State rules prove costly when it comes to moving expenses, Kelly Tshibaka discovered - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, May 14, 2021
HomeTop NewsState rules prove costly when it comes to moving expenses, Kelly Tshibaka discovered

State rules prove costly when it comes to moving expenses, Kelly Tshibaka discovered

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Forced by State of Alaska policies to use the lowest bidders, when Kelly Tshibaka returned to Alaska, her moving cost burgeoned. The lowest bidder turned out to be a rip-off, another “lowest” bidder had to be contracted to finish the move. Then a third mover was brought in. On it went. It seemed to Tshibaka that the state procurement rules forced people to use the worst movers, who in the end proved to be the costliest. And it cost the State of Alaska some $81,000.

Tshibaka, as commissioner of the Department of Administration, worked to improve procurement processes by standardizing them throughout departments during her tenure at the Department of Administration. But the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, and the state mostly still uses the “lowest bidder at all costs” method.

Tshibaka is now running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Lisa Murkowski. As such, all of her state records are being pulled for review by news agencies and opposition researchers. The records requests have begun, and the combing of financials. Thus, the costly move home to Alaska became an item of scrutiny for the Anchorage Daily News.

Mary Ann Pruitt, who is senior advisor to the Kelly for Alaska campaign, explained that Tshibaka had no choice but to use the extreme low bidder:

“State officials directed Kelly to obtain multiple moving company bids and she was required to select the lowest one, despite a moving expert’s warning that an extremely low bid was a red flag for potential fraud. Sure enough, throughout the course of the move, there were contract breaches, attempts at sudden cost increases, and refusals to abide by the terms of the contracts. As a result, movers had to be changed several times, with the lowest bid required to be chosen each time. Every step of the way, Kelly urged state officials to reform the system of awarding state contracts of this nature, recommending the use of vetted and trusted vendors, rather than automatically selecting unknown and untested companies who happened to submit the lowest bids. Doing her job as Commissioner, Kelly documented all of these failures of the contractors and reported her findings to the Attorney General’s office. Kelly Tshibaka has dedicated her career to exposing waste and fraud, has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to American taxpayers, and is always mindful of the good stewardship of public funds.”

Tshibaka told the reporter at the ADN that the mover she was forced to pick was operating fraudulently, but that was lost in the crafted narrative. Since Tshibaka left state service after working for two years for Gov. Mike Dunleavy, she is not required to pay back her moving costs, but all along the way she took meticulous notes of the problem move and also advised the state to change its procedures. All of her documentation is in the hands of the state Attorney General, where an investigation into the moving companies is ongoing.

As an inspector general and a rising star for the U.S. Postal Service, when Tshibaka moved back to Alaska to work for Dunleavy, she made a downward career move, but said it was because the state of Alaska was in trouble, and she thought she could help the new governor. Her husband, an attorney, works as an assistant commissioner in the Department of Education. The couple have five children, which explains the need for a large moving van, rather than a U-Haul truck, to get their possessions back to Alaska. The state pays for up to 15,000 pounds of household goods, plus two vehicles, storage, and things like temporary housing, and house-hunting expenses.

“Reasonable and adequate competition must be solicited when acquiring commercial moving company services. If the anticipated/actual cost is over $10,000, a minimum of three verbal quotes is required. If the anticipated/actual cost is over $50,000 a minimum of three written quotes is required. If the least expensive moving company is not used, any additional cost (over what the state would have paid) of moving personal effects will be paid by the employee unless adequate documentation that justifies using a more expensive alternative is approved, in advance, by the employee’s division director (or director’s representative),” according to the the state’s moving expense guidelines.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Throw out the lowest and highest bids, then average the remaining and pick the one closest to the middle. Or will bureaucrats never learn? Aggressively prosecute those breaching terms.

  • As much as I despise Lisa Murkowski, this situation causes me to rethink my decision on voting for Kelly Tshibaka. I realize her claim this is “not my fault.”

    But I would be absolutely floored if any mover tried to charge me $80,000. And I would be furious if any employee actually PAID that sum of money, expecting me to reimburse the ridiculous cost. To me, this demonstrates extremely poor judgment on Ms. Tshibaka’s part.

  • Not a good start
    Can we do better than this

  • Thanks for the “Paul Harvey rest-of-the-story”.
    I was aware of the seemingly exorbitant moving costs to the state, but have never before read/heard why they were so high.
    .
    I hope her campaign is formulating a quick sound-bite response that will be included in the inevitable news stories defaming her for something out of her control.

  • Sure! Then donate the money back

  • Interesting. I managed a unique moving contract for the Army for several years. It featured several contractors who would participate on individual moves as they desired. All of the contractors were top notch. Outstanding, really. I guess that illustrates that a contract that focuses only on “cheapest” might satisfy the noisy nimrods that love to think they’re managing state resources well, but ultimately cost more than such idiots can count in the end.

  • Yes, thank you for the rest of the story. That will take some of the wind out of her opponent’s sails.

  • If this had been a Democrat supporter the conservative press would have done the “Benghazi” on it.

    Having said that I believe that this lady had more control over this process than what we are being told.

  • Sorry, but she needs to reimburse the state. Resigning a short time after the deadline for requiring that is what most would do, but most people are not running for the US Senate.

  • What happened to rent a U-Haul and move yourself? You touched on the other $140,000 “job” that was paid to entice her here. How can any fiscal conservative tolerate this? This isn’t new news and has been common knowledge long before any records request.
    It is so hypocritical and disappointing to see such corruption and waste happen along with defense from other so-called Republicans. Seriously – I think the term RINO is often misapplied. Who are we and how is this ok?

  • Did anyone in the admin have a problem with the cost? Seems to me to be more waste among a group of people (the state) that only abhors waste when it serves their purpose to do so. She didn’t pocket the money, raised objections, and worked to reform the process once in. She took notes of all this, so probably realized the left and establishment might at some point take issue (since they can’t make any legitimate policy arguments) with it.

    Bring on the slimy political types to cast aspersions and slander this woman.. you know, the usual characters..

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