net Profit of $3,848.
But, Wolfe Construction does not appear to be a normal construction company with investments in equipment and trucks. Wolfe Construction appears to have been a one-man operation run out of an office on Nine Mile Road. At worst, Wolfe had to cover office rent, telephone, and maybe a receptionist for a few months. Wolfe Construction could have subcontracted the concrete work (four bases and sidewalk) and the five wooden structures. There were no materials costs.
For all three parks, using the Business Economics calculations, the Final Net Profit would have been $8,363. But, the other two parks added just four shade structures and two more sidewalks. So, out of $90,510, Wolfe Construction could be looking at a total profit of $54,000 for all three parks.
Now, given how little due diligence the City of Pensacola did in awarding a contract to Wolfe Construction and given how little work was actually probably done by Wolfe Construction, a profit of $54,000 appears excessive.
So, before City officials and university professors start talking about what is "sustainable," the City Council ought to investigate how much the departments of Public Works and Parks & Recreation wasted giving a contract to an unqualified company that may or may not have had a witting or unwitting partner in city government.
And, two further points.
One, the building of the two dugouts was a complete waste of money on two grounds. For one thing, baseball has not been played at Morris Court Park for at least a decade, according to informed sources. And, for another thing, dugouts are intended to protect players from batted and thrown balls. These two dugouts do neither. The players are completely unprotected.
The two dugouts:
|DUGOUT: FIRST BASE SIDE|
|DUGOUT: THIRD BASE SIDE|
Second, no one in Parks & Recreation bothered to ask the residents and the children who use the park what they wanted in terms of a facility upgrade. We know that the City did not spend money on equipment, as the City Council specified. Pictures of the basketball court and the playground equipment show wear and tear. In the case of the playground equipment, it should have been replaced. In the case of the basketball courts, they should have been repaired.
And, here are pictures of the two other picnic/shade structures with concrete bases and the shade structure over benches that need to be repaired or replaced so that children and adults do not rip their clothes while sitting on them.