Mayor Elizabeth Patterson intends to ask the City Council not to award a contract to update the city's Sustainable Development website, instead trying to give more Benicia web designers a chance to bid on .
The decision to ask for the continuance was made in consultation with Community Sustainability Commission Vice-Chair Constance Beutel, who had discussed the issue with commission Chair Kathy Kerridge. Kerridge and Beutel were in agreement when Beutel spoke to the mayor.
"It had nothing to do with the Community Sustainability Commission," said Patterson. "I talked to Constance and we both reluctantly agreed it was the right thing to do."
Patterson sent a message to Benicia City Manager Brad Kilger late Monday night. The message said in part, "It is essential that we, the council, foster our small business owners. Although there is no guarantee that results would be different if we recirculated the (proposal to update the website), we owe it to our people here in Benicia and Solano County an unambiguous opportunity to bid on city projects."
Kilger didn't see any problem with the mayor making the request and agrees with the underlying reasons.
"The bottom line is the city needs to do a better job of letting local businesses know what Request for Proposals and bids are being sought by the city," he said. "No single source of information is foolproof but we (the city staff) need to do the best we can to inform local businesses. Our current methodology is not comprehensive enough."
Councilman Mark Hughes said he doesn't have a problem with creating a new policy but isn't sure about the move to continue the matter at hand.
"There are two issues here," he said. "How good of a job did the city do to inform local businesses about this request for proposals? And how fair is it to the process that is already in place?"
"If we're going to change the process going forward, I don't have any problem with that," said Hughes. "If we're going to change the process for this particular case then I want to have some discussion about it."
Both Hughes and the mayor indicated some concern that the proposal selected by the Community Sustainability Commission as well as the three not selected are a matter of public record and firms coming in to the process now will have the advantage of looking at the proposals that have been submitted.