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Richmond Gives Pt. Molate Pact To Original Top Bidder
September 19, 1996



Thursday, September 19, 1996
Section: news
Page: A03

RICHMOND After months of delaying the Point Molate project while it attempted to comply with federal grant rules, the City Council has selected a new consultant for the base re-use project.

A planning team led by Sheila Brady and Associates of Berkeley received the highest average score in a rating by the council members, who watched interview tapes through bleary eyes until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The council then voted 7-1 for Brady. Councilman Nat Bates voted no; Vice Mayor Richard Griffin abstained.

They had been here before.

The council initially interviewed six competing consulting teams in February. Brady received the highest score at that time, but five council members voted instead to select their first choice: Dan Peterson and Associates of Richmond.

Councilman Tom Butt cried foul, charging his colleagues with making the choice for political reasons at the behest of lobbyist Darrell Reese.

The five who voted for Peterson have repeatedly denied the charge, saying Peterson was a local architect with a well-qualified team.

But the federal Office of Economic Adjustment suspended a $150,000 planning grant for the former naval base, telling Richmond it had not followed federal rules in selecting the consultant.

So the city was forced to redo the process or kiss the grant good-bye.

Peterson was stung by the loss of the $232,000 contract.

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "I'm very irritated.

"Mr. Butt has successfully taken the job away from us, and that is because he doesn't like local architects doing work in his town," he said.

Peterson also said he believes the council's rating system is flawed. Asked if he would try to fight the ruling, he declined to comment.

Butt, an architect himself and former employer of Peterson, said he doesn't have anything to gain by Peterson's loss.

"I'm sorry he got tied up with Darrell Reese and that he tried to use political connections to go for a project that was outside his professional expertise," Butt said. "I wish him luck in the future."

The council's decision on Brady was a good one, Butt said.

"I just want to say that I am proud of my colleagues for making the right decision and moving this project forward," Butt said Wednesday.

Brady did not return calls requesting comment.

In re-evaluating the consultants who applied for the job, the City Council was trying to address federal officials' concerns about contractors hired with federal funds. The Point Molate consultant was to be paid in part through the OEA grant.

Federal rules require that the hiring of consultants be free of "any arbitrary action." The rules also say that written procedures for selecting consultants must include a description of the technical requirements for the job and "all other factors to be used in evaluating bids or proposals."

The city had no such guidelines.

So it created a new set of procedures. Those called for the council to review and rate the Point Molate applicants again. Council members were given a list of criteria on which to base their scores. The consultant with the highest average score was to be selected.

Some council members left Tuesday night's meeting angry.

Councilman Nat Bates accused several of his colleagues of making their scores for Peterson intentionally low and those for Brady too high.