Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, January 18, 2010

Office Depot's Alleged Bilking of City Led To ... Calendar Shortage?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge This calendar is late, too...
  • This calendar is late, too...
After last week's article, a surprising number of readers contacted us querying where they, too, could obtain a San Francisco Public Defender calendar. Well, why not drop in at 555 Seventh Street? You don't even need to be accused of a crime first.

If Public Defender Jeff Adachi printed out a few more copies, however, he could have fulfilled a real need here in San Francisco. The query "Where's my damn calendar?" was somewhat ubiquitous this month among city employees. Due partially to the repercussions of the city accusing Office Depot of bilking San Francisco out of $5.75 million, many city workers didn't get their official calendars until mid-month.

Naomi Kelly, the city's purchaser, acknowledges that the delays had something to do with San Francisco "changing vendors" of the calendars -- massive, unadorned wall calenders conveniently stamped with pay dates and other city-specific information you'll find in nearly any government office here. But, she says, that delay isn't necessarily due to the city controller's audit that charged Office Depot with overcharging the city -- and led to San Francisco dropping vendor Office Depot like a hot calendar.

Anytime the city changes vendors you get "little hiccups," like two-week late calendars Kelly says. In this case, the city shifted its office supplies contract to Staples; rather than put the contract out for a full bid, San Francisco simply agreed to pay the same prices for office goods that San Diego hammered out with Staples in its city pact.

This contract was going up to bid late last year regardless of Office Depot's alleged criminality, Kelly said. It's quite possible the city's office supplies deal would have gone to Staples or even Office Max even if this situation hadn't erupted with Office Depot. And when you switch vendors in December, oftentimes calendars aren't ready in January. That being said, if Office Depot had retained its contract, it's a good bet there wouldn't be "little hiccups" such as calendars arriving several weeks late. And it was guaranteed Office Depot wouldn't retain the contract once the city alleged it had been skimming millions.

When asked if the city's new contract with Staples was cheaper or costlier than the prior one with Office Depot, Kelly said it's too early to tell. "When you have catalog pricing, you don't exactly buy the same thing every year."

Fair enough -- but if Office Depot was doing what the city claims it was, well, that's some savings right there. Meanwhile, the City Attorney's office told us that, this week they'll be sending Office Depot an official letter demanding legal costs and other reimbursements related to the alleged bilking.

Mark it on your calendars, if you've got one. 

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"