City of Grants Pass and irresponsible spending

City of Grants Pass and irresponsible spending

Grants Pass, Oregon. —A contract entered into by the city of Grants Pass and a contractor under the DBA Experience Grants Pass has produced very little results, and the city so far has experienced nothing for their money. In the contract under the title Purpose it says;

The City of Grants Pass is seeking assistance from an experienced Marketing and Public Relations partner in directing future marketing and public relations efforts, Including, web and social media, in an aggressive and comprehensive manner.

Our goal is to strengthen awareness, nationally and statewide, the City’s attributes and offerings as a top vacation destination with an ultimate goal to attract more visitors. It is the City’s intent to provide a focus in key visitor markets with a well- coordinated marketing and public relations plan that will leverage partner efforts and best maximize exposure across all media platforms. It is imperative to determine the most effective use of designated public dollars while achieving these goals.

This contract runs from July 1 2014 to June 30th 2017. One item that has surfaced is the new branding for the city of Grants Pass called “Live Rogue”. In a poll conducted by the Daily Courier they asked what people think of the new branding and here’s their response;

What do you think of the new “Live Rogue” logo for the city of Grants Pass?

I like it ……………………. (80 Votes, 17%)
I don’t like it …………… (336 Votes, 72%)
Undecided ………………. (48 Votes, 10%)

As one can see this is not a favorable logo to the majority of pollers. When the contractor Jon Bowman has been paid $269,326.00 from 06/27/2014 to 05/26/15 at $24,166 a month one should expect results that are more tangible. The contractor was also given $62,000 directed to fund and operate the welcome center. His quarterly reports show no accountability for his spending. He is supposed to have purchased computers and other office needs but instead employees are asked to bring their own computers to work.

According to the recent damage control article by the Daily Courier when asked about the Live Rogue concept and the contract with Jon Bowen, councilor Lilly Morgan had this to say:

The council has not received quarterly reports from Experience Grants Pass. She and other councilors are anxious to receive an annual report some time after July 1 that will detail what the city has received for its money. “I know a big portion of the money was spent on Art Along the Rogue and I know there has been a lot of promotional stuff with a lot of articles,” Morgan said. “I just want to see what’s been done to be sure.”

Funny thing is councilor Morgan has not done her homework because there were three quarterly reports sent to me from David Reeves, which look more like a daily planning schedule and not an accounting of any monies, production, or results thereof.

Quarterly reports are a condition of the contract and the contractor is to provide an annual report to the Grants Pass City Council according to the contracts verbiage no later than January 31 on its previous year’s activities.

My questions for councilor Morgan is how do you know a big portion of that money was spent on Art Along the Rogue if you have not seen any reports or receipts? How do you know there are lots of articles and promotional stuff as you put it, if you have not seen them yet? Where do people find those articles and promotional stuff you mentioned?

And a big portion of 290,000 dollars would be equal to say conservatively twenty-five percent, which would be equal to 72,500 dollars spent for AAR so where are the receipts and how can it cost that much for chalk art work, vendors, and some live music?

An amendment to the contract was done on June 3 of this year which under this amendment the contractor is to deploy the “Rogue Allure” (In room hotel travel channel) concept under the terms of the contract with no additional compensation. (The concept was not deployed). He is also free to develop the concept in other geographical areas and the city shall have no claim to the concept elsewhere nor shall the city have any right to claim revenue from contractor for such use elsewhere. Therefore, the concept will not be exclusive to Grants Pass but it sets Jon up for future work somewhere else.

Do the city council members and the public have to wait a whole year to find out if they were taken for a ride?

According to one accounting firm, the quarterly report should show receipts, money expenditures and results of activities like, pictures, video, and where to find it all, so the spending and progress can be monitored every quarter.

The Courier said this in their article about the contract;

Grants Pass advertised for a private company to provide tourism services early in 2014, and it received three applications. Bowen’s company was deemed to be best suited and in May 2014, the City Council authorized city staff to negotiate a contract with Bowen’s company.

Where did that ad appear if Grants Pass advertised it? According to inside sources, city staff and the Tourism Committee failed to notify any bona fide, credible Marketing and Public Relations agencies in the area, with over a dozen contacted, none had been notified.

Karen Frerk, City Recorder, said only four RFPs (request for proposal) were given out: Town Center Association, Chamber of Commerce, Apple Box Media, and Media Makers. TCA were eliminated, because they only wanted to operate the Downtown Visitors Center.

Evaluation of Proposals, April 29, 2014

(p. 113) According to minutes of Tourism Committee meeting: Only 5 of 11 Tourism Committee members were present. (Not a quorum). Only four members were “Reviewers”, identified as A, B, C, D, in the Staff Report. Also in attendance were Aaron Cubic and David Reeves. Only three proposals were considered: Chamber of Commerce (Colene Martin), Media Makers (Jon Bowen), and Apple Box Media (Jess Webb).

General discussion was to be followed by phone calls to each of the proposers; proposers (Colene Martin, Jon Bowen, and Jess Webb), were asked to be by their phone during the meeting.

1. General Discussion (pre phone calls) Meeting notes: Apple Box & Media Makers were tied for first but committee had not finished scoring.
2. Pre-arranged appointments for Phone Interviews with Applicants; Applicants were instructed to be sitting by phone during meeting.
3. Colene Martin waited by her phone at the pre-arranged appointment time for 90 minutes, Tourism Committee failed to contact her and include her in the phone interviews. Meeting minutes state: “Colene Martin – Chamber of Commerce, did not call” (meaning that they did not call her) p. 115 Note: Aaron Cubic and David Reeves in attendance at the meeting failed to insist that the Chamber be called.

Jon Bowen made several claims to his eligibility for the contract;

Claim 1: Won an Emmy

EMMY organization (5/20/2014-New York, David, and 5/19/2014-Los Angeles, Barrie) does not have a record of an EMMY won by Jon Bowen. NY (Daytime Emmy’s) does have a record of a nomination by a technical team of six, which included Jon Bowen, but no Emmy won.

Claim 2: Produced Project ALERT for Hilton Conrad Foundation for the past twenty years.

Executive Director of Project Alert since its inception, Bridget Ryan, (5/20/2014) said that Jon Bowen had originally been working for Wind Chimes Video, and she then hired him (1992) to produce six classroom and several instructional videos. Jon did not “produce Project Alert.” His most recent video work was editing some old videos, adding Spanish subtitles, etc., in 2010. About a year and a half ago, Jon did some work compressing videos into DVDs. He has also arranged for the printing of brochures and posters; he did not do the design or write the content.

Claim 3: “Currently producing Rogue Allure, an in-room hotel travel channel”.

A survey of Grants Pass motels showed that most motels had never heard of “Rogue Allure”. One motel owner said that Jon Bowen had been to see him about a year & a half ago, but never followed up. All motel owners said that having one motel/hotel channel was impossible because there were multiple providers (Charter, DirecTV, satellite, etc.) and each motel had different channel offerings.

Claim 4: Promoting Grants Pass with tagline “It’s Undeniable.”

This tagline has been a failure and most shops have taken the sticker off their door or window. The tagline was confusing to most people and met with a “Huh?” response. The videos produced were poorly written, badly lit, and amateurish.

Claim 5: Experienced expert in website design

On the Media Makers website, there are four examples of website skills. Two of the websites are Jon Bowen’s restaurants (Jimmy’s and Roux 26), the other two are for Copeland. According to the website under new projects, Media Makers is now producing Rogue Allure, an in-room hotel travel channel.

Finally, Steve Dahl formerly involved in the tourist trade here said he managed four fortune five hundred companies which turned out to be a lie, became city manager of Phoenix and hired Laurel Sampson (the fired city manager before Cubic) as advisor while Aaron Cubic got his job because his parents were friends with former Grants Pass City Manager, Laurel Sampson.

Have you read any of this in the Daily Courier?

Upcoming Articles:

NWV will reveal how your high paid public servants want to:

1- Put meters on your well to monitor your water consumption.
2- The power company (working with the government) will install (by force) a Smart Meter on your house so they can monitor your electric consumption.
3- Fine you for burning wood to heat your home for polluting the air
4- Charge you for every mile you drive your gasoline or electric powered car.
5- Confiscate food storage from the people during a manufactured or natural crisis.
6 – Create a snitch society to turn your neighbor in for anything that the government deems inappropriate. (It’s called, “See something say Something”)
7- Create Community Oriented Policing.

All they need to accomplish this is your money and blind trust.

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