Updated: Jan 21, 2022
Well, for anyone who’s looking to see what happens when county executives and contractors don’t follow through on their assignment, check out this update on what happened with our ARPA dollars at the 9/28 Board of Supervisors Meeting. Spoiler Alert: Deloitte gets an extra $550,000. Some quick context: ARPA is the American Rescue Plan Act aka money from the feds to build back strong communities in this covid time. The federal government has promised Sacramento County two $150 million payments to be used for covid recovery. While the county is currently guaranteed the first $150 mil payment, there is talk of the second $150 mil not coming through. With the Board declaring racism a thing, and all the talk of equity, here is a real opportunity for the Board to put some actions behind their words. So of course, true to bureaucracy form, there are a lot of rules and regulations that apply to the funding.
Enter Deloitte & Touche LLP. A multi-billion dollar international consulting firm - With 2 Stars on trust pilot, 1.7 on Google, and reviews stating claims of racism and dishonesty. Did I also mention they're currently being sued for negligence? Deloitte works with fortune 500 corporations and government entities. Two places we don’t typically find a ton of social equity.
Earlier this year the Board approved a contract of $615,000 for Deloitte consulting services.
The way it sounds is that it was sold to the board that, for a humble $615,000, Deloitte would lend their experience and relationships to help the county get extra federal dollars, and spend the ARPA funds within the complicated guidelines.
Here's what their contract laid out:
Well folx, over a million dollars later we have a very expensive venn diagram, a lackluster community survey, and have identified the same general categories we’ve been talking about long before COVID.
- Knock Knock
- Who’s There’s?
- The Deloitte Survey
If you saw it, you’d understand why it’s SUCH A JOKE.
There are 1.5 million people in Sacramento County. For 1 million dollars, Deloitte asked 1,500 English-speaking people, generally, what they wanted the county to spend money on. The top two answers:
Housing and Homelessness <Insert BIG SHOCK HERE>
The conversation between the board and county staff
Most of the Board (Everyone except Supervisor Frost) voiced their respectful disappointment with where the first $500,000 went, and with where the next $500,000 is headed. Serna is feeling CARES act deja vu and he doesn’t like it. He kindly said he feels like so far for $615,000 all he’s gotten is the same general information he already knew. Nottoli says he was led to believe that the initial $615,000 would include the full scope of the contract. Serna also asked county counsel if they were sure this contract doesn’t violate contracting for services codes, counsel replied that she didn’t know for sure, but would send the information.
Ann Edwards, Intern County Exec, “explains” that this job is (literally) (at least) twice as expensive as they thought it was going to be. Most every question asked of staff was met with “I don’t know, but I’ll send you the information” (conveniently away from the public hearing about the matter). Edwards stands behind the Deloitte contract and said they’ve been very helpful.
Now granted that the BOS didn’t even look at their then $615,000 (now over $1 million) survey before it went out, it’s fair to say we can’t expect them to be keeping a responsible eye on Deloitte.
Public comment backed up what the supervisors were saying. Our own Kula Koenig called in and expressed the need for the Board to do more than just ask good questions. Action is needed for real change. Another question is - why aren't county staff and local organizations being called on to do this community outreach work?
At the end of the item number, in spite of everyone's apprehension, the Board unanimously voted to approve giving Deloitte another $550,000. And if they don’t see a return on the investment then “people will keep asking about it”
Questions - you could email your supervisor today: 1. What is the list of other federal funding opportunities Deloitte is bringing to the table? How much do they amount to?
2. Is this contract in violation of Sec. 71J. Contracting for Services?
3. When will Deloitte have County staff be up to date on the “rules of the road” with how to handle federal COVID dollars?
4. Will you approve giving more money to Deloitte?
So the county has officially spent our first $1 million in ARPA Covid Relief funds!
.....And it went to what’s got to be one of the most expensive 1500 participant surveys done by a multi billion dollar international 2 star consulting firm.