By: Diane Benjamin
Earlier this month the City of Bloomington claimed the Public Works party was financed with employee money from vending machine profits: https://blnnews.com/2018/06/04/party-at-public-works/
This one is for vending machine products other than soda: HOI Vending Contract_2004
It says the City will receive a 10% commission on all sales payable once a month. If that is the money Public Works used for their party, they used City money. The contract is with the City of Bloomington, not employees.
Then there is this contract with Pepsi: Pepsi Letter of Agreement_05012004
The contract was in effect for 10 years or until the City had purchased 67,000 – 20 oz cases of Pepsi products. If the 67,000 case had not been purchased in 10 years, the contract remained in force until they did. I received nothing showing either contract ended or was renegotiated. The City received a signing bonus of $50,000 – deemed to apply to the entire length of the contract ($5,000 per year).
Keep in mind I FOIA’d vending machine contracts, not Pepsi’s defunct sponsorship of the former Pepsi Ice Center which was $50,000 per year for naming rights. 67,000 sounds like a lot of product, but break it down. 67,000 / 10 years is 6,700 a year. If employees work 5 days a week for a year that’s 260 days. 6,700/260 is only 26 per day. Vending machines may be located at other places, not just Public Works.
The bottom is:
- Either the City has no up to date agreements for the vending machines at Public Works or I didn’t get them
- The vending machines are located on Public Property which means profits are City money, not the property of public works employees
- Even if employees bought or contracted the machines and bought the products for employees to purchase, profits would still not belong to them since the machines are on City property. That would be like Tari Renner selling artwork from his City office: https://blnnews.com/2014/05/05/pay-to-play-okay-if-nobody-prosecutes/
Renner figured out pretty fast that his announcement was illegal. The last I heard is the artwork is still in his office but buyers are referred to the gallery that placed it there.
Public Works need to change their policy too. Just because it’s always been done this way doesn’t make it legal.
Why did the City of Bloomington not know this?