November 06, 2009

More on the Parks Contract

Yesterday’s Council hearing, one in a series on the parks debacle, revealed an expedited (but opaque) process for awarding park renovation contracts.  The Housing Authority issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which simply determines which companies have the ability and experience to bid on the final contract.  An RFQ saves time by eliminating groups who do not have the ability to follow through on a project.

The second step is supposed to be a Request for Proposals (RFP), in which the qualified bidders submit cost estimates and designs.  The submitted proposals are what the city government and public review and debate until a final selection is made.

In response to the RFQ, a five-member panel composed of officials from the Housing Authority and mayor’s office selected Banneker Ventures, a firm owned by a close friend of the mayor, from among 13 applicants.  Recall that this step is merely supposed to determine who is qualified to proceed to the next step to bid on a contract.

Well, the administration decided it should end there and, after selecting Banneker as qualified, did not issue an RFP and just handed the $82 million in renovation work to Banneker to manage.  Banneker was awarded $4.2 million to manage the work to be performed largely by other firms.

None of this was done with Council approval, as required by law, and on Tuesday the Council voted on emergency legislation to restrict funneling of park money through the Housing Authority and to require the Housing Authority to notify the Council of all contracts above $75,000.

Voting Yes:

Voting No:

Categories: Good Goverment, Park at LeDroit
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