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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 5, 2014 at 6:03 AM

Steinbrueck contract: Why trust in government is failing

It is bad enough that Mayor Ed Murray gave a $98,000 contract to a political supporter, former Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, without competitive bidding [“Key backer of mayor wins $98,000, no-bid city contract,” Local News, June 3].

Worse, however, is that it appears the job was created to give Steinbrueck something to do. Tom Hauger, the planning department manager, is quoted saying the mayor’s staff asked the department “to find a scope of work that matched with Peter’s expertise.” Asked whether the department was in favor of the project, Hauger said the department “didn’t object to it.”

In other words, the mayor directed a city department to come up with a project that suited Steinbrueck’s talents. Instead of spending money based on what the city needs, the mayor is spending money on a consultant because it meets the consultant’s expertise. Is this how the city spends its money? Inventing a project because the mayor wants to pay back a political supporter?

The contract calls for Steinbrueck to access “how Seattle neighborhoods have become more sustainable in the past 20 years.” Aren’t city employees capable of answering that question? Why do we need a consultant to look into that?

This incident is Exhibit A on why citizens no longer trust government to spend their tax dollars prudently.

Michael Crutcher, Seattle

Comments | More in Mayor's office | Topics: City Council, Mayor Ed Murray, Peter Steinbrueck

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