Thursday, December 17, 2009

Parking Authority Hires Yet Another Consultant, Will Pay It Instead of City *

This blog post will expand as time allows, but the questions begged in this news (P-G, Rich Lord) should be immediately apparent.

For background on the policy, see this archival post from the New Pittsburgh Hoagie (and many other sources).

Maybe it begs one main question -- what are the five four board members of the Authority purported to be experts in, if they can't make decisions on anything?

Morgan Stanley has been paid $3 million out of a prospective deal to manage its brokering, and Scott Balice was paid just $30,000 to provide "a second set of eyes." Now $600,000 out of the city's operating budget is being paid to "a consultant" to analyze the final decision, and upload its findings to a closed network -- for which we are paying an additional $25,000 to a company called Transperfect.*

SLOGAN SUGGESTION: "It's better than transparent -- It's Transperfect".

From the home page:

Virtual Data Rooms (VDRs) can shorten the due diligence process by over a month. TransPerfect Deal Interactive offers the fastest VDR solution in the industry, allowing you to host and close transactions in record time.

I'm picturing the Director of Finance, the Director of Operations *-UPDATE: the Chairman or Director of the Parking Authority, and the Manger of Policy all bursting into Council Chambers one day, screaming "Sell! Sell!"


  1. They are experts in urban delegation. Don't you know how difficult it can be to be wined and dined by Morgan Stanley? I'd say they need a vacation now.

  2. Interesting commentary Bram, I have always liked Brian O'Niel. I remember when he came to Pittsburgh.

    I keep wondering that if we gathered the money together for all of the studies, and the entities charged with finding solutions, and figured out what we paid for and what we got? How many pockets are filled in gathering the "intelligent information"? How many solutions are feasible, politically digestable or practical? Maybe all of those monies would have been better spent and better applied to the shortfall?

    How many boards, authorities, oversights, and entities have to be paid, given expense accounts and allowances before we figure that out? Who is paying for all of this besides the tax payer? Which coffers are being tapped? The city? The state? The feds? If it's the city, how can we pay for that? If it's the State? They can pay for studies, boards and oversight but can't allow the city any avenues to recoup? Maybe I am not seeing the whole picture here, but I am just amazed at the ability to find the funding for these things and not to fund a proper budget?

    How do we keep pulling money out of our collective a$$es for that?

  3. Transperfect transparency. I'm not so sure I want diligence in record time. It's due, remember?

    I need to get into that think tank planning oversight biz. F-in' golden.

  4. Hiring all of these consultants is a waste of time, but would you trust the Parking Authority to make an appropriate decision that could be worth hundreds of millions.

  5. Grimace - The Parking Authority could at least be held clearly politically accountable. Plus yes, I would expect its five board members to know the parking business, or at least business in general. If they don't, we already have a problem.

    The big deal about the $600,000 is that it's an up-front cost -- and we haven't even vetted the relative desirability of leasing off these assets yet. I mean really, where is the present Council on this idea, would you say? Where will the next Council be? We have no idea.