Santa Clara County Exec Jeffrey Smith Agrees To Interview

Posted on March 14, 2017


Jeffrey Smith’s response to my e-mail requesting an interview was succinct and to the point; “This week is tough, is next week ok.”

I had reached out to County Executive Smith regarding my March 12th post; Santa Clara KPMG Expenditure Raises Red Flags. When he responded last night indicating his willingness to talk, I was encouraged, but wary.

According to a newspaper article by The Mercury News metro columnist Scott Herhold, Smith is “A smart and charming man who knows how to tend to the needs of his bosses, the supervisors,” and that he “uses that combination to hide county miscues from the public.” He then went on to write that His attitude toward the notion of transparency borders on contempt.”

In the same article, Herhold suggested that while Smith is “always accessible” to the media, he also knows how to “summon the range of his experience to conceal county government’s mistakes.” In short, and according to Herhold Smith “At moments of crisis,” is the “chief circler of the wagons.”

All this being said, having never personally interviewed or spoken with County Executive Smith in the past, we will be starting with a clean slate.

In fact, and in advance of our interview, I am more than happy to provide him with the three key areas upon which our interview will focus:

  1. Considering his long and diverse history with the county, what are his thoughts regarding Herhold’s comments? What about detractors from within the county itself – does he have any, and what is their issue with him?
  2. Regarding the $1.3 million spent on the KPMG engagement so far, why does he believe that the county has received good value for the expenditure? Why does he believe that a further $2 million is warranted?
  3. Finally, is he looking to ultimately outsource the county’s procurement function to KPMG or any other entity? What are his thoughts regarding the January 2017 job posting by KPMG on LinkedIn for the position of Manager, Procurement and Operations Advisory in Santa Clara;

KPMG Full Job Post
Needless to say, I am looking forward to our discussion next week.

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