Process Transparency

August 24, 2013

Over the last couple of months, we’ve had a lively debate regarding a new logo that had begun to pop up all around the county.

Personally, I had first seen this logo back in December when our Communications Director, Jason Grant, approached me after one of our Board meetings and showed me a picture of the new logo.  He explained that the logo was to be used only for economic development purposes (i.e. marketing materials, tradeshows, and so forth).

Several months later, Supervisor Jenkins was the first one to sound the alarm bells that this logo was being implemented at a much broader scale than any of us ever imagined.  He was absolutely correct to be concerned.  As Supervisor Jenkins and I began to investigate this issue further, we were deeply concerned about the process that was used.  This discussion went from logo to process.

The actual logo itself is only a small part of the overall issue.  There are two very important policy questions that need to be addressed.

First, did members of our County staff adhere to the long-standing rule that major policy issues must be presented for review and approval by the BOCS, and permit public input; and second, was the information presented by County staff about the logo development and deployment complete and accurate?

I felt it was our obligation as your elected officials to get to the bottom of these questions and find out the truth.  So I asked for documents to determine if the information provided to the BOCS by County staff was accurate and complete.

I am posting several documents on my website, and you can access them through the links listed below.  I want this process to be as transparent as possible and to allow for public input.  I welcome any comments or suggestions on these materials.

The documents and information I received from my FOIA request (later turned into a directive) indicate that the information given to the BOCS by County staff was clearly inaccurate, incomplete, and lacking in complete transparency.

The County staff initially reported the cost of the development of a new logo was only $750.

Based on information provided to me by a constituent, I asked Mr. Grant whether payments made to a Maryland vendor, Rogue Shard Design, LLC, were for logo development.

Mr. Grant responded that the Rogue Shard contract was mainly for animation of the introduction for the video that plays before each Board meeting.  Mr. Grant indicated that animation had to be redone since I was elected to the Board replacing former Gainesville Supervisor John Stirrup.

Supervisor Frank Principi also asked specifically how much had been spent on marketing and other costs associated with the use of the new logo.

County Executive Melissa Peacor responded with the statement that only the Department of Economic Development was using the logo, and she had personally had new business cards printed using the new logo, but only because she needed new business cards at that time.  Ms. Peacor assured the Board that nothing else was being done with the logo, and no other funds were being spent to deploy the proposed new logo.

In total, the Board was led to believe that the outlays for the new logo deployment, limited to the Department of Economic Development and Ms. Peacor’s new business cards, were significantly less than $10,000.The fact is that the claim that the Rogue Shard payment of $12,500 was for an animation is clearly inaccurate.  According to invoices from Rogue Shard, that $12,500 was specifically for a set of logos that were produced and then rejected by County staff.

There was a separate invoice from Rogue Shard for $2,000 that paid for the animation video.

The fact is that the logo was being actively deployed throughout the County, and not just being used exclusively by the Department of Economic Development.  Its deployment was well down the road to being used throughout the County.

The documents show significant expenditures for materials using the new logo by County Agencies other than Economic Development, including uniforms, shirts, printed brochures, signs, lapel pins, letterhead, tablecloths, etc.

Astoundingly, there was an order for temporary tattoos of the new logo in the amount of $ 244.60

Cleary, the implementation of this logo went well beyond Economic Development and shows how the BOCS and the general public were bypassed in making this critical decision.

My goal is to continue efforts to reform areas of County government that are not working as efficiently as they should.  My personal view is that the size of government should match the needs of the citizens, and the delivery of needed services should be provided as cost-effectively as possible.

In the past eighteen months since I was elected to the BOCS, I have worked to eliminate Supervisor’s discretionary fund accounts; to make financial disclosures of Supervisors more accessible to the public and have disclosures where potential conflicts may exist with official actions taken by the Board; to reform the budgetary process by requiring budgets be based on actual expenditures rather than on the prior year’s approved budget; and to make County government more transparent and more accountable to taxpayers.  I will continue on that quest.

I welcome your input, comments, and suggestions.  I am honored to represent the people of the Gainesville District, and I will continue to work hard to honor the trust you have placed in me.

Rogue Shard Contract

Rogue Shard Invoice for $12,500

Rogue Shard Invoice for $2,000

Rogue Shard Purchase Order for $12,500

Rogue Shard Purchase Order for $2,000

Rogue Shard Round One Logos

Rogue Shard Round Two Logos

Rogue Shard Round Three Logos

List of items ordered with the new logo

Temporary Tattoo order

The excerpts provided below were from discussions on the proposed implementation of the new County logo. I attempted to accurately depict, to the best of my ability, the statements made by each of the individuals who spoke during the discussion on this topic.  I prepared these documents without any professional equipment – only by listening to the recording of the meeting.  You can watch the video by visiting this link.

Let me be clear that these documents are not intended to be a legal transcript that would portray every nuance of language spoken by each speaker, including connecting phrases or non-decipherable sounds that are not actual words, but it is my best effort to accurately record the statements made during these meetings.

Notes from the May 21, 2013 Board of County Supervisors Meeting

Notes from the June 4, 2013 Board of County Supervisors Meeting

If you would like any further information, please contact our office.