News

Menlo Park City Council dives into pool bids

 

Considering that it was a Menlo Park City Council meeting, there was little dissent among council members on Aug. 24 as they voted to request bids on the operating contract for the Burgess swimming pools.

Cherise Brandell, community services director, pointed out three areas the city needs to improve in for the next contract: better communication with the contractor, particularly around maintenance; clarification of the split between city and contractor responsibilities; and following through on preparing annual reports about the facility.

Council members Andy Cohen and Rich Cline requested that the city broadly distribute the request for proposals among possible vendors, rather than approaching only the three mentioned in the staff report: Team Sheeper, which currently runs the aquatics center; SOLO Swim Club; and California Sports Center.

"That's precisely what was missing the last time around," Mr. Cohen said, encouraging city staff to have as broad a base of bidders as possible.

The council voted four years ago to hand over operation of the then brand new Burgess facility to Team Sheeper, a private contractor, without charging rent or putting the contract out to bid. The current lease expires in May 2011.

Mr. Cohen asked whether pool operator Tim Sheeper would now be willing to disclose his income from the past five years of running Burgess pools.

In an apparent response, Ms. Brandell said that each proposal may include confidential sections at the request of the bidder, such as trade secrets or business plans.

When Mr. Sheeper spoke before the council, he asked that it consider lengthening the lease from five years to 10 to maintain continuity and quality of service.

Menlo Park will ask potential contractors to submit bids for the Burgess pools alone, and for both the Burgess and Belle Haven pools. Councilman John Boyle suggested that the city also ask that bids include scenarios with monthly rent and any resulting fee hikes, and minimal rent with no fee changes. City staff estimated a base monthly rent of $19,444.

The Council expects to award the new contract in December.

Comments

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I was watching the CC meeting on television last night and heard Kelly Fergusson refer to an RFQ as a request for qualification. It is interesting how she redefines the proposal landscape with her unique interpretation of proposal acronyms that have other meanings.

Perhaps the City of Menlo Park should issue an RFQ to Kelly. Because I as many in Menlo Park don't believe she is qualified to be a city council member.

I never heard anyone pontificate as much as she (with the exception of Rich Cline) and not say anything with substantive meaning.


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Posted by disagree
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 25, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I disagree Mr. Lawrence.

I did not vote for Councilmember Fergusson or Mayor Cline last time, but I think he runs a very good meeting and I find myself agreeing with his commentary a large majority of the time. I realize you have a different form of evaluation, we all do, but what is the point of your childish remarks?

In any case, I am glad to have him.


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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Disagree:
"but what is the point of your childish remarks?"

I guess you're not familar with good old Hank, there, Disagree. Just keep coming back here - with an election looming, you'll get plenty of "good stuff" from Hank in the coming months. Don't worry, though, he's harmless - even the folks he supports run away from him.


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Posted by Menlo Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Mr. Lawrence offers a refreshing perspective on developments in Menlo Park. While I often don't agree with his acerbic style his message, more often than not, is spot on. We have a financial crisis of monumental proportions and when council members shirk their responsibilities to the residents of Menlo Park they should be taken to task for it.

We should vote out all the incumbents and give some fresh faces a chance to do what the incumbents have not been willing or have been unable to do.


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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Oh, and Disagree, Hank evidently has access to various computers which allows him to post under multiple identities - see "Menlo Resident" above - without being deleted by the Forum Moderator.


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 27, 2010 at 6:47 am

I also have access to the World Bank, Trilateral Commission, The New York Times, the Nation magazine, and the inner secrets of the Skull & Bones Society. It is truly laughable when I see other postings by individuals who agree with me being characterized by those who disagree with me as being my own. I don'e even know those people.

What is even more ridiculous is the far left characterizing fiscal conservatives as fascists goose-stepping down the strasse. During hard times fiscal conservatism shines brightly and attracts a broad base of supporters from the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties. And it is this groundswell of support that will prove to be detrimental to the campaigns of council members who are fiscally irresponsible.


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Posted by Patricia Watkins
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Thank you City Council for sending out to bid and expanding the bidding range not included in the staff report. Thank you for asking the questions that should have been asked four years ago by the previous council and not allowing a shoo-in without answers.



Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 27, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Hank:
"And it is this groundswell of support that will prove to be detrimental to the campaigns of council members who are fiscally irresponsible."

Well, yea Hank, that certainly came into play in the last election when your fiscally irresponsible heros - Winkler, Duboc and Jellins - were drummed out of office after they gave away the pool rent-free to their bud, Tim Sheeper.


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 28, 2010 at 2:30 am

Dear Reality Check,

You don't seem to be too grounded in reality. Nicholas Jellins like the vast majority of council members who are elected to a second term, in keeping with tradition, and on his own accord, chose not to seek a third term. That is hardly being drummed out of office.

The only reason Winkler and Duboc lost is becuase the San Mateo County Council of Labor, in concer with the SEIU, wage a very expensive propaganda campaign against them. My doorstep was flooded with Union funded mailers that contained lies, distortions, and deceit. And the Union stooges, Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline got elected.

You see Reality Check I was waiting outside the doors of the Recreation Center to witness the council candidate interviews. The SEIU barred me from witnessing their back door deal with Heyward and Rich. And Lo and behold, just months into their term Heyward and Rich handed over the keys to the Menlo Park treasury to the SEIU by voting in a 30% increase in pension benefits to Ciy employees retroactive to the day they started work in Menlo Park and reduced the retirement age from 60 to 55. Shortly thereafter many city employees retired, leaving the City shothanded but with no commensurate reduction in expenses.

So I am hoping that more people become aware of Cline's and Robinson's egregious abrogation of their fiduciary duties to the residents of Menlo Park and toss them out on their ears.


Like this comment
Posted by Sorry Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Sorry Reality Check, YOU need the reality check. To paint DuBoc, Winkler and Jellins as "fiscally irresponsible heroes" is an absolute joke, and I didn't even vote for them. Are you kidding me? Seriously. If anything, they wouldn't spend a dime, and you may not like the pool decision, but I believe it saved us somewhere in the neighborhood of $400-$500K, yea, yea, yea, we know all about the rent issue, but common sense has prevailed, and we will now see what that market price will give us, by way of rent. However, I can almost guarantee you that Robinson, Cline and especially Ferguson will use this as THE political move of the year and start railing against the decision that was made 4+ years ago. Guaranteed to drag on and on, no one will have the &^%$# to make a decision, and then here we are again with an issue that will divide the city, and create more divisiveness. Do YOU ever get tired of the ridiculous nature of our politics? How 'bout we all use some common sense and work toward making decisions, and getting things done?


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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm

When you essentially give away a brand-new $7 million public asset to a private entity to make money off, that's fiscally irresponsible, period!

And I'll blame Robinson, Cline and Ferguson for not having the guts for doing something about it, but the real culprits are those who gave it away in the first place: DuBoc, Jellins and especially Winkler, who was the mastermind behind it all.


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Posted by Sorry Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm

C'mon "Reality Check"! "Gave it away..."???? We basically hired someone to come in and manage an asset, that we, as taxpayers, bought. This management group saved us $400K+ by not having to pay city employees to manage the pool. THAT alone is worth the decision that was made. So, your continued comments about "giving it away" are ridiculous. I would think from Tim Sheeper's perspective, WE can TAKE IT AWAY at anytime now, based on possibly some crazy thought that he makes too much money, or we can make more money from this etc. I am very concerned that with your type mindset, we will destroy one of the best services we have in this town, and again, we pay ZERO right now for the management of this facility. I say we look at Tim's books, determine a fair rent, and be done with it. I would only hope that people of your ilk stay away from the negotiations!


Like this comment
Posted by Ken Kesey
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm

[Posts removed; poster using multiple names in same thread]


Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 30, 2010 at 8:11 pm

"I would think from Tim Sheeper's perspective, WE can TAKE IT AWAY at anytime now, based on possibly some crazy thought that he makes too much money, or we can make more money from this etc."

That not a crazy thought - that's all too real!

Thus, it's time for Sheeper to either put up or be sent packing, just like DuBoc, Winkler and Jellins were - enough is enough, already!


Like this comment
Posted by Merrill Inman Roe
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Tim Sheeper has done a wonderful job of turning Burgess Pool into a haven for a variety of swim communities:
• Age group swimmers
• Toddlers
• Recreation lap swimmers
• Master swimmers
• Rehab swimmers
• Women water polo players

He has shown great initiative in creating programs for swim lessons, summer camps, aquatic safety, and outreach.

He spent several hundred thousand dollars of his own money to create a bubble over the warm water pool for use during November-March.

Tim Sheeper (and his dedicated staff) is a vital asset to the Menlo Park swimming community. You will not be able to replace what he's created.


Like this comment
Posted by Merrill Inman Roe
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Oh, and I forgot to mention this: because of Tim Sheeper's management of Burgess Park Pool, the City of Menlo Park doesn't have to make pension contributions for the workers there. Another big savings.


Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm

"He has shown great initiative in creating programs for swim lessons, summer camps, aquatic safety, and outreach."

Sure: The more people he can stuff into the pools, the more $$ he can stuff into his pockets while the going is good (that is, no rent check is due).

His days are numbered, though - time to pay the piper (that is, pay the taxpayers who are footing the bill for this Taj Mahal that he has been able to use to make a retirement stash much greater than any city employee, no doubt).


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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