Schipske Calls for Suspension of Contract to Develop Request for Proposals on Civic Hall and Main Library
Says Efforts Ill-Timed as Majority of Council Leaves
Long Beach, CA – February 6, 2014 – Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske today disclosed that she has agendized an item at City Council on February 11, which calls for the suspension of the contract to develop a request for proposals on a new city hall and main library so that the next Council can decide whether or not to move forward.
On December 3, 2013, the City Council on a vote of 8-1, approved a contract with Arup North American Limited, of Los Angeles, California (team members include WBE/DBE/SBE and Local), in the annual amount of $987,798, plus a ten percent contingency of $98,780, for a total of $1,086,578 for financial, architectural and community outreach consultant services related to the preparation and issuance of a Request for Proposals for a new Civic Center, review and analysis of submittals and assistance in the selection of a preferred proposer; with two optional one-year renewals; and Increase appropriations in the Civic Center Fund (IS 380) in the Public Works Department (PW) by $1,086,578 from fund balance.
Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske today issued the following statement:
“I am the only Councilmember who has opposed this project to tear down and build a new city hall and main library because it is fiscally irresponsible that City management did not send out a formal request for bids on retrofitting and repurposing buildings that are only 37 years old. No other city in California has torn down their City Hall because of the need to make it seismically safe.
I also opposed this project because it was rushed through City Council without any serious discussion of the financial impact of tearing down and rebuilding the Civic Center. Instead, the City now is spending a million dollars on a consultant who will put together the details of a ‘request for proposals’ for developers and finance experts.
While a ‘public outreach’ effort has started it needs to be noted that this effort is seriously flawed. First of all, the City Council will not be given the input from these public meetings before the ‘request for proposals’ is written and sent out so that if residents have specific ideas there is no guarantee they will be included in the directions given to developers. Secondly, it has been reported that during the ‘public meetings’ held so far, that residents overheard city staff and consultant staff ridiculing the ideas of the public with a comment ‘well, I guess we got our marching orders…har har.’
I am putting on the agenda an item that would suspend the contract of the consultant until such time the new Mayor and Council are seated in July. Residents are calling for more police, returning fire engines to the stations, fixing our streets, sidewalks and trimming our trees. Our parks need to be repaired and our libraries restored. This Mayor and this Council should not place additional financial burdens on the next Mayor and Council.”