Under Review: City council looking at events coordinator contact

City councilors are discussing whether to continue with Tina Curry’s contract, amend it, or go out for a new Request For Proposal (RFP).

The City of St. Helens event coordinator Tina Curry during a city meeting in January.

As it currently stands, Tina Curry, the principal contractor for the business E2C Corp., is still on an automatically-renewed contract with the city of St. Helens.

E2C Corp. is the business that St. Helens has contracted to run events in the city, including the city’s four main events: Spirit of Halloweentown, Christmas Tree Lighting, Fourth of July festivities, and 13 Nights on the River. E2C Corp. has been contracted with the city since 2017.

In January of this year, Councilor Stephen Topaz raised concerns about the contract, saying the city should consider hiring a new person to cover Curry’s position. As The Chronicle previously reported, Topaz’s concerns regard several different aspects of Curry’s position, from how she was hired, calling it a “back-door deal,” to accounting for revenue and expenditures for all of Curry’s work.

However, not everyone shares Topaz’s concerns. During the Wednesday, Sept. 2 work session, City Administrator John Walsh seemed pleased with Curry’s performance, saying he thinks Curry has been doing her job so far, “fairly amazingly.”

“She’s added a lot of activities, all the while communicating with myself and having revenue cover expenditures,” Walsh said.

But, Walsh added, “It’s good to stop and check. The way the contract is set up now, it renews automatically unless the council expresses interest otherwise to talk about it, so we’re here today to talk about it,” Walsh said.

There were three options in front of the council regarding Curry’s contract, and they were to renew the current contract, amend it, or go out for a new Request for Proposals for a different contractor, according to Walsh.

The council had originally discussed the possibility of reexamining putting out another RFP in July, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it put everything in the city on hold, according to Scholl.

The main concern councilors raised during the meeting was auditing Curry’s work.

“I would like an audit of the last three years of tourism, so the council is sure of what was spent, what came in, so we don’t have any comments on, ‘oh, we didn’t do it right,’” Councilor Stephen Topaz said.

Walsh said the city already does an audit of all its departments on an annual basis.

Councilor President Doug Morten seconded Topaz’s comment.

“I think Councilor Topaz has a good point, in terms of efficiency, we could possibly ask the auditor to take a special look at tourism,” Morten said.

Assistant City Administrator Matt Brown said that, in his opinion, Curry’s work is already audited.

“The auditors that the city use do use revenue and expenses for every fund, including tourism, and spot check so that they go to the right account,” Brown said. He added that if the councilors wanted a more thorough audit that tracked every penny incoming or outgoing, it would cost thousands of dollars.

“We do get monthly and biweekly invoices that satisfy what my opinion would be on an appropriate use of funds,” Brown said regarding Curry’s work.

Walsh compared Curry’s contract with auditing issues regarding the building department, which he said for years was expected to account all of its expenses. The city eventually made it part of the general fund, according to Walsh.

“We’ll come back at you at next workshop with something revised,” Walsh said.

Walsh said he was going to look at the language on Curry’s current contract in regard to auditing. The council will look at the updated contract at the next work session, Sept. 16.

Source: https://www.thechronicleonline.com/news/under-review-city-council-looking-at-events-coordinator-contact/article_cd31d78c-f2ae-11ea-9436-df2f63406c6d.html