Team Ray deals big paydays

Computer programming for Sandusky County courts charged at $120 an hour
Register
Apr 24, 2014

 

Ryan Ray worked 12 hours New Year’s Day for Sandusky County courts. He earned $1,440.

He worked the next day, too, for 13 hours and earned $1,560.

January was a good month for Ray, the CEO of Team Ray Technologies.

Between Ray and one employee, the county paid the company $45,520 in January.

The previous month — December 2013 — they pulled down $36,520 in hourly pay.

Ray worked four hours Christmas Day, earning $480 at his usual rate of $120 per hour.

The TRT employee worked on county computer software and engineering for four hours on Christmas Eve, earning $320 at his standard rate of $80 per hour.

But there are no county documents that establish the hourly rate, or any other substantial description of the services TRT provides the county.

“I do not know what they consist of,” court administrator Brock Kimmet said. “That process had already been initiated prior to my arrival.”

Coming Saturday: Read about visiting Judge Dale Crawford's whacky words on "evil"  and "witch hunts."

TRT was exempted from the usual competitive bid process for the county work back in 2004, according to Warren Brown, who at that time was the county clerk of courts.

But Brown and other county officials don’t have any contract with Team Ray — nothing that spells out the service, describes the product, sets the hourly pay rates or establishes expectations.

Brown currently serves as county administrator. He is a candidate for the Republican nomination for county auditor in next month’s Primary Election.

The county provided just one signed document in response to multiple records requests from the Register for a copy of any TRT contracts. That January 2008 document bears Brown’s signature as clerk of courts. It spells out a price reduction from $80,000 to $70,000 but provides no other substantial description of the product or services.

The signed document was provided to the Register by current clerk of courts Tracy Overmyer with a 2011 invoice from TRT for $9,600. The invoice states the payment is for the “complete development of Rockware Justice ... including one year of support until Jury Pull of 2013 the summer of 2012.”

Sandusky County assistant prosecutor Norman Solze, in a March 25 email to Overmyer, said TRT was exempt from competitive bidding because of its established relationship with the county and the uniqueness of its product. Solze said he reviewed the TRT contract, but he declined to answer questions about why the county did not retain a copy of the contract after he reviewed it.

The county has not provided any invoices that date back to 2004 but did provide invoice information from September 2010 through current billings from Team Ray. That compilation shows the company was paid more than $360,000 since 2010. It also shows some of the largest monthly bills — based on hourly rates of $120 and $80 per hour for Ray and one TRT employee, respectively, are more recent:

•January 2014: $45,520 (440 hours)

•December 2013: $36,520 (346 hours)

•November 2013: $14,120 (120 hours)

Overmyer said TRT is providing programming packages for the Sandusky County Common Pleas Court, the Woodville and Clyde courts, municipal courts and the adult probation department. She would not answer questions about why there is no contract available detailing any of the programs, services or functions of that service.

Ryan Ray has not responded to numerous inquiries from the Register.

Sandusky County commissioners Dan Polter and Terry Thatcher also have not responded to inquiries about the payments and arrangements with Team Ray Technologies, or the lack of any contracts.

Brown said he was not involved with the current arrangements Team Ray has with the courts, the clerk’s office or the adult probation department and did not have any information about the payments the company received. 
 
 
 

Comments

MrSandusky

If this is the same "Team Ray" that has sells the used trucks, then this is not a surprise.

It is also not a surprise to those that have had to deal with them on the soccer fields either...

Ralph J.

There are five "Team Ray" companies listed with the Ohio Secretary Of State from Bellevue.
TEAM RAY CHARTERS LLC
TEAM RAY SERVICES, INC.
TEAM RAY TECHNOLOGIES
TEAM RAY TECHNOLOGIES LLC
TEAM RAY TRADERS

http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/...

http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/...

Babo

Thanks for the links. Note that Jeremiah Ray is an attorney and did some of the work for Ryan Ray and has an interest in some of the companies. Attorney Ray could be in a tough ethical spot if his client/relatives are receiving public funds without proper contracts.

lrherrel's picture
lrherrel

interesting!

worddrow811

I wonder if his wife is considered to be an 'employee'?

Stop It

Matt, may I ask you if you are simply a salaried employee of the publisher of the SR or, do you get paid salary plus overtime? You certainly aren't in that building 24/7/365. At times the time stamp included with your post shows very early in the morn or very late at night. I know many that collect salary can and do their job while at home, besides the office.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the question, Stop it. None of my income is derived from taxpayer dollars, and the IT systemns the SR uses allow stories to be scheduled for publication, meaning it can be arraged to publish at the website on a schedule.  

Stop It

Thank you for answering, Matt. I know the guys on Team Ray as far as IT goes because I have worked with them. They come across as very competitive but never out to rip anyone off. JMHO.

MiddleRight

If there was nothing going on here, someone would have a contract. Each payment a county makes needs to be supported by an invoice. Someone is signing off on the work and the payment.
None of these issues are answered.
Maybe the State Auditor should get involved. They could issue findings for recovery for any inappropriate expenditures.

lrherrel's picture
lrherrel

Well stated! If nothings going on, then why the secrecy?

Jim Lahey

Just wondering... how much does the register pay their IT guys?

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the question, Jim, but none of the SR's IT salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars. 

Jim Lahey

What difference does that make? Whether it's the Register or the Sandusky Co. Common Pleas court, an IT worker is an IT worker. What don't you just answer the question instead of dodging it like you accuse everyone else of
doing?

Babo

You can't be as ignorant as your statements indicate. Then again, you probably work in government.

Jim Lahey

Ignorant? If a place needs to pay for a 15,000 dollar car, it didn't matter whether a government agency buys it, or a pizza place buys it . It's still a 15,000 dollar car. It still has to be paid for to get a job done . If the cost of the services shock you, you should see how much other courts pay. Or even the Register. But wait, "I've already submitted a records request to the Register and they have refused to answer"

Babo

How do we know the value of the services provided or if the services are even necessary without a contract or documentation?

Critical thinking isn't your strong suit is it?

Jim Lahey

Lol... instead of letting someone do your thinking for you why don't you go ask that question?

Babo

No need as the question directed to you was answered.

Matt Westerhold

Really Jim, you're not understanding these issues. The Register is not subject to public records law, but I can assure you, there's never been an IT worker at the Register who earns $120 per hour. It might be true that it is a going rate in the private sector, but not here. 

Babo

It's not true in the private sector either. I know what my business pays for an outside IT consultant and the price includes the wages paid the IT consultant and all business overhead. Out of the $120.00 per hour the actual wage paid to the IT person is about 1/3 or $40.00 plus benefits. Thus an IT person might make $80,000 a year.

Why doesn't the county have it's own IT position?

ContraryAnn

Vitte fired...

Read it in the News-Messenger 6:30 p.m.

Ctwhalers

Great article again matt. Do not care when you post as long as you keep us posted and up to date.

ContraryAnn

Speaking of up to date.... Vitte fired.

mimi's word

I have dealt with Team Ray for wrestling and the teams as a whole are very pompous and rude. I would never consider doing any business with anyone under this name. The tone of this article doesn’t surprise me.

Blue.Streaker

And in related news, the Toledo Blade has something interesting to report:

http://www.toledoblade.com/State...

Darkhorse

So much for having any checks and balances in place. Who is looking out for tax dollars? The situation has passed by the county commissioners, treasurer, and auditor, who audits the books, without anyone saying anything about it or even questioning the expenditures. Plus, no one checks on the ethics involved with all the relationships to each other.

Little Giant

Somebody needs to answer questions soon or a few people need to end up in jail. This really stinks. That invoice from January really needs to be made public.

wjs

Not to say there aren't issues here, but by itself, the hourly rate does not raise concerns. $125-$150 an hour is quite normal for IT and software development services.

wjs

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained A duplicate post.

OSUBuckeye59

$125-$150/hour is quite normal for IT and s/w development services? Perhaps in the SF Bay or San Diego areas where the Cost of Living is high, but in the Midwest, $125/hour for a contractor would be overpriced by at least $50/hour.

wjs

An individual person may not charge that, but IT and software companies in Cleveland most definitely do.

SoldOnAcorns

Anyone that knows these brothers knows that Chris is the brains behind this operation. Let brother Rock take the heat as CEO....well played Chris well played !

Jim Lahey

I would assume that since erie county outsources services just like sandusky county, this is probably a normal thing. Why aren't other counties' books being looked at too?

I think it's funny that you point out the guy worked some holidays but he wasn't compensated any more than his regular rate, so why is it even worth mentioning?

Babo

While it is acceptable for a government entity to outsource services, it is not acceptable to provide services without a contract and proper documentation. There seems to be a serious problem with some elected officials and government employees who operate government like its their private business. Government belongs to the people and officials are in a position of public trust to account for the people's resources.

There's an old saying if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Anybody who works in government needs to understand that the public employs them and if they can't account to the public for expenditures they need to resign, be removed or prosecuted. A good current example of the latter is former Ottawa County sheriff Bob Bratton.

sandtown born a...

Well stated, the goverent does work for the citizens and all money trails should be transparent for all to see it's being done properly. Thanks SR for bringing this into the open for all to see.

Jim Lahey

I would be willing to bet that if anyone else were to walk into the court and ask them how much they pay Team Ray, they would tell you . Everyone at the court is very nice and are willing to answer questions. The register doesnt get a "timely response" because they act like jerks to everyone about public records. I wouldn't want to do anything for the right away either. That's basic human interaction : when you're a jerk, you get treated like a jerk

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Jim. Generally the Ohio Revised Code and its public records law does not allow public officials to choose which laws they comply with, and which laws they ignore, or which requests they comply with and which ones they do not. Every public records request made by the Register to county officials has been done in a professional, courteous and appropriate manner. The information you have provided in your comment is not accurate and suggesting you would ignore the requirements in the way you have says more about you than it does about the Register.  

holysee

I wonder WHICH sandusky county employee jim lehey the apologizer is?
Just try to even land a small contract with the county and what do you get? An ACTUAL contract to be signed. What makes teemrae any different?

Jim Lahey

lol... my personal standards have nothing to do with it, and you don't know me at all. But if you add up all of the people that you have had problems with, it's like 12. If a dozen people have had a problem with how you ask questions and report stories, is it those people that are wrong or is it you?

I'm just pointing out that I could see why you have a hard time sometimes with getting every document you want at the exact moment you want it. Especially when there are times when you turn around and try to defame and demoralize their characters.

Matt Westerhold

I'm not sure why anyone would be sending complaints to you Jim? The Register has not received any complaints such as you suggest. What you're pointing out is as inane as what you pointed out earlier. 

Jim Lahey

Inane is publishing the same story about nothing six times in three weeks

Peninsula Pundit

Jim, lemme try and make this as simple for you as I can:
Taxpayer money is paying for TEAM Ray services. Without a contract, BTW.
Your comments are all over these SR boards as to how tax dollars should not be wasted.
But here you are, defending the waste of these taxpayers dollars.
Do you see how someone might come to the conclusion that you have a vested interest in Team Ray?
If you do, great.
Just shut your yap trying to defend the indefensible here, OK?
Everyone but you and a few other magpies see how bad this is.

Darkhorse

A contract doesn't need to be a written contract for services although it is nice to spell out the scope of service. Just spending the money is considered a contract even though a written contract doesn't exist. Where is the county commissioners legislation supporting such a large amount of money to be spent? The elected officials need to okay the clerk's budget plus their overall budget. Find out what the records retention policy is for the county? Seems like sloppy record keeping. When there is a request for records, there needs to be a legal reason why the request cannot be filled. The county just can't make up an excuse because they don't wish to hand the records over. The 2004 invoices could be outside the realm of the records retention of when a record can be shredded.

sandtown born a...

Pick and choose what laws they follow and when they feel is inappropriate to say the least. Stay on them SR

Northstar

This is not news, look like someone is looking for a story!

The "Midwest" street rate for an IT contractor/software developer or analyst is $120-$150 an hour(minimum). I say street rate meaning they contract in directly and are not placed by another service who then ups their bill by 20-30%. If contracted in, then contractor may get around $80-$100 and hour , but placement firm gets $120-$130, plus the placement fee. The east coast(NYC, Boston) and CA aka silicon valley you are in excess of $200 an hour, more like $250-$300 an hour for street rate.

Why is this news? I can tell you as a contractor we are on call for the contract 24 x 7 x 365. I have spent many holidays Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter working since after hours and long weekends are when you bring down a system to install updates. "NOT" when people are working 9-5. Companies do not hire IT "GUYS" because they cannot afford them. It is cheaper to contract out then hire for $80-$100k a year plus benefits.

Why not look at all contractors hired by the city and counties locally, there are many....when you hire an engineering firm to do costs analysis for a bridge that is a contract firm. Get real people.

If you want to make this money go out and get educated and make sure you can commit to 24 x 7 x 365 to everyone who calls you with something stupid, like the president of the company calling you Christmas morning because his new headset at home is not working or a municipality who 2 weeks before a go live of a new program changes their mind after sign off on requirements, and it is you that has to spend 80-100 hrs a week getting it ready for Jan 1st because they say so.

This is not news, maybe in this town where there are not many people in this field, but venture south to Columbus and Cinci or East to Cleveland. Telecommuting is the best job in the world, but we work hard for it.

Babo

You misapprehend the point of the article. It isn't about the price of the services, it's whether there is a proper contract and whether the services are necessary as there is no documentation.

However, note that Sandusky County could hire a full time IT person with state benefits for just the court/clerk system for what they paid out in three months to an outside vendor who doesn't appear to have a valid contract.

Northstar

Then the register should not have highlighted the $$$$ and dates so much, very little was said about a paper trail. Nobody will pay anyone without an invoice, and usually an Open PO will cover a contract. They may be billing against a PO which many people use for contract work , especially when the contractor works on multiple items from support, installation and development. Since they know the # of hrs and specific dates, then there was an invoice. An invoice which got paid by the county. Based on the type of labor done some can be capitalized such as software development and others can be an expense , such as support. An invoice is a paper trail, I do not know any contractor who does not outline every billable hr for their customer. They have to keep logs so they can bill, these service logs are either attached to the invoice or against a PO at a certain time interval so accounting can correctly post to the books. Bottom line a "PO" is a contract and is a paper trail.

Julie R.

I can't wait to read Saturday's paper about visiting Judge Dale Crawford's wacky words on "evil" and "witchunts."

lrherrel's picture
lrherrel

So, someone is related to someone or somebody is "doinking" someone! There's more than just a casual business relationship going on here and it needs investigated!

Babo

ROTFLMAO....Love your avatar! He'd know a lot about this kind of thing.