The Ways and Means committee held a hearing on the controversial letter urging Comptroller Darlene Green to sign the Veolia contract on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. Mayor Slay and his staff is claiming that because the Board of Aldermen approved funds for Veolia a consulting contract when they approved funds for professional development. The letter attempted to convince Green that she a duty to sign a Veolia contract so Veolia can move forward in consulting the city's water department even without approval of E&A. The hearing was called to find out more about the process of approving contracts and can the Veolia contract be approved without E&A approval.
Eddie Roth testified before the committee on behalf of Mayor Slay. Roth voiced support for Veolia as argued Slay's case. Aldermen on the committee expressed their astonishment and concern about Slay's letter. The crowd applauded when Alderman Antinio French argued Slay is trying to be sneaky.
As a practical matter, we down here at the Ways and Means committee budget things with a certain degree of trust and respect between the department heads and us. If you guys are going to start playing these games where we have to get clear, on the record answers for every dollar been spent out of fear you guys going to what you want to, I fear that's a slippery slop to go down...I think this is sneaky.
Roth disputed French and argued that Slay was being open and transparent. None of the aldermen on the committee knew that they were approving a Veolia contract when they approved funding for professional development. Public Utilities Chairwoman Dionne Flowers told citizens that only E&A can approve contracts when they testified before her committee. She argued if she was aware the Utilities Committee could have took a vote on the Veolia contract.
I won't use the word "sneak", it was a surprise, to read an article, that this was possibly approved by the Board of Alderman after the whole open process…we did not take a vote at the Public Utilities committee but we probably could have. Because it was told to us that the Board of Aldermen had nothing to do with contracts. Contracts are made and decided by the Board of E&A.
The Podcast of the meeting was linked to this article on October 30th, 2013.