Remember when the mayor said he was going to provide the most transparent government we have ever seen and that he is going to tell the public the good, the bad and the ugly? I guess it depends on the circumstances.
Populous provided free consulting services to the City by conducting research on cost estimates and data on 20 other Event Centers in the country. Now they make the short list of firms to be interviewed this week by the 10 member committee. How cozy. It may be common in the industry of architects, but that doesn't make it right. Even the executive director of the SD Chapter of the American Institute of Architects says free work is frowned upon.
There is a difference in conducting business in the public sector than the private sector. Why? Because government is funded by the taxpayer, that’s one really good reason. If the mayor was so committed to transparency he should have instructed his staff to tell Populous, when they offered their freebie, that they couldn't guarantee their confidentiality when it came to freebies.
Come on, the mayor used the free information from Populous when he outlined his vision for the event center back in October. He didn’t acknowledge that information came from Populous as a freebie. I don’t know about you, but I assumed that staff did the research for that presentation. Wrong to assume anything these days. Of course, if no one asks the questions, no one is going to get the full story.
Transparency, ethics, open government. Good principles to follow. Just because something is not illegal or prohibited, doesn't mean it's right. The City can do better and in this case they failed to do better.