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Richmond's Point Molate Plan Needs Redo For Grant
August 24, 1996


Saturday, August 24, 1996
Section: news
Page: A03

RICHMOND - Federal officials told Richmond on Friday that the city still does not have proper procedures for selecting a consultant for the redesign of Point Molate.

The city will have to re-evaluate all proposals it received for the redesign of the former naval base in accordance with new procedures it has to draft, said a letter sent to City Manager Floyd Johnson from Helene O'Connor, acting director of Office of Economic Adjustment in Washington.

If the city wants to receive OEA money, that is.

The OEA gave Richmond about $150,000 to hire an architect for the redesign plan, but then suspended the grant in June when Councilman Tom Butt complained that the City Council's consultant selection was improper.

Butt accused five of the council members of choosing Peterson for political reasons. They denied the charge.

After the suspension, the city tried to draft procedures the OEA would find acceptable. Some council members said the city did have a procedure, but needed to spell it out.

But there still are problems, O'Connor wrote.

"Based on the description of the procedures followed by the city in its selection of a reuse plan consultant, I cannot conclude that the grant award determination conformed to applicable federal laws " O'Connor wrote.

For one thing, the city produced a "rough chronology" of the process the City Council followed to select Dan Peterson & Associates for the job. But "no records were maintained during the selection process to document the basis either for the selection of the winning firm or the rejection of higher-scoring proposals," O'Connor's letter said.

Federal rules mandate "full and open competition" among bidders for federally funded contracts.

In addition, the city's procedures "allow the City Council to disregard (its written standards) if it finds compliance to be impractical or infeasible," she wrote.

"The procedures do not conform to applicable Federal requirements, generally because they are too vague to clearly indicate to prospective contractors what will be expected of them and how the city will actually award contracts."

City Manager Floyd Johnson was not available for comment late Friday.

Butt said there is another way out of the predicament. The city could end its pursuit of the OEA grant, not hire a consultant, and use staff and its citizens commission to complete the project, he said.