“Page 13 was added to the Roberts Stadium Report”: Ella Johnson Watson, Mayor Winnecke’s Director of Communications

The following quote is from a comment post that was made by Ella Johnson Watson, the Director of Communications for the Office of Mayor Winnecke. We call upon our readers to make their own conclusions with respect to whether or not the report was corrupted and upon the 15 members of the Roberts Stadium Task Force to offer their own opinions on the contents of the report and the way it was made public.

“The page was drafted as a summary by Task Force Chairman Larry Steinberg. It was added to the report and presented to Task Force sub-committee coordinators. Larry sent an email to all Task Force members on April 19 thanking them for their work. “I sent an electronic copy of the report to each sub-committee coordinator and to Steve Schaefer. If you wish to review the report, you can do so by contacting one of them and arranging time. It is my plan to submit the report to the Mayor on Friday afternoon to make his deadline.” Larry did not receive any comments from Task Force members about the “General Conclusions” page before the report was submitted to Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.”

The City County Obserever would like to thank and congratulate Jordan Baer and City Councilwoman Stephanie Riley for having the courage to come forward and challenge page 13 as it should have been challenged. We also thank the other three members of the task force who confidentially have communicated the same message. These task force members are a great example for pointing out flaws in communications where public dollars are at stake.

Perhaps the four members of the Evansville City Council who opposed the Earthcare Energy deal will follow this lead and make the information they now have that was either ignored or oppressed prior to the vote to make a $4.8 Million loan was shoved through under threat of withdrawal.

Link to Task Force Report

Roberts_Stadium Task Force Report

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  1. Waiting Game says:

    A little birdy told me that Steinberg did not get the final report emailed to all of the members in time for a rebutal. In fact he relied on someone who was out of town to forward it on?!?

    Wow!!!

  2. DeltaDawn says:

    Was it being “sloppy and lazy” or was it “intentional”? That is the question. Sounds like Doobie to me.

  3. howmuchmore says:

    Is it Steinberg or Steenberg? It’s being reported both ways. The city website carries a list of committee members headed by Steenberg.
    http://city-countyobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/RSTF_LIST_OF_MEMBERS_-_FINAL.pdf

    While we’re at it, does Mr. Steenberg live and vote in Evansville or Boonville?

    • editor says:

      It is Steenberg. Our comment writers and Ella Johnson Watson are the ones who have referred to a Mr. Steinberg. We do not know where he lives.

    • beerguy says:

      Is that Jerry Steenberg, the New York based comedian who had a very successful sitcom in the 1990′s ? Boy, Kramer, George, Elaine and Jerry were a funny bunch. Wonder why Jerry would move down here to head up this committee ? Maybe he was tired of poor treatment by the Soup Nazi and being called an Anti-Dentite ?

  4. JC says:

    From the looks of all this, it all looks like bad reporting and miscommunication to me. Page 13 never mentions a ‘general consensus’. It mentions ‘general conclusions’ that arose from public input committee discussions. There is a big difference between a general consensus and general conclusion. One requires a majority and the other doesn’t. Not sure who first brought the ‘general consensus’ term in to play, but I think this is where the train got derailed.

    The C&P also stated that all alternative uses would cost more where the actual report says in most cases, not all. I think the C&P could have read the report a little better and reported it a little less sensationally. Everyone is up in arms about a corrupted report. After reading it, while I don’t agree with the general conclusions, I’m not sure that I would call it corrupted. It states in the report how the numbers were arrived at and that they are not meant to be accurate or final, just general baselines.

    While I would have let all committee members read it before submitting it, there is no way the report could have been written with everyone in agreement.

    • howmuchmore says:

      Thank you for providing a link to the committee’s report. I have been asking repeatedly whether committee members other than Mr. Steenberg, members who are qualified and experienced in preparing construction estimates, were involved in preparing cost estimates of the proposed uses.

      On page 3 of the report, the method of arriving at the cost estimates is briefly explained. The explanation includes the statement that “investment and operating cost estimates were prepared for each of the projects recommended by the sub-committees,” and “the investment cost estimates were made by applying the expertise and experience of individuals working in the construction and architectural businesses.”

      Of the two committee members whom I indicated in earlier posts were qualified by employment, experience, and certification to make construction cost estimates for large projects, one is a professional architech and the other is an extremely well qualified executive experienced in international major construction projects.

      If either or both of these qualified committee members participated or reviewed the cost estimates referred to on page 3 of the report, that would shed a whole new light on the issues raised by the vocal dissenting committee members to whom the City County Observer editor attributes the allegation of a “scam” report.

      And it begs the question whether the committee member complained that she had no idea where Mr. Steenberg got his figures even read so far as the report’s page number three!

      • Stephanie Brinkerhoff Riley says:

        I said that I don’t know where the numbers in the report came from. The fact that page 3 makes a general reference to construction and architectural professionals, does not tell us who was consulted. If the people on the committee who were qualified to provide general cost estimates were consulted after the last committee meeting, that constitutes additional meetings of a select few of the committee members. I disagree with a few members of the committee finalizing this report and drawing general conclusions. It is not a report of the entire committee. I never said and I don’t believe that this report is a “scam” or “corrupted.” It is just simply not a product of the entire committee. I don’t understand why I was asked to serve for 90% of the process and then left out of arguably the most important part. I don’t know who else the CCO is talking to, but I am making no allegations of anything more than what I have stated. I was surprised to see the format of the report and just know that it wasn’t put together at the last committee meeeting. I also know that at least one of the subcommittee chairs was out of town when the report was circulated to them. I had some hearings last week and just didn’t have time to contact my subcommittee chairman to see the report. It certainly would have been a lot easier to review if the Chairman had attached it to his email.

        • howmuchmore says:

          It was a full week between the time the committee chairman reportedly notified every committee member that the report was available for the committee members to read by contacting specified persons.

          A couple of members have publicly claimed page 13 was inserted afterwards by the committee chairman. Is one of those members now claiming that page 3 also is a late insert? Or was it part of the report that the committee chairman notified the members regarding its availability to read over one week ago, seven days before the statement in these messages at 9:59 a.m. this morning that “these numbers are coming solely from the Chairman who drafted the final report” and she had “no idea where he got them?”

          As to whether “the people on the committee who were qualified to provide general cost estimates were consulted after the last committee meeting,” and whether “that constitutes additional meetings of a select few of the committee members,” who really knows without asking those folks when they were consulted and what cost estimates they may have compiled. It would seem that only takes two phone calls. One to Bill Nix and another to Jeff Justice, the two men on the committee who it would appear are fully capable of arriving at accurate construction estimates.

          Maybe your committee chairman is not capable of attaching a report to an email. As sad as it may seem, many executives must rely on their staff to do such a simple task. But everyone should know how to punch a few numbers on a telephone keypad.

          • EvilleUglyReality says:

            Jeff Justice is a senior manager in the firm that pierced the aquifer that caused the leaks in Roberts Stadium and a very large donor the Weinzapfel for nothing campaign. Need we say more.

        • howmuchmore says:

          Thank you for confirming that you are not one of the committee members who characterized the report as a “scam” as reported earlier today. Now we have only one person who is alleged to have publicly tagged the report as a scam, and three who are alleged to have done so “confidentially.”

          You really got to love Fear and Loathing in Evansville.

      • JC says:

        While I agree that calling it a ‘scam’ report is a little strong, labeling it as a report from the whole committee is a misrepresentation as well.

        I’m not sure what your motivation is for trying to put Riley on the defensive. She’s been the most forthcoming and honest one out there, not trying to spin anything.

        You are trying to defend the chairman, who hasn’t spoken yet, by making assumptions, and blaming committee members for not reading a report that they weren’t provided a copy of.

        • jeff says:

          Again JC is a voice of reason. Thanks.

        • howmuchmore says:

          I’m not trying to defend Mr. Steenberg or attack Ms. Riley. I’m trying only to get to the truth regarding the compilation and accuracy of the report and the cost estimates contained in it.

          The way I read the City County Observer’s quote of Ella Johnson Watson is that the committee chair (Steenberg) “sent an email to all Task Force members on April 19 thanking them for their work” and apparently included a message that he “sent an electronic copy of the report to each sub-committee coordinator and to Steve Schaefer” further notifying each committee member that “if you wish to review the report, you can do so by contacting one of them and arranging time,” and that it was his (Steenberg’s) plan “to submit the report to the Mayor on Friday afternoon (the very next day!) to make his deadline.”

          All this seems very typical of Evansville civics. Last minute notifications and last minute submittals just ahead of deadlines shouldn’t shock anyone familiar with Evansville politics or Evansville government bureaucracy, and a politician who regularly gets stuff dumped on the desk just ahead of council meetings. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that “Larry did not receive any comments from Task Force members about the General Conclusions page before the report was submitted to (the mayor).”

          Asking questions in Evansville politics usually is considered verbotten or simply too time consuming.

      • GotYourBackEville says:

        Isn’t the architect on the task force employed by the firm that did the design that caused Roberts to have the leaky floor?

      • howmuchmoreisadouche says:

        What are you, a stalker? Why don’t you just admit you’re in love and get it over with?

  5. 292 says:

    It would seem to me that this report should have been completed in plenty of time to have been reviewed in a final task force meeting with all members present and available to receive clarification and make comments and suggestions for improvements, additions, or deletions. There could be many reasons why task force members could not or did not get to read the final copy which may or may not have been emailed in a timely fashion.

    For the CP to have corrupted the story as it did is very poor journalism. Details and context were not handled well at all. Arek Sarkissian has a long way to go in developing a good judgement base for journalistic excellent. There may be great construction people and an architect on that committee but we did not hear from them. We must remember that it has been stated in the report that these figures are just estimates and are not solid numbers on which to base good decisions. If these are only estimates how much accuracy can we assign them? I ask because the mayor has made a huge point of saying that the price tag will figure heavily in his final decision.

    • HootersIsGood says:

      Sarkissian is afraid to take on controversial subjects. He better like Evansville because he won’t make it in the real world. That said he may make editor someday at the Mayor’s PR machine aka the Evansville Courier and Press.

  6. JoeBiden says:

    This could be an important payback to the old Mayor for his support of the new Mayor. With this “impartial” report, the old Mayor’s building of the new smaller downtown arena with inadequate parking looks like a better decision now that the old Mayor’s plan is implemented so that Roberts Stadium will meet the same wrecking ball as the Executive Inn.

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