Campbell continues probe into $15K bill from AT&T

By jeanne starmack


The Campbell law director still is investigating whether the city owes AT&T $15,000 the company is trying to collect.

City officials originally said it appeared a contract with AT&T was terminated early by former Finance Director Sherman Miles, and the company was trying to collect the balance.

The two-year contract was for a trunk line that connects extensions at the city building.

Officials said Miles would not have the authority to terminate a contract on his own and enter into another contract, which the city did with Delta Telecom.

But Miles said this week that he did not terminate the contract. He said the contract was supposed to be renewed in November 2010, and he tried to to do that but never got a response from the company.

Miles also said he did not enter into the contract with Delta Telecom on his own. He said the city’s board of control, which Law Director Brian Macala described as the city’s “contract authority,” did approve the Delta Telecom contract before it went into effect in July 2011.

Between November 2010, when the AT&T contract expired, and July 2011, when the Delta Telecom contract took effect, the city was still using AT&T’s service, Miles said. But the company was charging higher, out-of-contract rates, he said. He said he tried to work with the company and made some payments for phone service.

“I paid them periodically,” he said. “We owed them something — they were providing phone service. But I felt we should have disputed the out-of-contract rates.”

Macala said last week that the city has found a contract for AT&T service with Miles’ signature on it but not a copy that was co-signed by a company representative.

He also said the $15,000 was originally phrased as “a cancellation fee,” but it appears that at least half of that amount is past-due for services.

He said it is hard to confirm those details because AT&T has handed the bill over to a collection agency.

The city’s new finance director, Mike Evanson, found the bill in a stack of papers in his office after he got a phone call from the collection agency.

“The city is now taking a look at this to see if there was a contract, and contesting some of these charges,” Macala said.

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