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Richmond To Reselect Consultant For Point Molate Study
September 11, 1996


Wednesday, September 11, 1996
Section: news
Page: A03

RICHMOND The City Council voted Tuesday to re-examine the videotaped interviews of potential Point Molate consultants, in an attempt to satisfy federal requirements for a $150,000 planning grant for the former naval base.

The federal Office of Economic Adjustment gave Richmond the grant to help it come up with new uses for Point Molate, which was decommissioned last fall. Seven firms submitted proposals in January.

But federal officials suspended the grant after Councilman Tom Butt complained to the OEA that the selection of the project's consultant, Dan Peterson and Associates, was based on political favoritism.

In its latest action, the council ratified a new set of procedures for selecting consultants.

Those procedures call for the council to rate the contending firms again. It will review the videotapes Tuesday. The council must then vote to select the firm that gets the highest rating by council members.

Several council members expressed skepticism that that would work.

Councilman Alex Evans said he might not want to vote for the firm that got the highest collective score.

If a majority of the council does not vote for the firm with the highest score, then "we're back to square one," City Attorney Malcolm Hunter cautioned.

The OEA must still approve the new written procedures, but city officials have received a letter from the acting director saying it was likely to do that.

Councilwoman Donna Powers raised several other potential problems with the plan.

"Who's to say that those firms are necessarily (still) interested in this project?" Powers asked. They may not have time to do it now, she said. Or all the members of their consulting team may not be available, she said.

Project manager Pat Jones said she would contact all the firms and make sure they were still interested.

Powers also said she is not convinced the new rules will prevent any misdeeds on the part of her colleagues.

"What it's about is that people are gonna go around and figure out how to elect Peterson again," she said.

The new written rules, to be submitted to OEA, were approved by Mayor Rosemary Corbin, Vice Mayor Richard Griffin and council members Lesa McIntosh, Nat Bates, John Marquez and Irma Anderson. Evans voted no, and Powers and Butt abstained.

On the issue of basing the new ratings on a review of the videotapes, Butt voted no and Powers abstained. All others voted yes.