Will the City Council end the corruption in Berkeley’s RFP process?

Correction Sent: 9/14/10
Dear City Council Members,
In regard to my letter below, I need to make one correction–CIL’s latest version of their modified proposal was not included in the Commissions’ packets. The reference regarding City accepting the modified proposal was incorrect. However, everything else stands, and I maintain that the RFP process has been biased and unfair, and the City Manager has abused his power in the contract selection process–based on all events stated in the chronology of events section. I regret the mistake made due to accumulated frustration.

Sent: 9/11/10
To: kworthington@cityofberkeley.info, jarreguin@cityofberkeley.info, dmoore@cityofberkeley.info, manderson@cityofberkeley.info, gwozniak@cityofberkeley.info, lcapitelli@cityofberkeley.info, swengraf@cityofberkeley.info, lmaio@cityofberkeley.info

Dear City Council Members,

I am outraged by the Center for Independent Living (CIL)’s latest move, backed (or instructed?) by the City of Berkeley, in an effort to obtain City funding to supplement its programs.  After announcing to the City and Easy Does It Emergency Services (EDI) on August 13 that they were withdrawing their application for Measure E funding, then retracting that withdrawal a few hours later, CIL has now modified its proposal for the Measure E contract.  This revised proposal has been accepted by the City and forwarded to the Commissions on Disability and Aging, who will be voting to recommend a vendor for the Measure E Contract on September 15.

I am asking you, as elected officials, to help answer the following questions: Why is CIL allowed to change their proposal repeatedly without any other bidders’ involvement and public notification?  What process was used by the City of Berkeley to receive CIL’s improved proposal for Measure E funding, while the opportunity was not offered to competing vendors?  Who quietly approved CIL’s revised proposal to be forwarded to the Commissions on Disability and Aging, and the City Council, for evaluation and decision?

Is this the City of Berkeley’s common practice for awarding its contracts–hand picking a vendor, railroading the approval process, and, when failed, forcing the selected vendor to stay in the bidding?  CIL announced its application withdrawal after the community voiced their concerns regarding CIL’s lack of experience and qualifications to provide emergency services.  Since June, CIL has repeatedly stated that they wouldn’t have applied for the Measure E contract if the City hadn’t told them to do so, and that they never wanted the emergency components of the contract, which is the mandate of Measure E!  CIL entered “collaboration” negotiations with the intent to “split” Measure E funding for its non-emergency programs, then decided to withdraw once they realized that there’s no money to be split in Measure E.

It now appears that the City thinks they have a way to manipulate the funds after all…  How else can anyone explain CIL’s erratic behavior throughout the process, and the City’s unyielding willingness to accommodate this behavior?  Did the City orchestrate CIL’s retraction of its application withdrawal, and its most recent proposal modification?  Does the City really have the power to do whatever they want, whenever they want, in any manner they choose, thinking that the citizens would just let it happen without saying anything?!

Is the City doing this because it has given CIL (and the Ed Roberts Campus) so much money that they need to guarantee CIL’s financial viability?  That’s great, but HOW–by killing another community agency who is perfecting its emergency services program, who is strongly supported by the community members, who called/wrote letters to their representatives, and showed up at several Commission and Council meetings to speak out?  Or, by killing the emergency services program, forcing  2 agencies with different mission and scope to share the Measure E contract?  By mixing non-emergency with emergency related activities, unnecessary resources would be spent by the City and the agencies, in order to justify using Measure E funds, etc., and this will only cause both agencies to fail.  What would the City gain by destroying the program and putting the burden back on 911 and other emergency City personnel? 

How many more City contracts will be awarded without merit but based on personal preference, political interest, or sheer ignorance, before the practice is stopped?  Will the Council stop the outright corruption in the City’s RFP process?  I am asking you to stand up to the Mayor and the City Manager–by questioning the process and rationale for recommending an agency who is clearly not qualified to deliver Measure E mandated services, who never even wanted to deal with emergency services, and attempted to withdraw their application altogether.  It would be a very unwise decision for the City Council to award CIL the Contract against the disability community’s will.

Morning Shu, Berkeley property and business tax payer
Phone number

*****See bullets below for a chronology of events.*****

Below is a chronology of the events leading to this letter which demonstrate CIL’s ever changing position.  After the “History of CIL’s Inconsistent Position”, I have copied the public events listed in my letter to the City’s General Services Manager Sharon Thygesen on July 18 questioning the City’s RFP process for your reference.
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