The State Worker

Vendor pays for state officials’ breakfasts, lunches at pricey Mulvaney’s

A cappuccino at Mulvaney's B&L.
A cappuccino at Mulvaney's B&L. The Sacramento Bee

Department of Public Health officials recently dined at one of Sacramento’s top restaurants, courtesy of a Santa Rosa-based company with two quarter-million-dollar contracts to help the department become more efficient.

It’s not clear how much The Results Group paid for the breakfast-through-lunch working meeting at Mulvaney’s B&L last Thursday. The company’s managing partner, Michael Wright, said that the firm picked up the tab. Calling from his car on Wednesday morning, Wright said he didn’t know how much it cost.

“I haven’t seen the receipt,” he said, but the restaurant gave his firm “a good deal.”

Wright’s company has a $247,300 contract to help Public Health’s Central Applications Unit become more efficient, according to documents obtained by The Bee through a Public Records Act request. A second $245,800 contract sets the same goal for a Public Health branch that investigates complaints against certified nurse assistants. The firm bills from $130 per hour to $250 per hour for its services. Both agreements expire this year.

The Results Group set up the off-site Mulvaney’s gathering “to meet with senior management, (section) management and staff, and IT representatives to discuss, develop, and plan” a “vision” for the investigative section, according to an emailed memo to about 40 employees by Investigation Section Chief Debrah M. Dunn that was forwarded to The Bee.

“Please make every effort to schedule or reschedule appointments to allow you to attend the entire meeting,” Dunn wrote.

Investigative section employees arrived at 7:30 a.m. for continental breakfast. Group sessions started at 8 a.m. and closed with a buffet lunch at noon, according to an agenda obtained by The Bee.

Asked about the meeting, Public Health Deputy Director Anita Gore emailed this statement:

“The California Department of Public Health contracted with The Results Group to help identify ways to make improvements in the Professional Certification Branch Investigation Section (PCBIS). The Results Group determined an all-staff meeting would be a good way to get input from staff about future process improvements. The Results Group selected the venue, planned the lunch as a team builder for the staff, and paid the associated costs.”

Asked whether the cost of the Mulvaney’s event was passed on indirectly via the department’s contract with The Results Group, Gore emailed a one-sentence response: “CDPH has nothing further to add.”

Wright said paying for the meeting was the cost of doing business, and emphasized that his firm will not bill the expense to the state.

“You know, that used to be something that was done,” he said. “Obviously, in recent years, using state dollars has become unacceptable.”

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.