June 24th, 2010 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall, CLEAN UP, Business

City Hall: Adams Delays Hearing on Controversial Parking Contract

Lots of Discontent

Mayor Sam Adams abruptly shifted direction today on a controversial contract to manage six city-owned Smart Park garages.

Adams' spokesman Roy Kaufmann told WW this afternoon that the scheduled June 30 council hearing on the $10 million annual contract has been postponed indefinitely for "additional due diligence" to address concerns. Adams oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which controls the garages. And two very powerful Portland parking businesses have raised objections to the proposed award of that lucrative contract to a Nashville company.

As recently as Tuesday, June 22, mayoral aide Ginny Peckinpaugh —Adams' public advocate for transportation— told a constituent that the city's April notice of intention to award the $10 million-a-year contract to Nashville-based Central Parking System was a done deal. Here's an email Peckinpaugh sent:

Thank you for writing the Mayor regarding your concerns about the new parking garage contract. The city is required to put the contract out for bid every (three?) years. Central Parking won the contract based on a bid that will save the city several hundred thousand dollars. They have also agreed to a number of other terms:

Central has agreed to keep the local employees and will pay the attendants the same wages. The supervisors and managers will be paid at a higher rate than what they are currently being paid. I've been told that employees who currently have no health insurance will now be offered health insurance at an affordable rate relative to their earnings.

2) The garages are open 24/7. A physical body will be at the facilities over night to handle any customer service issues that may arise. The off-site monitoring from Austin, Texas, is an added feature that will assist customers but is planned to augment the on-site customer service, not replace it.

3) The proposal to raise rates was weighed against Central Parking during the evaluation process. The City Council determines parking rates and when they go into effect. At this point, rates will not be reviewed for another two years.

I hope this addresses your concerns.

Kaufmann said in his email that, "The agenda item will not be heard at Council on the 30th. As you know, this is a controversial issue whenever it comes up for action. The mayor wants to take additional time for due diligence on the concerns that have been raised. From there, he will decide when and whether to forward the committee's recommendations to Council for consideration."

City Center Parking president Greg Goodman has been engaged in a lengthy exchange of letters with officials in the city purchasing and city attorney's offices, raising numerous concerns about the process that produced Nashville-based Central Parking System as the choice. The current contract holder, Star Park, shares those concerns. Goodman and Star Park chief Barry Schlesinger have both taken their arguments to City Council members, which may play a part in Adams' decision.
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