By Charles Sercombe
A Hamtramck IT contractor’s cost has come under scrutiny once again.
Back in October of 2012, The Review was the first media outlet to take a look at the billings of ADR, the IT company employed by the city. According to those billings, Hamtramck taxpayers paid ADR more than half a million dollars for services over a seven-year period.
Recently, WDIV Channel 4 aired a report showing that Barry Ellentuck, the owner of ADR, is paid $300,000 a year by the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority to identify which abandoned properties in Detroit should be demolished.
The cost of the service apparently also includes the necessary paperwork to clear the way for the demolitions.
The WDIV report noted that ADR is paid twice as much as the governor or mayor of Detroit earn, and that other cities perform the service for around $50,000 a year.
The reporter of the story also asked Ellentuck about an FBI interview he was part of during the investigation into the Kilpatrick administration.
Ellentuck’s response to what he talked about: “What a great day it was in the neighborhood.”
Ellentuck has not been charged with any crime relating to the Kilpatrick investigation or any other matter.
ADR’s association with the city goes back to 2001 when former Emergency Financial Manager Lou Schimmel was still in charge of running the city.
But in a review of city contracts performed while Erik Tungate was the Acting City Manager in 2012, no review could be made of ADR because no contract could be found for its services.
That may change in the near future.
Emergency Manager Cathy Square, who is now in charge of the city, said she has been bidding out city contracts as she goes along. That will eventually include IT services.
“It’s just a good practice to do to see if we can save money,” Square said.
That wasn’t the course taken when the city council was asked in 2012 to rebid all city contracts. The council flat out rejected that suggestion, but didn’t explain why.
Square said that while IT service is generally expensive, the city hasn’t kept a close eye on expenses. That’s why she has assigned the head of Human Resources to now first clear all requests from departments for IT service.
“The city just kept spending,” Square said.