We were contacted yesterday by a Contractor in Milwaukee, WI, whom stated she was fired by Sentinel Field Services based, in part, upon her contacting the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over concerns in how Sentinel was running the M&M Contract. Did I mention Sentinel is a NAMFS Member?
My company is fairly new to processing HUD inventory. We were contracted with the previous field manager First Preston and we were happy with them. However; when HUD contracted with Sentinel we started experiencing many problems and we were concerned about liability. There were communication issues from the beginning. I spoke with the company’s new field manager, Tiffany Moon and she indicated that she cancelled my contract because I attempted to contact HUD to complain about Sentinel’s policies and procedures (emphasis and color added by Editor), and because the transition from First Preston to Sentinel wasn’t orderly as it relates to inventory management and field communication. I also communicated that the previous FM was extremely organized I was concerned about policies and procedures. In addition Tiffany decided to cancel our contract because I would ask to speak to managment when my rep was unavailable. There were mixed directives; communication issues; and many other questions that I had which was the only reason why I asked for management. As it relates to payment, Sentinel emailed me a form that they failed to provide at contracting and stated that once that form has been signed, my funds will be released. I am still locked out of UPAMS and they will not send any information regarding pay so that I may compare invoices.
As with all all things we reached out to Craig Karnes, HUD Procurement Officer and Sentinel for comment. Karnes has not issued a statement and Sentinel, in a very odd turn of events, sent the following by separate email from the email address of their former Chief Executive Officer:
Thomas Inserra is no longer with SFS and the position of CEO is currently vacant. All CEO related responsibilities are now being managed by Diane Williams, Chief Financial Officer and Derrick Reaves, Vice President, Operations. Their contact information is listed below.
All communication which formerly went to Thomas Inserra should now be directed to Diane Williams.
We found Sentinel’s reply to be extremely odd as the email we contacted was email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. The return email was from the ex CEO of Sentinel email@example.com. Sentinel was recently awarded the HUD M&M 3.6. You may view their recent press releases below:
Clearfield, Utah – October 1, 2012 – The United Stated Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that Sentinel Field Services, Inc. (SFS) was awarded multiple contracts for Field Service Management throughout the United States
“The performance of these contracts perfectly aligns with our core competencies,” says Thomas J. Inserra, Chief Executive Officer of Sentinel Field Services, Inc. “We are excited to offer our high quality standards, 24-hour operations center and best-in-class performance to HUD.”
SFS, which already operates in eighteen states, was awarded Field Service Management Contracts in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota.
Clearfield, Utah – December 21, 2012 – The United Stated Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that Sentinel Field Services, Inc. (SFS) was awarded additional contracts for Field Service Management throughout the United States.
HUD awarded Field Service Management contracts to SFS in the territories of 4D and 5S which include the states of California, Hawaii, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
SFS was already awarded Field Service Management Contracts in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota, bringing SFS’s total coverage to twenty-one different states.
We did a search of Sentinel and found a Complaint dating all the way back to 2008 when Brian Huggard was still actively running the show:
We contracted with Sentinel Field Services December of 2008 after they solicited us for the work. From December 2008 to the first week in February 2009 we completed over 200 work orders for lock changes, winterizations, trashouts, etc. The settlement checks (2) were never right, always short, always because of pictures not recieved or not at the right angle or something. Always something. Finally in February, after being “docked” exactly $1000, I notified the owner Brian Huggard all work would stop until the shortages were corrected. He responded by hiring another contractor and refusing to pay our outstanding invoices. To date we have filed workmans liens on the properties he refused to pay.
Word on the Street has it that Sentinel has been in difficulties since underbidding the competition in the latest rounds of the M&M Price Wars. Thomas Inserra, Sentinel’s previous CEO, moved on to greener pastures. His latest trip up the escalator has him at Pinnacle Peak Advisors, LLC. Now, while I do not hate anyone for making obscene amounts of money I do have to question the wisdom of Huggard in directing the placement of Inserra as CEO while he was simultaneously heading up three (03) other firms as CEO and Chairman: Pinnacle Peak Advisors LLC, Pinnacle Peak Appraisal and The Pinnacle. Let me have Michael Combe, RFP and Technical Writer of Sentinel put it best in his own words though:
Under [Inserra’s] direction, Sentinel Field Services, Inc. was able to win four major government contracts and greatly expand its client base. His foresight in industry trends allowed him to position the company to ensure growth and profitability.
So, back to the story at hand. Has Sentinel, in its infinite wisdom, fired a Contractor for contacting HUD? Well, HUD won’t tell us and Sentinel simply states that they are simply a ship without a Captain! We are going to stay on top of this and are networking with several liaisons on Capital Hill as there appears to be, at least in my opinion, an active and overt pattern of abuse within the HUD M&M Contract. The implications are damning at best. If and I emphasize “if” Sentinel is able to fire Contractors for voicing concerns over improprieties with respect to US Tax Dollars then the very Whistleblower Act is meaningless! If HUD refuses as it has in the past to make Prime Vendors obey the Laws of the Land and more specifically the Constitution of the United States of America and the Uniform Commercial Code then the National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG) will advocate for a complete and total walk out upon all HUD Contracts. Make no mistake this is not to be taken lightly. We will additionally bring to bear the power of the United States Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service whom will scrutinize the Contracts between Prime Vendors and Contractors and undoubtedly make a finding that the Contractors are employees under the Letter of the Law!