10:18 PM PDT on Monday, August 29, 2011

BY BRIAN ROKOS
STAFF WRITER
brokos@pe.com

PDF: Memos from San Bernardino staff regarding red light camera contract

The San Bernardino police chief and assistant city attorney wrote dueling memos this month, both purporting “to set the record straight” by blaming each other for the City Council receiving a figure for ending the city’s red light camera contract that could be short by almost $1.8 million.

The City Council in March voted to terminate the contract with American Traffic Systems that expires in 2014.

The vote followed a Feb. 1 report by Assistant City Attorney Jolena Grider that estimated the city would be liable for $114,075 at most. An attorney for American Traffic Systems responded that the company disagreed with the city’s interpretation of the contract and that San Bernardino actually owed $1,896,202.05.

That new figure shocked council members.

The city’s figure was based on the number of intersections — six, with red light cameras. The camera company said the opt-out figure should have been based on “installed approaches” — up to four at each intersection.

At the time, City Attorney Jim Penman blamed the Police Department for providing incorrect information.

Police Chief Keith Kilmer, who had declined to comment at the time, ended his silence with an Aug. 16 memo to city leaders.

“The council report and documents reflect that this area of the analysis, the termination of a contract for the red light camera program, rested with the city attorney’s office,” Kilmer wrote.

Grider’s Feb. 1 report “simply and incorrectly calculated the costs based on the terminology provided for within the contract itself. … The information about contract terminology was not provided by the Police Department. … The purpose in filing this memorandum is to set the record straight,” Kilmer wrote.

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