Mike Rawlings Would Now Like to Have a Word About That Trail Safety Campaign Contract

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So far today we've heard from Ron Natinsky, David Kunkle, City Auditor Craig Kinton and even Mayor Dwaine Caraway about last night's Channel 8 story, which alleged that mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings used his influence as Park Board president to get city officials to hire his friend and former TracyLocke colleague Jake Schroepfer's ad agency for that Happy Trails safety campaign. Now, Mike Rawlings would like to have his say, as I asked his campaign for a statement concerning what he did or didn't do when Park and Rec officials awarded the contract without first issuing a request for proposals.

Without further ado, here is Rawlings's account in full:
In an effort to move quickly to create a safety campaign after a runner was killed on the Katy Trail, the Parks Director asked me to recommend ad professionals who might be willing to work pro bono or for dramatically reduced rates. I gave them the name of three agencies.

Jake:Ferguson, which is one of the firms I recommended, offered to do a portion of the work valued at more than $200,000 for only $24,500 -- this amount included the out-of-pocket expenses of filming and editing three TV ads, radio ads and a web video, so to get these items for only $24,500 is an unbelievable value for the City. The creative director for Jake:Ferguson is nationally-recognized for creating the Crash Test Dummies seatbelt campaign for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and to get this level of experience for our safety campaign was a win for the Parks Department.

I was not involved in awarding them this business, negotiating the cost or the contracts. Those issues are between the firms involved and the City officials responsible for those duties.

It is important to note that Jake:Ferguson was one of five firms who contributed to this campaign. I am not familiar with the other four firms who did the majority of the work, so to accuse me of doling out work to friends is just not truthful. It also is unfortunate that corporate citizens who were willing to step up and donate their services to the City during a time of crisis are now being dragged into the negative attacks of a mayoral campaign.

Nonetheless, the City has a duty to taxpayers and citizens to look into this and make sure that there is complete transparency and that all laws were obeyed.

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89 comments
CliffManorCzar
CliffManorCzar

I was leaning toward Kunkle, Natinsky, Okpa and Rawlings in that order. But now I'm going to write in NotAnotherTaskForce with hopes she/he at least laps Okpa.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

And so NOW we learn that had The Richards Group even been contacted, they would have done the campaign for free rather than charging taxpayers $86,000 the way Jake Ferguson did. Why werent they contacted? Rawlings told Paul Dyer at the city that he was "lukewarm" to Richards Group getting the work. Cant imagine why since Jake Ferguson is a long-time crony of Rawlings. 

And still peopl on this blog crybaby that Rawlings is completely innocent in this fiasco. Next up -- the Dallas Morning News blasts Rawlings in an editorial tomorrow. So much for that endorsement.  

CliffManorCzar
CliffManorCzar

Why does the Dallas Morning News and “big money” endorse Mr. Rawlings. Very incestual….his partners have a lot to gain financially with Mr. Rawlings as Mayor. They are all intermingledon each other’s businesses, board of directors (check out the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance Board – when Mr. Rawlings was homeless czar), etc. What about the taxpayer’s, neighborhood communities, small business owners, etc? People who truly want to see their neighborhoods and economic conditions improvefor the good of the community?

JJ In Dallas
JJ In Dallas

The 70's porno star pic of Rawlings always cracks me up. What even funnier, is that he used it in his own mailings.

Judd D. Bradbury
Judd D. Bradbury

There is a problem here with the bid splitting. The defenses seem to be 1) well city staff was involved 2) big time ad guys sniff at the paltry sum of the ad work. Neither of these defenses excuse or limit the responsibility for a civic minded person to say "Uh no guys that budget splitting thing is common place in the corporate world but we cannot do that down here at the city". This is what a good mayor does. They make the right decision when no one else is looking.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

OKAY so we have the signs the city is going to put up.

Here is the manual of the way the Signs have to meet Federal Standards . And are the ones which are restricted by color and design.

Fed money used to build fed regulations have to be followed.These aren't suggestions they are the rules .

http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs...The city traffic people know /// should have known where to look for the signage that is needed and all they needed to do is check the book and order them or make them in house .http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs... Bike and trail signs are here!

But no they committee up and re-event the wheel !

What a waste!

ANAKALYPSI
ANAKALYPSI

"Move quickly"...who does Rawlings think we are...a bunch of idiots.... that stinks like he does....so he wants to be king of contracts....you know...he needs to hit the Happy Trails right out of politics....WE DO NOT NEED A CROOKED MAYOR IN DALLAS

GoBackToSellingPizzas
GoBackToSellingPizzas

So we're hearing the deflect and parry defense from the advertising professionals. What a surprise. How about all those suburban karate school owners and high school debaters? And, for the record, I'm a Kunklehead.

minimark
minimark

Rumor Alert, so take if for what it's worth as coffee chat:

Rawlings, when he was head of DDB Needham, was a player despite being married. Some young people just starting out in the media business back then are now in high positions in the media business, maybe even at WFAA, and would like to see who they consider a bastard get his comeuppance.

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

What a silly story.

Jake Schroepfer's the former head of Tracy-Locke as well as the former head of DDB Dallas. These are major ad agencies (both since acquired by Omnicom, the 2nd largest ad agency in the world).

A $24,500 project is a rounding error on the list of deals Schroepfer has overseen in his career.

What a total hack job by Channel 8. Pathetic.

Really
Really

The high and mighty "virtuous" folks on this page who think this was a sweetheart deal for Jake:Ferguson have no idea what they are talking about and no idea about the money ad agencies get. As subsequent reports have shown, the pressure to get the campaign done quickly, professionally and at a ridiculously low cost led to Rawlings recommending three agencies that might be willing to help. Does Rawlings, former CEO of the largest ad agency in the southwest have a few friends in the business? Duh. Of course. But it is clear that Mike, who was not a staff member with authority to hire/fire, had nothing but a recommending capacity in the actual decision making process. He has already explained that the "lukewarm" comment about the Richards Group related to that agency perhaps not wanting the job because it paid so little. Of course the WFAA story took that "lukewarm" comment out of context to make their BS story seem snazzier than it really was. If something was amiss in all this, the responsibility lies with the city staff. But since this whole story was a political schlock job from the Natinsky camp, they are trying to smear Rawlings. It's garbage journalism.

GoBackToSellingPizzas
GoBackToSellingPizzas

Redirect and parry. Classic Rawlings. This is as clear a signal of the kind of mayor he will be if elected as we could possibly get. It's amazing that anyone in this day and age (except advertising professionals, suburban karate school owners and high school debaters) would fall for Rawlings' act.

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

The City of Dallas awards no - bid agreement through administrative actions daily.....With this one, you can go to the bank on this statement - Paul Dyer - long time experienced city department head, would not sign off on this administrative action absent the full support and knowledge of Mary Suhm. The administrative action form, must be signed off by the City Manager's office and the City Attorney's Office. Further, administrative actions are routinely reported to the City Council. This is all about politics and someone on the inside of City Hall playing politics in the Mayor's race. Could it be City Hall is worried about a Mayor Rawlings at the helm?

WFAA was played like a drum by those seeking to discredit Rawlings.

You need to ask Kunkle how many no bid adminstrative actions he advanced while head of the Police Dept?

There is no smoke or fire with this one.......

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

 Nothing has proven to have been done illegally or absent transparency..........What has been stated - is Rawlings provided names to the Parks Dept of possible vendors to develop an ad campaign.  Parks Dept went about using a process in the City to get the work done.

Those are the basic facts - Just because DMN exercises its right to have an opinion in this matter doesn't make it anything other than an opinion - just like you and me having opinions.  Opinions are not facts -

I believe voters will read through all this "stuff" and recognize it is all about politics - bottom line - otherwise why didn't DMN run this story earlier so the Auditor - assuming they would have decided to investigate - could have had time to vet the facts in advance of the election?   Brett is playing politics with this story -

Anyway, we will see soon from the voters.........By the way, can you vote in Dallas - NotAnother TaskForce?  I can.......  

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

Would agree with Mike.......lame and lazy thinking..........

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

Could you be any lazier in your thinking?

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

I think the name of his porno flick was "I'll Scratch Your Back if You'll Scratch Mine". Or was it "Happy Trails"? 

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

How do you know there is bid splitting? One the basis of this article which is a report of another report which is based upon allegations, yet to be proven........Judd, you maybe ought to wait until the facts are gathered before you render judgment. And if there was - budget splitting - whose fault is that? City Staff of course - they are the ones that signs the deals.................

Hartd11
Hartd11

People seem to be missing or otherwise misunderstanding the point of the signs and the overall campaign. The campaign is about raising awareness of trail etiquette and rules. MUTCD deals with cautionary signs (stop signs, curve ahead, narrow bridge, etc) and does not generally have signs dealing keeping your dog on a short leash, looking before you turn or keeping your volume down so you can hear people approaching from behind.

The City already uses MUTCD signs to notify trail users of turns and where the trail ends etc. Something new was needed to get people's attention and let them know how to conduct themselves on the trails. Whether or not one likes the sign design is subjective but they are definitely different, are getting people's attention and creating a dialogue on overall trail safety and etiquette.

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

So on the basis of one article you sit as judge and jury and determined Rawlings is guilty of what? Exactly??? You must live outside the city of Dallas

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

I am so sorry you are a Kunklehead.........there is a remedy - VOTE FOR RAWLINGS

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Controversy follows Rawlings wherever he goes. First there was the Cliff Manor debacle while he was Homeless Czar. He leaps out of that frying pan into this fire. All because he is about pushing an agenda rather than doing what's right.

I just pray the people of Dallas will connect the dots and get that this guy IS NOT the sort of person we want running the city. Please Natinsky or Kunkle either one not THIS guy.

Really
Really

If marital fidelity issues bother you (instead of important things like electing a mayor who can actually get something accomplished), why get upset at lame rumors about Mike Rawlings when you've got the hard proof about David "Fifth Marriage and Counting" Kunkle?

mm
mm

So, if you're the former head of Ford Motor Company, and you steal a couple of cars, that's nothing to you...

RS1963
RS1963

After learning more about the whole deal, I have to agree. I don't think Rawlings cared one way or the other what happened with this whole deal - he was asked for recommendations (as a former ad guy, makes sense) and he gave them. He basically recommended some of the top agencies in town. Everyone involved worked for basically nothing.

Yes, the city got a good deal - everything at a cheap discount for a rush job. What irritates me (and probably Rawlings at this point) is the original idea that this whole campaign was even needed, especially the creation of an entire new set of graphics.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

The high and mighty Really fails to grasp that

A) Mike Rawlings said he recommended three firms for the project but in fact, two of them say they were never contacted -- meaning only one firm (run by one of Rawlings bestest friends) was contacted for the project.

B) Internal memos show that Parks Dept staff were very concerned about the way the project was being piecemealed to circumvent the open bid process. There is no good reason whatsoever for the project to have been broken up the way it was -- except to circumvent open bid.

C) In other cities, wayfinding projects like this almost never go to ad agencies and the result is a comical, silly campaign that wayfinding experts agree will have little to no impact on safety on the trail

D) Brett Shipp has the highest credentials in broadcast journalism, winning awards from Columbia University. Call it schlock all you want to, it just shows your lack of credibility on the topic. It's like saying Tom Brady is a schlock football player.

E) City auditor has decided the arrangement loioks fishy enough to merit a full investigation. City auditor is not a Natinsky (or Kunkle) campaign employee.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Both City Manager Mary Suhm and City Attorney Tom Perkins have been engaging in highly questionable conduct for years.... one can take zero comfort in the fact that they may have signed off on this.

Tellascope
Tellascope

Good point. Check out all of the AAs Kunkle signed/authorized while Chief.

Tellascope
Tellascope

Cityrunamuk is absolutely correct. Sounds like he/she is on the inside because how he/she described it is exactly how it goes down on the infamous "fourth floor" at City Hall. This is how it probably went down. The City had to respond quickly to the tragic accident on the Katy Trail. Remember the speed at which the task force looking at trail safety was put together? So the task force recommends new signage. Rather than go through the procurement process to award a contract of this size, the Queen Mary and her self appointed heir apparent (Forrest Turner) said "We need to hurry up and get it done. The Mayor said he has already called Paul and told him to talk to Mike about getting a hook up from someone in the business." So how did Rawlings learn how to break up the contract and keep each piece of the work to just under $25k? Who taught him that using an administrative action is the easiest & fastest way to get the contractor started on the work and paid? Paul Dyer and his blond shadow who doesn't even have a calculator with a tape on her desk. Yes, taxpayers. That is who is in charge of counting and accounting for the Park Department’s $. Park department has long been known for being “shady.” So, I give you the key points that have been missed: 1. Nothing will happen to Paul Dyer. Everyone knows that Paul doesn’t do what anyone on the 4th floor tells him to do. He’s quick to remind all that he reports to the Park Board, not the Queen Mary much less F. Turner. There is no love lost between him & the Queen which is why she dispatches Forrest to hurl F and GD words at Paul. 2. Anyone notice how Forrest Turner who normally can’t flash his mug enough before cameras and at council meetings has gone into seclusion lately? Why, you ask? Because his departments continue to be caught in the midst of one controversy after another. Animal shelter mismanagement, theft of computers from police squad cars parked at the city service center awaiting repair, code compliance problems, etc. He has ruined every single department that he served as director of or that reports to him as Asst City Manager. He is now hiding out because he doesn’t know which corner to sit in. He constantly brags to employees that he will be the next City Manager when the Queen leaves. Gives new meaning to the song “God Save the Queen.” Employees are saying, “God help us all.”3. WHO leaked those e mails to Channel 8? Anyone notice that one of the three (yes, 3) Chiefs of Staff to current/temporary Mayor is included on Kunkle’s list of supporters? Sure, every City employee has the right to make a contribution and/or support a candidate but if she had a brain she would have made it in the name of one of her pets. As she tells it, Kunkle plans to make her his Chief of Staff when he becomes Mayor. Sweet revenge for her since the Queen banished her from the kingdom of the 4th floor by eliminating her position a few years ago. Like so many who were “laid off,” she had been stashed down the street in another department making the same money until she was summoned to walk Carraway. She knows how bid splitting & AA’s (administrative actions) work & she has used them to give jobs to HER buddies in the graphics, printing, design & advertising business. Someone go look up how many AAs she has been behind in her years at City Hall. So there you have it. Opportunity + motive = suspect.4. So many AAs are processed daily that they are backed up in the City Attorney’s Office awaiting approval & signature. Keep in mind that the guilty ones here are the ones who approved the AAs. Who reviews/approves them? The Department Director, the Assistant City Manager who oversees the department, the Chief Financial Officer & the City Attorney’s Office. Why didn’t Brett Shipp’s girlfriend (or is she wifey now?) tell him that when she was City Attorney, her attorneys spent hours rubber stamping the AAs? The AA that Mike Rawlings supposedly masterminded could have been stopped & questioned at the many places where the AA stopped for review & approval. But it wasn’t. Tell me again who the guilty one is. Makes you wonder why the former CFO left the City so unexpectedly. He couldn’t stand the sh** he was being forced to cook and had to get out of the kitchen. He was known as the good guy always trying to do the right thing. Unlike the current CFO who needs to support her addiction to $900 handbags, he couldn’t be and had no need to be “bought.” The Interim Purchasing Director is being ridiculed by fellow executives for expressing his concerns in an e mail. Oh, goodness. Another honest guy covering his tail. For employees, that means another verbal warning through channels from the 4th floor not to put anything in writing. 5. Why isn’t someone questioning the council members – especially Natinsky – about approving the $100k plus contract that was awarded to a consulting firm to do some sort of analysis of the waste management services in Dallas? The Asst City Manager who was responsible for overseeing the City’s Sanitation department left less than 18 months ago and is an officer in the company that was awarded the contract. HE is doing the study. Can you spell flow control? Why didn’t anyone have heartburn over that contract award? Oh, that is right. Because it was “hidden” on the consent agenda just like the changes to the ethics policy. Because it has been pointed out repeatedly on many blogs about the AA factory at City Hall, it means that you – Dallas Observer – need to uncover the mess behind the AA factory. It doesn’t start or stop with this one involving Rawlings. This is peanuts compared to the other ones that are sitting out there waiting to be exposed. Don’t interrupt the City Auditor now. His staff is busy investigating the Sanitation department. If Channel 8 was truly interested in doing real investigative journalism, they wouldn’t be fishing in such shallow waters. Go deep to uncover the real story. Hope to see the DO on the fishing boat pronto!

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Utterly missing the point. Rawlings lambasted Natinsky for ethics issues. Maybe people do AAs daily but they don't help structure AAs so their long-time closest friends get the contract. And if they do, they SHOULD be called on the carpet for it because it violates state law.

Doing an AA is not an ethics violation. People within the city were concerned about how this was being done however and Brett Shipp proved that through internal emails.

Dont blow the ethics trumpet on Monday and then turn around on Tuesday and turn a dead ear to it because it is your buddy who is getting trounced by it. City auditor disagrees with you that it is a non-story, so there you have it.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Yup. I live in Little Forest Hills. We dont like to think of it as Dallas but last I checked that  makes me just as valuable as citizen as you ... although I am sure you'd beg to differ. Those who defend going around the law always think they are better than the rest of us. 

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Love how you just throw opinions out there with no evidence to back up your claims. Sort of like Rawlings. OMG! Maybe you are Rawlings! God knows, your handle would sure be fitting then.

CliffManorCzar
CliffManorCzar

No. To be any lazier, I'd be spending all my intelligence on, say ... Tweeting about the Rangers bullpen. God knows I'm not THAT lazy.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Cityrunamuk -- Um dude do you even WATCH television? There are internal memos from the city saying, "Uh, lower your bid by a few hundred dollars would you?" It is in writing. It is against the law to do that. Comprende?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

We are already trained to gather quick bits of information Using signage by its shape and color.

Sorry but The new signs are FUN ? . Not informational.

Aside from the normal trail traffic signs A large information sign about trail rules and behavior at all entrances is all that is needed.

If that's not working just close the trail because it would seem folks aren't grown up enough to read the printed word or show common courtesy can't handle this kind of personal freedom .

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Isnt going to happen. However, you can still be converted. You have TWO choices who aren't crooks.

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

Cliff Manor was not Rawlings deal that was the Housing Authority and City Council issue. Get your fact correct

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

You missed the point.

The point is that the number is so low relative to the talent and earnings level of the person involved that it should make it pretty obvious that the deal wasn't about some scandalous arrangement. More likely it was just a friend helping out another with a project the former's group needed done. How can we assume this? Because the work was done for an amount that is of almost no consequence to the person whose firm did the work.

We're talking about an amount of money that likely did little more than cover the project expenses and pay for the time of the people at the firm.

That this is the biggest "scandal" Natinsky and Channel 8 could find on Rawlings says a lot about his character.

Really
Really

A) It is not Mike Rawlings' fault if the city failed to contact all three firms he recommended. That is their call,not his.

B) Again, if something is amiss, the city staff is responsible, so if they were concerned internally they should have dealt with it.

C) Again, if the city chose an ad firm instead of a design firm to do the trail, that was their call. But in fairness this project had more components than just way finding.

D) This is not Shipp's finest moment, being used as a tool by Natinsky. I do not object to him uncovering something. It's the way he shamelessly tried to tie a mayoral candidate to all this, without putting everything in context, as a purely political ploy, that is offensive and schlocky.

E) Again, if the city wants to clean up its own mess, so be it. But Mike Rawlings is not the hire/fire guy here, and all you Natinsky or Kunkle lovers out there trying to make political points on this are obvious.

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

Whether there was split contracting or not - yet to be determined.......that is a City Parks Dept issue not a Rawlings issue. So you can fault someone for offering options for city staff to consider, then city staff determine to circumvent the system........how is that a Rawlings issue? That is a Parks Dept issue..........and City Manager problem.

Publius 2011
Publius 2011

Ms. Suhm, who became eligible for retirement several years ago, should have been retired by now. Someone must consider retiring her when they become mayor of Dallas.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

This may have worthwhile info in it, but the complete lack of any line returns results in us all going -- pass over!

Publius 2011
Publius 2011

Aha, it looks like nothing has changed since I left City Hall a couple of years ago. Incompetence, finger-pointing, blame-gaming, and nobody seeing the real truth.

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

Brett did not prove anything other than some dumb city employee coached a vendor on how to submit an administrative action.  That is a daily city activity............not a Rawlings issue. 

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

I do watch the news - NotAnotherTaskForce. Memo doesn't mean a thing - other than some dumb city employee was trying to run around the system. That is not Rawlings doing - that is a city employee. And, again, the dept director, City Manager and City Attorney have to sign off on administrative actions. So the real story, if you did your research, is not about Rawlings, but about Citystaffrunamuk

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

The two choices are Rawlings and Rawlings................

Cityrunamuk
Cityrunamuk

I did and Notanothertaskforce - you just made my point. Only the Housing Authority can make those types of decisions...............Rawlings was a volunteer for the City of Dallas - asked by the Mayor to lead an effort to find a solution for Dallas' homeless issues. Which he did - not the shelter by Dallas Farmers Market. The Cliff Manor item was a related but not a Rawlings Homeless Czar issue. You need to do your research. Or maybe we do need another task force.....

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Get YOUR facts straight, Brainrunamuk.

Rawlings was the HOMELESS czar when the DHA decided to move the HOMELESS from The Bridge to Cliff Manor. Council had nothing to do with it, in fact, they wanted to stop it but couldnt.

Rawlings was, as homeless czar, sitting in big chair up front during town hall meeting and was introduced by Leppert as instrumental in the decision. And he has defended the decision at mayoral forums. You must be from another planet.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

And you really want us to believe that the city only contacted one of three recommended firms, the one whose owner is a long time best friend of Rawlings, the guy in charge of parks, without Rawlings knowledge? Really? If that were the case then he shouldn't be elected mayor out of incompetence. He was head of parks. Why would he NOT know what was going on?

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