Thom Shepard Reports on Governors Commission RFP Release Dates

Thom Shepard reports on the Governors Commission Contracts and Proposals Committee meeting held October 23rd at Brookhaven Bank. Release date of RFP decided.



As many of you probably know by now, I have been very interested in the RFP process of privatizing public services since I became involved with the City Chattahoochee Hill Country, now the City of Chattahoochee Hills, in 2007.

During the election process for Chatt Hills I attended candidate training seminars, interviewed all of the candidates for City Council and Mayor and introduced all of those who were interested to the concepts of contemporary zoning reform and sustainability oriented legal tools and models.  Both in Chattahoochee Hills and Dunwoody, late in the races, the discussion shifted from zoning and planning and the vision for the future of the city to police services and politics as usual and who could raise the most cash, put up the most signs and send out the most mailers or robo calls.

While community policing is very important, most of these issues will be decided by the police chief hired and the budget allowed.  We will start with a modest police force and hopefully grow it, but more importantly we must employ the many methods common around the country today of creating environments that are safe and friendly to citizens of all race, culture and income and at the same time using code enforcement and community involvement to discourage criminals from inhabiting our community.  I am confident that all of the city council representatives will succeed in attracting a great police chief, and since this will explicitly not be privatized, we will have a local and trusted community police department.

Since Sandy Springs more or less invented the modern concept in Georgia of forming a city, out of a large chunk of sprawling metropolis in a rapid time frame and with privatized services, there has been a lot of argument and healthy discussion as to the best way to issue contracts and implement this process.

It is now conventional wisdom that the way all of the cities before us have started their initial services on day one is rather crude compared to the level of sophistication they have achieved today.  In starting our city in the fall of 2012 we really have the benefit of all of this knowledge and understand of what works well and what might create limitations on our public leaders in providing the highest quality of services at a fair and equitable price.  Please be aware, cheaper is not always better for the city in the long run and this is a very important decision to be made for our city council and mayor.

Once again the initial leaders of the cityhood movement, those who worked tirelessly for 30 years or more to take away the power to sprawl, with no concern for sustainable models, from County Commissioners, has become the leader in refining the RFP process.  The City of Sandy Springs has invested a lot of time and money in creating a much better RFP process that they used in their recent re-bid effort for private contractors providing city services.  This model will allow much more flexibility for the City Council, Mayor and City Manager to adjust services with our revenue and growth We will have the option now to expand or contract our government based on economic conditions and city growth in ways that none of the other initial city contracts could allow.  It also gives us much more flexibility in changing vendors in a way that will likely attract better service providers that know they will be held accountable for both short and long term quality of services.

I want to offer a sincere thanks to Eden Freeman and the City of Sandy Springs for making this body of work a part of the formation of our future City of Brookhaven. 

Just before the Governors Commission was formed I felt like I was in the dark on all of these issues depsite my rather strong background of related knowledge and my requests to Brookhaven Yes Inc. to participate.  Since the Governors Commission has organized, from 5 people who did not even know they would be the members until the end of August, it very quickly became clear they would do their best to start our city on the most ethical, transparent and legal foundation possible in such a short period of time.  I must repeat, they have done a stellar job, as have the large group of very dedicated volunteers from within and from outside of the City of Brookhaven.

In fact what they have accomplished has exceeded my expectations for the quality of the RFPs and this work will have a dramatic influence on the potential quality our privatized services.  The level of transparency, professionalism and legal standards, due to the requirement of the Governors Commission to follow open meetings rules, has changed the standard for city start-up.

While the shorted time-line, in combination with this open meetings requirement, put huge pressure on volunteers, their families and their professional lives, to accomplish basically six months worth of volunteer open meetings governed work in one month, somehow they have pulled it off with, in my opinion, a fantastic result.  Sure there is a lot that could have been added to the process, including much more public involvement but I believe those selected by the governor have collectively done their best to serve Brookhaven honorably. Additional public involvement would have happened to a higher level if the volunteer commission had been given financial resources to hire professionals, or contract with public relations and social media service providers, or just had more time to focus on that part of the process before having to jump head long into producing the RFPs.  But I feel they did the best possible job, came together, reached out to the public immediately, held regular public meetings, got releases to the press, etc. and attracted and involved fantastic experts, professionals and community volunteers in the process.

Which brings us to last night and the Special Called Meeting of the Contracts and Proposals Committee of the Brookhaven Governors Commission.

They decided formally that they would release the RFPs for public consideration on Friday October 26th for contractors that will bid on providing services to the future City of Brookhaven, to be formally incoporated on December 17th, 2012.

I am assuming that it is possible that some RFPs might not be ready by Friday for release but that at this time it is expected that they will be.

There will NOT be a required pre-bid conference.  All questions from vendors about the RFPs will be submitted by email and all relevant questions will answered publicly, including the question, for all of the vendors bidding to be able to see. I personally, after hearing arguments and legal opinions, think this is the best decision in our case and due to the conformity of these contracts to Federal standards and the familiarity now of contractors to these RFP models due to the previous city re-bids.

The deadline to respond to RFPs will be at a specific time and address on November 23rd, 2012.  I will ask that you check with the Governors Commission website or attend their  Regular Meeting of the Governor’s Commission on the City of Brookhaven @ St. Martin's Episcopal Middle School Atrium Room 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm, to verify these details.


I am very confident that the legally required privacy of this contacting process will be achieved at the highest standard, as will the evaluation of these RFPs by a confidential committee.  This is a legally necessary step that will then allow for the release of these evaluations and RPFs to the newly elected officials, and to the public, in a way that ensures the highest quality of fairness to all vendors and the highest standard of transparency to the citizens of Brookhaven.

Thank you again to all of the professionals and volunteers who have turned what I felt was a very secretive process of city implementation, led by J Max Davis and his core Brookhaven Yes Inc. team, into a remarkably accessible to the public effort.  An effort that has been successful in making the Brookhaven City start-up the best yet, despite our remarkably late start on the public RFP effort, and thankfully without the need to rely on a private contractor for this part of the process. This has allowed us a bidding process unlike Dunwoody under Boyken International that will be as public and transparent as possible as it will remain completely under government open meetings and open records requirements.

Note: With respect to Brookhaven Yes Inc. I have to make a very clear distincition between the Parks team and the rest of Brookhaven Yes Inc.  The Parks Team of BYI has always been the hardest working, most organized, most productive and most transparent of organizations.  This statement about Parks, which I am confident others who have been involved with all of the previous city startups will agree with, has not just been the best in Brookhaven, but the best of all the cities yet. 

The BYI Parks Group has raised the bar for community involvement in city formation to a whole new level in so many ways.  Their effort should become the standard for how we involve the public and can accomplish a very large body of work for the city with volunteer, but very professional resources.  In saying this I don't want to minimize the strong efforts and work of many others in the formation of Brookhaven, their involvement and work is invaluable.  But Parks set the standard for leadership and the kind of character, determination and transparency we should be looking for not just in our public officials but those in our community who we look to for leadership, consult and advice outside of our elected officials.

I will go further to say that their influence changed the whole character of our start-up and fostered and encouraged the great civic involvement that spilled over into all of the committees.

My hat is off to all of you who have been a positive, productive influence in the process of forming this new democratic and republican form of government we will soon call the City of Brookhaven.

As I am finding in person, Brookhaven has already become a much greater entity than any legal boundaries or politicians can define.  It is now a stronger and more connected community that I am proud to call my home and where I want to focus my personal work of Conservation, Preservation and Urban Design going well into the future.

Have a Great Day!


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Be Good To Your Brothers October 27, 2012 at 11:39 PM
'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides with the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon those with great vengeance and with furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know that my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.' Be good to your brothers for you are your brothers keeper.
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 01:07 AM
BTW Thom: "I DID NOT 'de-activate' my campaign."---Thom Shepard I know you didn't. It's others who have tried to make it appear that you did. Several times now. Even at the beginning. Try taking a look just past those you "respect." Then follow the strings. Eventually, it does seem you could 'muck up' the electronic tallies.
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 01:25 AM
"Be good to your brothers for you are your brothers keeper."---God Yeah. You're right. I did have to tell Thom that if he didn't care about my concerns as voter there could be no reason for me to care about his concerns as a candidate. Not that I don't care but I repent. He will certainly get my prayer.
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 02:10 AM
"Mr. Thom, respectfully, a serious candidate for the position of mayor would have stated their concerns..."---Hamburger Might have even asked what their electorate's concerns might be. I'm just glad I didn't tell him my biggest concern. Just what is he looking at in his photo?
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 02:18 AM
"And frankly of the 3 there are only 2 legitimate choices."---Let's Make Brookhaven Great Ain't it something? Where, on the national level, we have the Democrat that should be jail, and here on the local level we have... Well? What can one say?
TomMiller October 28, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Thom Do yourself a favor, completely ignore don gasbaggo.
Enuff Govt Already October 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM
@Drost. I'm not referring to the adjudication but rather the investigaiton. The DeKalb Police began this investigation and saw it through to the prosecution. I commend them for doing the right thing knowing that people would not look beyond the headline. My opinion and question is how a small department like the one planned for B'haven will first recognize a problem if one develops, take the appropriate action (remember they were investigating their boss) and move to regain the publics' trust. If you have and opinion on the subject I would like to read about it.
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Mr. don Gabacho, There you go again, trying to put words into my mouth. I never said that I don't care about your concerns, I simply said that on this blog posting if you mix misinformation with your questions then I can not reply to you directly at all, as if I did I would thus, even if answering to valid concerns, give qualification to your misinformation or unfounded accusations against me. You have to realize that by charter much of work the task forces did WILL NOT be in the Governors Reports to City Council. That work will remain a useful tool, where it has been done well, but will have to be presented independently to City Council, the City Manager or Mayor after the Governors Commission is dissolved. Let it be known that as soon as a quorum (any three elected officials) of the Brookhaven Government is seated the Governors Commission will be dissolved and the only remnant of it will be a committee to archive the documentation created during the process. <<<continued>>>
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 02:35 PM
<<<continued>>> Let it also be known that most of what the Governors Commission will be recommending in their reports and the RFPs will be the basics needed to transition from DeKalb County municipal code, law and service providers to our own. Initially very little will be different as legally it would be very difficult to change much without a challenge. The intent of our attorney and the Governors Commission is to make this transition as transparent and free of legal challenge as possible. Only after we have a functioning government that is basically providing, under the same muni-code (albeit cleaned up substantially semantically), the same services and requirements of DeKalb County that we can, thru a very public process begin to reform our Government into the vision we will have for the future. Many of the "major changes" some think will happen at day one will simply not happen, and can not legally. In about March we will send our an RFP for the Brookhaven Comprehensive Plan, which as I have been told, by law must be completed in the first year. This is when the very public creative process will begin of shaping our future and when the real test of our City Council and Mayor will begin. This is when we will find out who understands Transfer of Development Rights, Form Based Codes, Zoning Reform and how development can be a healthy agent of Preservation and Conservation. <<<continued>>>
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 02:44 PM
<<<continued>>> So while everyone wants to argue about police, I think most of these decisions will be made by a highly competent and professional Brookhaven Police Chief. It is very important and my experience with law enforcement, code problems and community enforcement in South Atlanta I feel will be very valuable. We also have to remember that much of our legal system is still DeKalb County. We will not have District Attorney or criminal courts. We will still rely on their Marshall's Office and Sheriffs office, and serious crimes will be prosecuted through their court system with their judges. The only area we will be replacing is the DeKalb Police Department that while they still will have jurisdiction in Brookhaven will likely not be here very often. This is one of the strange twists of the State of Georgia of having given what was previously a municipal authority to the County. DeKalb County Police, as I have been told from authority I respect, have an overlap of jurisdiction over Brookhaven that would not apply to say another city police force. In the distant past Counties could only have Sheriffs and Marshall's and this was not an issue. It was a more modern construct of large sprawling metropolitan counties to allow them to have a police force.
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Dear "Be Good To Your Brothers and Keeper", Thank you for beginning our Sunday morning with this fine words of wisdom.
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Dear "Be Good To Your Brothers", Anyone who knows me in person, knows clearly that I would never post anonymously with respect to my own political campaign or any campaign for that matter of which I was closely related. Due to some of the nastiness allowed by The Patch under news articles and blogs I fully understand why some people would post anonymously. Nastiness that our former editor Kiri was not allowing I might add. She was allowing heated and tough debate but was clearly moderating unsubstantiated accusations and all round nastiness. But frankly if there are any candidates, or close allies of candidates, posting under a fictitious name, unless they are just posting basic public facts or clarifying errors, I find this to be a very unhealthy practice and find it quite sad that The Patch even allows this kind of anonymous discussion on such serious issues. It has clearly clouded the waters with respect to fact and has reduced the Patch from a credible news source to simply just another blog in the bloggosphere of questionable facts.
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Let me actually go further to say that there is no one I am aware of who is posting on my behalf under a name that is not publicly known. I simply do not know who anyone is who is using a fictitious name on the patch and I consider everything they say to be potentially false until I am able to verify it with a credible source or fact. I would not allow anyone associated with my campaign for mayor to post with anything short of their full name or a name that clearly states they are a campaign representative.
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Forwarded from Chad Boles, http://brookhaven.patch.com/events/candidate-fair-at-briarwood-park#video-11928001 All, Attached is the video on Brookhaven Patch announcing the Candidate Fair at Briarwood Park Tuesday evening, 10/30 from 6:30-8 pm. Candidates will set up around the gymnasium for one-on-one conversations with participants. Feel free to swing by for a moment and tour Briarwood Park. Please forward this to your neighborhood intranet moderators. Thanks for your interest in Briarwood Park. Chad Boles, CFP® President Friends of Briarwood Park www.briarwoodparkGA.org http://www.facebook.com/BriarwoodParkRevitalizationProject Contact Evelyn Ellington at Briarwood Park 404-679-5911 Park Open: Mon-Fri 11-6, Sat 10-2 Bring your toddler playgroups - basketball, volleyball, tennis and swim teams - Domino and Bridge Tournaments - neighborhood assocation meetings Go Briarwood Bulldogs!
Eric H October 29, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Yea Thom just ignore all these posters. Its only a 3 or 4 people posting the samee stuff over and over again under different names. Mr. Darnell is the regional editor and probably doesn't have time to monitor all the boards The patch is a fairly low budget enterprise so I guess chalk it up to you get what you pay for
DontgooglemeHamBurger October 29, 2012 at 12:12 PM
"t has clearly clouded the waters with respect to fact and has reduced the Patch from a credible news source to simply just another blog in the bloggosphere of questionable facts." Thom Shepard Anyone who might think of Patch as a credible news source is seriously disillusioned, with respect to comments only. Patch has a somewhat Progressive or left or center tilt, but not anything that would cloud the credibility of it's writers. The public reading and commenting on Brookhaven Patch range from a few, very frequent posters, to those who actually post under their real names, and then a few that drop in periodically. HamBurger, in particular, has a nasty habit that mirrors 'oppo-research' behavior, as evidenced above by this post: "Mr. Mark, you on the other hand, are quite the powerful speaker! http://tinyurl.com/9qaz4fr" which has no basis, in fact. HamBurger attacks virtually anyone who posts their real name and opposes making Brookhaven better. The list of who has a capacity for such a prolonged campaign is short. My guess would be an IP address with a .gov extension. Anyway, Thom's comments represent what most readers simultaneously abhor and crave in blog posts - Salacious gossip mixed with important nuggets of information. It is up to each reader to know that is what you get on B'haven Patch.
DontgooglemeHamBurger October 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM
"Oppo-research" is a slang term for opposition research, which is the trade-craft practiced by political operatives. Don't be easily misled, a good oppo-researcher is who comes up with 'key-hole' tapes of Mitt Romney discussing the "47%" or the President in an embarrassing sidebar with Putin, explaining his intentions AFTER the elections. Or 'ethics fine' revelations...that are largely nonsense in the context of a person's character.
Jack of Kings October 29, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Thom-- am I to understand that you "suspended" your campaign for mayor, continued to participate in forums as if you were still a candidate (but still voluntarily suspended) and NOW you have reactivated your campaign and in full swing? Are you going to have an Open Letter published by all the media outlets on the status of your campaign back to "Reactivated?" I must say I do not believe I have ever seen this strategy--however clever-- of garnering attention when suspending your campaign. And then increase your activity AFTER the campaign suspension. Lots of FREE attention. Have you been campaigning door to door too? Or is that too much to do? It is easier to blog than meeting the people door to door. But maybe you are working out there to hear what the voters want like the other candidates that have always known they wanted to be mayor--and never suspended their interest in being mayor. I must admit it is a clever way to minimize your committment to running for mayor, but still have the possibility of you getting enough votes for a runoff--sort of the "non-candidate" candidate. Do you know James Carville?
Thom Shepard October 29, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Phil, On October 3 I said I was going to withdraw the next day to be able to volunteer on the Governors Commission. By the next day I was encouraged not to do so, to the point I decided not to withdraw my name. I decided to put my public campaign efforts on hold to focus on the work of the RFPs with the Governors Commission that at that point had hardly started and could have potentially gone in a very bad direction. I could simply not walk away and not make sure that process went well. Fortunately we had some fantastic professionals volunteer their time to get us caught up and then exceeded all of the other cities in the model we now have for a startup. Thank you, to all of the volunteers who made this happen as it was far from a foregone conclusion. <<<continued>>>
Thom Shepard October 29, 2012 at 08:51 PM
<<<continued>>> On October 4th I made if very clear I was keeping my name on the ballot and would not withdraw from the race and that was reported in the media.. I then stated clearly in a press release why I was doing this and I do not regret my decision. I now know more about the work of the Governors Commission work and the RFPs than any of the other candidates. Much of the reporting on me and my campaign status by many of the major news journals has been in error, without checking sources, without contacting me. That is beyond my control. I have contacted them and they choose to let it stand. So you are more than welcome to criticize me all you like for the decisions I have made, but please do not state facts that are false. Due to your mixing of fact and fiction, in your defense some has been perpetuated by the media, I can not respond to the rest of your post.
Joe The Plumber October 29, 2012 at 09:23 PM
It saddens me that many of those who are running for office now and who are suddenly incredibly interested in your opinion [and ironically your vote] were not talking to you before they paid their fee and mounted a campaign for office. I am eager for this process to be completed, however, I think that we will all have to pay very close attention to the new layer of government that will be installed December 17th. It will require a new level of committment on all of our parts. Joe the Plumber
don Gabacho November 02, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I think most of us running believe that we should not rush starting any service but that we should start them all as soon as practical. The RFPs we ended up with give a lot of flexibility to scale up, scale down and..."---Thom Shepard Shouldn't you be crediting Eric for scripts as these?
don Gabacho November 02, 2012 at 09:17 PM
"There is no change to the November 23 due date for submitting bids by vendors with respect to the RFPs let."?----Thom Shepard Opened by the commission or kept sealed?
don Gabacho November 02, 2012 at 09:43 PM
"...There you go again, trying to put words into my mouth.,.."----Thom Shepard Tell us, how is your not addressing the concerns I even enumerated putting words into your mouth? Much less proof that , as you have since claimed, you "care about my concerns"---while even still not addressing the enumerated concerns? I don't care what you care about. I want the enumerated queries answered.
don Gabacho November 02, 2012 at 09:46 PM
"Its only a 3 or 4 people posting the samee stuff over and over again under different names."---Eric You and who else? Besides Thom?
don Gabacho November 02, 2012 at 10:02 PM
"On October 3 I said I was going to withdraw the next day..." Because it is disallowed for any one working on the commission to be a cadnidate. We understand. "...to be able to volunteer on the Governors Commission...." "...By the next day I was encouraged not to do so, [at] to the point I decided not to withdraw my name..." To remain a candidate. We understand. "I decided to put my public campaign efforts on hold..." You decided not to be a candidate. "...to focus on the work of the RFPs with the Governors Commission..." To work with the commission. "...that at that point had hardly started and could have potentially gone in a very bad direction. I could simply not walk away and not make sure that process went well.... How noble. "...Fortunately we..." Meaning yourelf and the commssioners. "...had some fantastic professionals volunteer their time to get us... "Us as you and the commissioners." "...caught up and then exceeded all of the other cities in the model we now have for a startup. Thank you, to all of the volunteers..." Thanking them as Thom Sherpard having worked with the commssion."----Thom Shepard Tell us Thom, why must temporary yard signs follow the rules but not temporary Thom? You never did state exactly when did you stop working with the commissioners to again be a candidate. Given your reports, I'd say never.
Jack of Kings November 02, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I am thinking of voting for Mr. Shepard, but I am afraid that if he won, he might suspend his term as Mayor, but not withdraw.
Thom Shepard November 03, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Mr. don Gabacho, You can quote my words and add your fictitious additions all day long to try to confuse people as to what was really said add your allegations at will because it is very clear to everyone now that there is no longer any moderation of these wide open blogs. But so long as you continue to skew facts and plainly make up ideas and attribute them as if they were facts I will not answer any of your questions that are mixed in with these efforts at grey propaganda. But of course it seems your intention has never been to engage in a dialogue but instead to make sure that Brookhaven Patch has high click ratings so it will look good to the higher ups at AOL.
don Gabacho November 03, 2012 at 06:11 PM
"You can quote my words and add your fictitious additions..."----Thom Shepard "Fictitious additions"? "Fictitious" only to one not living in the real world. "... ll day long to try to confuse people as to what was really said..." Pointing out what your post said, is not me confusing anyone. "...add your allegations..." You have gone from "insinuation," to "implication" to now "allegation" while still not stating just what mysterious "insinuation," "implication" and now "allegation." Still avoiding addressing my still enumerated and unanswered queries by your insinuating, implying and now alleging that they can not be the queries they remain. "...for at will because it is very clear to everyone now that there is no longer any moderation of these wide open blogs...But of course it seems your intention has never been to engage in a dialogue but instead to make sure that Brookhaven Patch has high click ratings so it will look good to the higher ups at AOL." How utterly, but typically, absurd.
don Gabacho November 03, 2012 at 06:25 PM
"It saddens me that many of those who are running for office now and who are suddenly incredibly interested in your opinion [and ironically your vote]..."Joe the Plumber "Suddenly incredibly interested in your (as in a voter's) opinion? When? When Thom will even still refuse to address long enumerated and valid "concern"? When has Thom ever even asked? To instead deliver this unelected commission/"interim government"'s? A commission which, in fact, has no place in a democracy? Is in fact destructive of democracy? Given the very same transition period, for the very same reasons purpoted, could---and should---have been assigned the 'elected' public officers?


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