Council Agenda/ Video contract problems/November #28, 2018


Hello,


I hope all business and non-profit owners and managers will read the account about the video produced for the City before making a decision about buying ads or a vid.

Some consternation about a contract the City signed with a communications company has arisen and I go into it in some depth. The company will produce free videos to be posted on the city website and they will sell ads that accompany the video. They will be in town signing up people next week.

Kelly Galligan, owner of Poco, posted a brief discussion of the larger issue of the City contracting with outside vendors, see her comments at the end of the history. It seems there is a growing philosophical difference in the way the city is operating and how it should operate. It is a worthy discussion to have-without invective and snark hopefully. Much thanks to her for raising the issue.

Get out and vote if you haven't. Ask your friends if they have voted. This election will hinge on participation. If turn out is bad, we're in for some very deep trouble. If turn out is good, we're in for some deep trouble. After the smoke clears on Tuesday we will see how much bullshit and lies hold sway over the populace. If you are a Democrat you can help get people to the polls, call 520 559-8159 or Dem hq 1040 E. Fry. If you are Republican....I'm so sorry the party has left you and cannot be found.

fred

COUNCIL AGENDA (Note meeting is Wednesday not Tuesday) WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2018 AT 7:00 PMbackground here:http://bisbeeaz.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_11072018-275 Of Interest: If you are a glutton for punishment... the entire Jon Sky saga is in the background material including back and forth from lawyers, drawings, pictures, minutes etc. There is also the full report on Bisbee parking done by U of A students, with some interesting ideas. Some inter-departmental budget transfers including a big chunk going into the CM's budget.Council approval is requested by the CM for a contract signed 6 months ago for a free video produced for the city.

INVOCATION:                   

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

MAYOR’S PROCLAMATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

CALL TO THE PUBLIC

 THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WILL BE DISCUSSED, CONSIDERED AND/OR DECIDED UPON AT THIS MEETING:

GENERAL BUSINESS:

1.        ACCOUNTS PAYABLE:  Subject to availability of funds

2.        Approval of the Consent Agenda

A.     Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Session of Mayor and Council held on May 15, 2018 at 7:00PM.  

B.      Approval of the Minutes of the Work Session of Mayor and Council held on May 29, 2018 at 7:00PM.

C.      Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Session of Mayor and Council held on June 5, 2018 at 7:00PM.

D.      Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Session of Mayor and Council held on September 4, 2018 at 7:00PM. 

NEW BUSINESS

3.        Discussion and Possible approval of a Limited Scope Representation Agreement with Flagler Law PLLC for appeal to Board of Adjustment- 429D Laundry Hill.

Britt Hanson, City Attorney

4.        Discussion and Possible approval of Resolution R-18-18; A Resolution of the Mayor and Council of the City of Bisbee, Approving the transfer of Budget Funds within the City of Bisbee Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Budget.

Keri Bagley, Finance Director

5.        Discussion and Possible approval of a Service Agreement with Xpress Bill Pay for Online Bill Pay Services.

Keri Bagley, Finance Director

6.        Discussion/Review and Possible approval of a Contract with CGI Communications for Marketing/Community Video Program.

Robert Smith, City Manager

7.        Discussion and Possible approval of Amendment to Contract with Souder, Miller & Associates for the Tintown Drainage and Paving Phase II Project.

Dwayne Wallace, Operations Manager

8.        Discussion and Possible approval to Purchase 100 Rollouts for the Sanitation Department for a total cost of $6,535.86.

Dwayne Wallace, Operations Manager

9.        Discussion and Possible approval to Purchase Lamp Sleeve Kits from DC Frost Associates, Inc. for the San Jose Wastewater Treatment Plant for a total cost of $6,965.47.

Dwayne Wallace, Operations Manager

10.    Discussion and Possible approval of a License Agreement between Cochise County and the City of Bisbee, authorizing the City exclusive use of the County’s property located at 915 S. Tovreville Road in Bisbee for a period of not less than 25 years.

Robert Smith, City Manager

11.    Discussion and Possible approval of an Agreement with Jacobs for Operational Services at the City of Bisbee Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Robert Smith, City Manager

12.    City Manager's Report:

·         Other current events (No Discussion)

THE CITY of BISBEE VIDEO DEAL

CGI Communications (CGIC) will have representatives in Bisbee next week to sell ads to appear with a series of videos they produced for the City of Bisbee (CoB) under contract. The post-approval of the contract is on the coming council agenda. This is a synopsis....

Some but not all of several concerns raised about this contract: The failure to find someone locally that would do the vids with a similar or other arrangement;The approval is coming to the council several months after a contract has been signed;The pressure tactics of the CGIC sales people;The use of the partnership with the City to sell stuff; The quality of the vids;The tracking/selling info aspect of going on the CGIC website;Is it worth the dough in return for the limited number of eyeballs that the CoB website gets; The larger issue of contracting with outside vendors vs in-house work.(see at end of history) I've done a short history below. Kelly Galligan, owner of Poco, has done much of the research work about CGIC. City Manger Smith has been prompt and generous in his responses to a few concerns I've raised. SOME HISTORY

In March of 2018, City Manager Robert Smith negotiated a contract with CGI Communications (CGIC) for a series of videos to be produced that would be put on the CoB website. The contract was signed April 1 by Jen Luria, Visitor Center Supervisor. The vids would be free to the City and would be paid for by the company selling advertising to businesses and non-profits. The company would also sell their vid services, for a fee, to make individual vid for any entity in Bisbee. Sometimes they offered trades for the vid such as they did with us for Copper City Inn. Ms. Luria sent out a letter to businesses informing them of the opportunity.

Last week I received a message on my business phone from someone at CGI, no info just a callback number. I assumed it was just another cold call selling me stuff I didn’t need for our Inn, and didn’t return the call. A couple days later Kelly Galligan, owner of Poco, who had a phone conversation with a company rep, contacted me with some concerns. She thought the rep was very pushy about using the City’s name to induce her to buy an ad for the vid she hadn’t heard about. She did some research and unearthed some questionable sales tactics. She obtained a copy of the contract from the City (a copy is in the background info to the council meeting). Based on her initial info I also inquired about the company to the CM. He sent me the same six-page memo that she received.

The company, CGIC (not CGI which is an IT company in Canada) has been around for several years and says, on their website, they have produced 200,000 vids for 3100 cities. It's a typical hype site extolling the virtues of partnering with them and showcasing their work for some cities. They have been endorsed by the US conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, as well as number of chambers. They have also done websites for cities. 

They follow the same method, negotiate a contract giving fee vids to cities in exchange for using the city’s name to sell ads and make individual vids for businesses. Often leveraging the 'partnership' with the City on stationary or mentions of 'working for/with the City'. Sometimes they offer an exchange as in the case of our business (see below). Sometimes the cities negotiate a cut in ad revenue.

The formul...they shoot videos, the city puts the vids-usually a series of four or more highlighting different aspects of a city such as schools, econ dev, welcomes, prettiness- on their website. Visitors to the website click on the vid and are taken off the city site to the CGI site, called elocallink.tv, where the vid plays. They therefore have the ability to track you online, potentially selling your info to 3rd party vendors to target ads to your online location such as Google or Facebook.

As a sample check out Douglas, they have six vids, all slow loading (go to douglasaz.gov, then click on video tour). They look as if they were done many years ago when vid was just being used; static, talking heads, pretty scenery, generic. Vids for other cities’ are better, but not much. Go here to see more examples: cgicompany.com

There have been some complaints (in Rochester NY, Naples Fl, Napa CA) although not a lot given the number of services they have provided over the years. The best synopsis of the complaints are here from Mt. Airy NC, courtesy of Ms. Galligan: https://www.mtairynews.com/archive/4403/news-news-50112789-city-board-pulls-plug-on-video-project?fbclid=IwAR1L0m6ILD9_1LQJYK3b47wea8wrT0b8fLkgq

When I contacted the rep that called me, he pitched it and I asked for details. He sent me an offer for my business. ”Our 60 second custom video values at $6,000.00 (!) and we're looking to exchange that for 20-25 nights at your hotel or a 30 second custom video with a value of $3,500 for 13-15 nights. We could also provide a feature of your hotels logo that links back to your official website for $1,500; we'd be looking to exchange that for 8-10 nights stay.”  So they would do what with my rooms? Offer free stays as inducements for other cities to sign with them? Re-rent them? Use as a company perk? It is clear he knew not that I had only three rooms.

In communication with the city manager, he said he wanted this opportunity to promote the City with no cost to residents. He pointed out that businesses and non-profits have a choice to buy in,  In his email to me he stressed that people should have the freedom to choose to participate or not. He also said that it is up to people to make decisions about the quality of the vids and make their choices.  He summarized the contract:

 The City pays no money, The City provides a letter to the community, explaining the program, encouraging businesses and non-profits to consider it  It doesn't matter if any business or non-profit videos are made, CGI can use the City's name "City of Bisbee" when talking about the program and video it produced for the City, and  The City will provide a web link to the video CGIC made for 3 years  

 As the CM said, the City will get the free vids no matter whether ads are sold or not.

From a FB post by Kelly Gallagan about the problems of outsourcing...

The City of Bisbee seems to be operating under the principles of "government-lite", also known as a contract government.

"Contract city is a term that describes a city which contracts with another government, not for profit organization, or a private company to deliver most local governmental services. A traditional full service city, where services are delivered directly by city employees, is the opposite of a contract city."

We've outsourced our vehicle fleet, IT services, wastewater treatment plant operation, and building inspection services (although that last contract may now have been rescinded?). We're contracting with a NY-based company to make a tourism video. What more is in the works? We're hiring non-local outside firms to take on jobs that used to be held by members of our community.

If this is the path we'd like to see our government take, then as a community we need to make that decision. While the city partners with Local First to remind us to spend our grocery money in town to generate tax revenue, they in turn take that money and send it out of town. Is that what we want?

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