Monday, September 12, 2005

Emerald City Playhouse Stages Rasputin Encore Performance

Here's another Ogden City political story for your "truth is stranger than fiction" files, Weber County Forum readers. For those who are delicately-disposed, perhaps it would be best to be seated before you read this. According to a John Wright story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, a new manager has been contracted to manage Ogden's BDO, and you're not going to believe your eyes when you find out who it is. Well, he's not really new; he's actually an Ogden city re-tread. Yes, you remember him, gentle readers; it's that guy who "retired" from his position as Ogden city economic development director a brief two months ago, with a fat five-figure severance package in his pocket. As you'll recall, it was reported at the time that he was leaving for the green pastures of the private sector, his noble public service impulses having been fulfilled.

Believe it or not, Mayor Godfrey, in his infinite wisdom, has contracted with the bumbling Stuart Reid, whose idea of entering the private sector seems to be forming his own Utah LLC, and getting straight back onto the Ogden City public teat. I'll leave it to John Wright to provide the mind-boggling details:

The city has outsourced management of Business Depot Ogden to former Community and Economic Development Director Stuart Reid.
Reid stepped down as community and economic development director July 15, after 5 1/2 years with Ogden. During that time, he worked on controversial redevelopment projects, including the downtown mall site and a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter.
On Aug. 29, his company, S.C. Reid LLC, entered a one-year renewable contract with the city to manage BDO for $77,828 annually, according to records obtained by the Standard-Examiner from the Recorder's Office.
Reid will take over the duties of Kevin Ireland, who was earning $67,319 when he stepped down in August to become director of Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park.
As community and economic development director, Reid was paid $102,497 annually when he left the city.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey said Reid's familiarity with BDO will be an improvement, as the facility has had three managers in the last 2 1/2 years.
"There was no continuity out there at all," Godfrey said. "Part of the benefit of Stuart is continuity. ... To get him back at this price is a real coup, from my perspective."
Reid could not be reached for comment.
As BDO manager, Reid will be charged with representing the city in its partnership with The Boyer Co. in marketing and developing the 1,118-acre business park near Interstate 15.
Reid has a long work history at The Boyer Co., from its development of the Sugar House District and Gateway projects when he was business manager for Salt Lake City in the 1990s, to the downtown mall site and BDO in Ogden.
"Obviously, we welcome Stuart," said Blake Wahlen, general manager of BDO for The Boyer Co. "He has a great background, and his relationship with the city is great."
City Council Chairman Rick Safsten said council members have not yet received responses to several questions they submitted to the administration after learning the BDO position was being outsourced.
"Stuart is an extremely capable, energetic, passionate person, and that's a good thing, but I don't know the answers to those questions, and until I have those answers, I'm not ready to give a full response," Safsten said. "Maybe this is the greatest idea since sliced bread, but no one's explained it to me as why that would be the case."
BDO is a former military installation that was transferred to the city in 1997. It has more than 6.5 million square feet of industrial and office space.
BDO is 70 percent full, Wahlen said, with 60 to 70 tenants employing more than 2,500 people.
Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has doubts about this latest development. As Mr. Schwebke's's June 30 article notes, Mr. Reid was the grand schemer responsible for the planning of that downtown Recreation Center project, which is presently mired in a sea of contamination and financing issues. And he's the genius who rammed the now-languishing upscale Union square condo project down the city's throat, a full four years before the arrival of the rail transit system that was supposed to create a market for downtown residential condos. And his fingerprints are all over the Wal-Mart fiasco, where our ham-handed city government became the poster-child for eminent domain abuse, requiring the Utah legislature to intervene, by stripping the condemnation power from our overly-aggressive Ogden RDA. Surely, with 6.5+ billion people now residing on this planet, there must have been some competent person, other than the obviously incompetent Mr. Reid, whom Mayor Godfrey could have chosen to act as the city's interface with The Boyer Company, the de facto "manager" of the Ogden BDO.

And what about the $78,000 no-bid contract that has been awarded Mr. Reid's new shell company? What exactly will Mr. Reid do for the citizens of Ogden city that The Boyer Company isn't already doing? Somebody please tell me, why does Ogden city need to have a city executive getting paid the big bucks, essentially to look over the Boyer Company's shoulder, while the Boyer Company does what it does with such demonstrable competence?

And what about that fat severance package? Will Mr. Reid now be required to pay it all back? It's my understanding that Ogden city has a policy against re-hiring fired workers. If Mr. Reid wasn't actually fired, why did he receive a severance package at all? I received a tip on this story late last week, by the way. The administration "responses" that Chamber of People's Deputies Chairman Safsten refers to in today's John Wright article pertain precisely to this question, I am told. In a nutshell, some city council members believe that the the "re-hiring" of Mr. Reid is violative of city policy, and they've formally asked the mayor's office about this. It seems to me that in this situation, the council should stand firm, and refrain from approving Mr. Reid's contract, especially if such a non-re-hire policy actually exists. Perhaps the Ogden council will take this opportunity to demonstrate, two weeks before the municipal primary election, that they're not the completely spineless "rubber stamp" that they've heretofore appeared to be.

What say you, gentle readers? Should the Emerald City Playhouse give Mayor Godfrey's "rasputin" an encore performance? Does the bumbling Stuart Reid deserve another prolonged "feed" at the Ogden city "public trough?"

13 comments:

Moroni McConkie said...

Because Stu Reid is a Bishop in Israel, I want to tread softly, lest I be guilty of evil speaking of the Lord's Anointed. From what I hear, there were great vibes from the beginning when Matt Godfrey recruited Reid to Ogden in the first place. Reid apparently had no intention of coming here, but Matt's charisma and vision persuaded Reid otherwise. The advantage here, to paraphrase Gore Vidal, is that there's no need to conspire; they simply think alike!

For all his expressed commitment to Ogden, Reid's faith in the city has been insufficient to persuade him to buy a house; he rents at Colonial Court Apartments. Let this speak for itself.

Suffice it to say that I was no less shocked than Rudi at reading the Wright article on Reid's new sinecure vis-a-vis the Boyer Company. This is a great leap forward for Ogden in brazen public corruption. Perhaps we're ready to join Chicago and Tammany Hall in the Big Leagues!

Enthused Citizen said...

I figured it wouldn't last, a bastion of business sanity wherein the City had not much input and therefore the operation made sense and made money and was traveling the route of success that most businesses strive for. And now, Godfrey has thought up a solution to the reasonable and "not necessary to resolve" to the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." And the lord mayor has fixed it, and most likely, broken it be doing so.

Good old Stu Reid...."he's back, back in the Ogden groove," just like KISS sings about. Not only am I stunned, but I'm lost as to what this guy, this guy who gave us the failed Union Square, the miserable mall renovation plan (word is he "borrowed" the Gateway Mall plans as he fled SLC and p[resented them to Godfrey as his own creation), the Riverwalk where nobody but the Mayor walks, and good old Eminent Domain strapped WalMart, you remember, the land grab from Ogden's citizen's that would allow WalMart a super deal in where it would build a new Super Store.

All of the above are miserable failures, and it only cost us, the taxpayers, $100,000 + (and that + is huge, what with expenses, perks, gas chits, re-imbursements) per year to have. Just look at that string of success.

And don't forget his demeanor...word is that one usually fled from meetings with this guy before they were over or before they were literally kicked out of his office. CityVenture might have a few notes on that, as well as others.

So, here we go, another great, well thought move by the Mayor. Don't know how the City Council is involved, but you can bet the ranch that 5 of em are just jumping with absolute joy over this swell news.

Hopefully, the Boyer Company has some good, strong guidelines in place with "don't tread on me" conditions built into their contract with the city. Maybe than can keep BDO on the surface, rather than letting it go the way that most of Reid's projects have gone. And as a post script: what is this obsession of Godfrey's to hire these guys who have been FIRED by SLC? I just don't get it. And we have people who wonder, as in today's Letters to the Editor's section, why SLC isn't exactly a good friend of Ogden. What a freaking mystery, eh?

ec (2) said...

And one other note: seems like the city employees have a good deal going with Gold's Gym, which will no doubt carry over to the Wreck Center should the contamination issue be cleaned up, and that is their FREE memberships. That's right, FREE MEMBERSHIPS! No cost, no pay, just workout 8 times a month and it's their forever.

Probably a gesture of thanks for the Wreck Center deal, you know the one where we, the citizens, take all of the capital risk while Gold's Gym and Fat Katz take NONE, but they do reap ANY & ALL rewards if this thing ever gets off the ground and flies.

Don't know about you, but I'm glad I"m not a paying member and need to wait in line for those on the gratuity list. No slap at those guys, either, glad for their new found fortune, but it's those behind the scene, the deal makers, that have me scratching my head.

Anonymous said...

Reid is no longer a City employee. As a Contractor to the City, it would seem he is entitled to keep the severance package.

Bonnie Lee said...

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul
can always depend on the support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw

RudiZink said...

Anonymous: "Reid is no longer a City employee. As a Contractor to the City, it would seem he is entitled to keep the severance package."

Oh, I see. The Mayor's office and Council voting block would adopt the highly-legalistic position that Mr. Reid's return to the Ogden city gravy-train will be as a "contractor," rather than a mere "employee." Thus there technically would be no "re-hiring," is what you're suggesting, I guess.

Good luck selling that one to the citizens of Ogden with a council election coming up. I'm SAS not buying it.

If the council's smart, it'll approve Mr. Reid's new contract, if at all, conditionally upon his "disgorgement" of the "severence windfall" that he received before "involuntariy" walking out the door.

Expect more citizen lawsuits if the City tries to "Mickey Mouse" what amounts to Mr. Reid's de facto re-hiring.

Brother McConkie was right. Ogden City hall smells more like the old Tamaney hall every day, doesn't it?

Thanks for playing.

Next!

Enthused Citizen said...

Yes, anonymous, Ogden City has all sorts of money to throw around. A hundred grand here, a hundred grand there. Good old Stuart Reid gets his $100,000 severance package, just enough to keep him afloat during the transition period from Econ Dev Director to his new role in the city's playbook once again. What is it, about $50,000 per month we've given him before he begins to "earn" (and I use that term "earn" real lightly) about $12,000 per month, plus perks, etc.

Sure he should keep his severance package. He rents an address, but he apparently can't afford a house in our city. I don't know what it is he'll be doing to "earn" his salary, the Boyer Company is in charge at the BDO, but I'm sure they can use his help. Remember, it was Reid who gave us the mall purchase and teardown, the Wreck Center with all of those valuable minerals like OIL for us to clean up, the Union Square where everyone but him was left twisting in the wind until the financials are sorted out by a court, WalMart, where he and Godfrey offered those area residents the opportunity to sell their homes at a nicely reduced price or they's be taken by eminent domain and given to WalMart at a joke of a figure, and the horse stall if you buy a condo in downtown.

Why don't these two clowns, Reid and Godfrey, set an example and buy a condo on 25th Street, move their families down there (Reid might be a bachelor so he could buy a little $145,000 single), and enjoy the ambience of downtown living. Good officers in the military don't ask their troops to do something they wouldn't do. Let's see these two heros stand up to the pump, be counted, and show the rest of us the way. Hell they both have plenty of tax payer's money lining their wallets (besides the Mayor salary, Godfrey makes a bunch of dough as Ex Officer of the RDA and also the MBA). Ya know, they could even walk on over to the Union Depot and vote, along with all of those people from across the viaduct.

This Mayor has no shame. Reid has no scrupples. Five council members: Jorgenson, Safsten, Stephenson, Filliaga, and Burdett openly support Godfrey's EVERY move. The city is $76,000,000 in debt under their leadership. The lower income class and minorities are being threatened with 90 day Rules, Landlord fees, business licenses being pulled, and the list goes on to include a 2 stop, $25,000,000 gondola that will serve some students and skiers but not those who really need mass transit to get to work or the doctor. Everything gawddamned thing is just fine, thankyou. Absolutley no mystery, is there, why SLC and other reasonable businesses stear clear of Ogden?

Moroni McConkie said...

It certainly wasn't my intention to speak evilly of our great patriot Bishop Reid. I fully believe his appointment as BDO Manager is no less noble or distinguished than President Bush's appointment of Michael D. "One Heck of a Job" Brown to FEMA.

dian said...

What happened with the lawsuit, I wonder?

On June 23rd, 2005, Kristen Moulton wrote of a potential lawsuit facing Ogden City from Union Square Associates: "Ogden gets in another fight with 25th Street Developers." There is a law, "Utah's Governmental Immunity Act," which requires that one give a governmental entity a 60 day notice that one is intending to sue it.

Ogden City received one of these letters from Vincent Rampton, the attorney acting on the behalf of Union Square Associates.

Moulton's article in part says:

"Union Square claims the city, acting through Stuart Reid, director of community and economic development, and Scott Brown, the business development manager, engineered the default while negotiating with another developer to take over the property...
  
   ...Among the specific accusations are that the city forced costly deviations
from project plans and interfered with sales of condominiums.
   The city didn't deliver on promises of condo down-payment assistance and favorable financing for prospective buyers, and limited the company's marketing opportunities, Union Square's attorney alleges.
    The city also failed to fund in full the tax increment financing that had been promised, causing a $125,000 shortfall, Rampton's letter says."


On June 30th, we read in the Standard: "Ogden Economic Director Leaving," which told of Reid's "retirement," and said he had had several offers from the private sector.

Since Union Square was and is a property looking for tenants, as is BDO, one wonders at the hiring of Reid to interface with BDO in our interests. If Reid, acting as Ogden City's representative, did indeed interfere with sales, limit marketing opportunities, (!), and not deliver on promised finances, it is unthinkable that he would be hired for a position like this one.

And if it is against city policy policy to re-hire him, the city simply should not do it. He is still Stuart Reid, no matter what hat he's wearing, and the city hires the person, not the hat, in my opinion.

Sort of like, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?"

No??

Anonymous said...

Reference my previous comments concerning the legitimacy of Reid's retention of the severance package: I didn't say I agreed with it, but the way the situation was structured it appears legal. Moral is another thing entirely.

dian said...

The more I think about this, the more I think it might be all wrong. If not all wrong, then highly irregular.

Boyer is hired to manage BDO. If Ogden City is going to hire another contracting company, Reid, Ltd., or whatever it's called, isn't there a process there? This is different than hiring an employee. Shouldn't that outsourcing have been put out to bid? Especially since it is being done by the local government with public money???

Kristen Moulton has written an excellent article with more info in today's Trib: Ogden rehires Reid, this time under contract

amy wicks said...

One point of clarification on the Ogden City Wellness Program regarding gym memberships. The city does pay for the memberships for full time employees, a discounted rate but we still pay a good sum of money for each employee that opts to participate in the program. The gym has to be within Ogden City limits- Lil Audrey's and Curves are other options- but if you don't want to go to a women's only gym (or you are male) your only option is Gold's Gym.

On another note, I need to vent for a moment. I'm tired of finding things out from the newspaper. I read that Kevin Ireland was hired as the new Dinosaur Park manager in the Standard Examiner. I heard officially (there was some grumbling in the rumor mill) that Stuart Reid had been contracted to run BDO from the newspaper. I heard for the first time that the administration was making drastic changes at Union Station last year through the newspaper. I could name many more instances but I won't. My point is, the flow of information to the council is not very good sometimes. Even if it's not an item that requires a decision from the council, sometimes it would be nice to know things before constituents and newspaper reporters are asking questions.

BDO has been doing very well under the management of Kevin Ireland and I am confident he will be an asset to the Dinosaur Park.

I have concerns about severance packages being offered to employees who resign. I can think of better ways to spend limited city funds and I know taxpayers would have concerns about this too. There are many great fire and police department employees who put their lives on the line every day for less than $43,561 each year- the same amount paid to Stuart as he RESIGNED after five years of employment with Ogden City.

Moroni McConkie said...

Dian raises a significant question on the fate of that pending lawsuit by Union Square Associates against Ogden City. Why not email the reporter at kmoulton@sltrib.com and ask? The odds are good that she'll respond. Or you could contact Vince Rampton. If I'm not mistaken, he was also representing the contractors who ultimately brought the involuntary bankruptcy action to salvage the payments due to them. Back at the time of the unrealized Union Square foreclosure sale, I contacted Rampton and found him to be forthcoming. If you're willing to pursue this, surely most WCForum readers would be intensely interested.

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