Since his Jan. 2 inauguration, Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer has awarded six outside consulting contracts, worth a total of $176,000, to give him more people to carry out his agendas.
All of these contracts circumvented the city’s normal contract-awarding process; all of them bypassed City Council; all but one of them involved members of his campaign and/or transition committees; and one was for the services of a media manager, who council had previously rejected for a city job.
Council members’ responses have ranged from livid to concerned. Several claim it’s all political patronage for those who got Spencer elected, and several say the city could better use the money to hire a badly needed police officer or firefighter.
But Spencer defends the contracts, saying they give him the extra help the administration needs and are the only way the city can plan how to do a better job, which he defines as saving money or raising revenue without increasing tax rates.