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AUSD Pays Political Consultants $150 per hour per Partner

Documents obtained by Action Alameda News through public records requests show that the Alameda Unified School District has been paying political consultants for work since September, 2008, at the rate of $150/hour per partner. The invoices total over $54,000.

Previously we reported that Alameda Superintendent of Schools Kirsten Vital said that the consultants were vital to the development of the master plan for the district, approved by the board on February 23rd. We received the new records in our continuing investigation of the District’s use of these consultants.

Since September of 2008, the District has issued four “open” purchase orders to Oakland political consultants Erwin & Muir, totaling $81,871.59, including a whopping $64,000 open purchase order, #1100404, issued on July 7, 2009. To date, according to the records we received, Erwin & Muir has billed $54,926.37 against those purchase orders. (An open purchase order is so-called because it is a non-specific, standing, order for services from a vendor.) The invoices indicate that Erwin & Muir bills the District at $150/hour per partner.

Most of the invoices have billing dates that predate the corresponding purchase order, indicating that AUSD generated a purchase order to Erwin & Muir after having received an invoice for work completed. For example, purchase order #1092336 was issued on December 12, 2008 in the amount of $1,875, and the corresponding invoice is dated December 2, 2008. All three pages – 2 pages of the invoice, and 1 page of the purchase order – are stamped December 18, 2008.

Purchase order #1091087 has an issue date of August 28th, 2008 for $7,372.90 and it was revised on November 6, 2008 to $7546.59. Attached to those purchase orders in the packet we received is an Erwin & Muir invoice from August 11th, 2008 for $7,372.90 and a second invoice dated September 15, 2008, for $7,546.59.

Previously, Superintendent Vital told Action Alameda News that AUSD has no written contract with Erwin & Muir regarding their ongoing services.

The services performed for the District by Erwin & Muir range from:

Date: 8/15
Hours: 2 hours (1 hour/partner)
Meeting with Superintendent Dailey

Date: 8/18
Hours: 2 hours
Preparation of mailing to Alameda Property owners regarding Measure H

Date: 11/20
Hours: 1 hour
Draft Kirsten Vitale [sic] Press Release

Hours: 30 minutes (15 minutes per partner)
Call with Superintendent’s [sic] Vital to discuss April letter

to $1,277.72 for a ten-thousand piece mailing of 6×9 “Alameda Schools Master Plan Mailing Postcard.”

Previously, Ms. Vital had told Action Alameda News that AUSD’s work predates her arrival at the District, and the records would seem to back that up. However, the lion’s share of the value of purchase orders issued – $74,325 out of $81,871.59 have come during Vital’s tenure.

Erwin & Muir has another $26,945.22 they can bill against open purchase orders issued to date.

1 comment to AUSD Pays Political Consultants $150 per hour per Partner

  • I was partner and creative director for “Lazzari & Green Advertising” for 20 years, and even in the ’90s, when we billed our top national client, West Coast Life Insurance, $120 an hour, it wasn’t “per partner.” Such language simply obfuscates the fact that Erwin & Muir is billing, and getting, “$300’hour, which is rather steep, even in the rarified atmosphere of “political consulting.”

    They also have a much more strict timer on their telephone than we ever had. All this so they can soak the Alameda schools at the maximum rate, working for a Superintendent who is clueless and naive when it comes to politics, especially the temper of the times in Alameda!

    Not Again! Too soon, too much! Vote No on Measure E for “Egregious.”


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