Architect hot topic at Pleasanton council meeting
At the July 19 Pleasanton City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to direct City Manager Bruce Pearson, City Attorney Bobby Maldonado and architect Robert Guajardo to finalize the July 2011 plans that were previously approved, including Option 2 and those will be the plans used for the construction of the Community Center and Library. It was also included that Pearson, Maldonado and Guajardo make sure they are working strictly with Option 2.
Councilmembers are Mayor Clinton J. Powell, Jimmy Magel (Dist. 1), Abraham Saenz (Dist. 2), Kathy Coronado (Dist. 3), J.R. Gallegos (Dist. 4), Roger G. Garza (Dist. 5) and Jeanne B. Israel (Dist. 6).
Councilwoman Coronado began, “There are several items on the agenda tonight regarding this project. I appreciate very much council voting unanimously at the last meeting to proceed with Option 2.”
Coronado then made the motion that given the joint effort of the council, Pearson meet with Guajardo to finish the July 2011 plans and changes necessary due to Option 2 and that those be the final plans for the construction of the facility.
After the motion was seconded, Councilman Gallegos said he would like to amend the motion to include City Attorney Bobby Maldonado, to meet with Pearson and Guajardo to make sure they are working strictly with the plans for Option 2. The amendment carried.
Councilman Magel said, “I think this is great, but I just hope we can get our architect back here and tell us what he’s going to do. We have asked him several times to come down and we have not gotten a response. That really bothers me.”
Councilman Garza asked how much more Guajardo had left to do. Councilman Gallegos responded very little and Powell said, “He’s basically just tailoring Option 2, correct?”
Ctiy Manager Pearson said he was not sure where Guajardo was and that he never finished the plans.
“He told us on May 12 that he would have the first version complete by June 1. I really don’t know where he is at, to be honest with you. I’ve asked him to come to the last two meetings. He refused to come,” said Pearson.
Garza asked if they could set a deadline with Guajardo. Pearson said the first thing he needed was direction to negotiate to finish the plans.
Pearson said he wanted to go on the record as saying, “I have no confidence in this man. You hired me to tell you what I think.”
Gallegos said the architect is about 95 percent done and he would not support the council having to hire someone else to duplicate his work. Guajardo has already been paid and he needs to finish the work, said Gallegos.
“I think the city attorney needs to be involved so he can understand that we are serious and I am dead serious, about getting this project started and complete,” said Gallegos. “I do not want it to drag any longer and I will not allow it to be.”
A letter was sent to City Manager Pearson and Councilwoman Coronado from Guajardo last week. It acknowledged that council had agreed on Option #2, said Pearson and Guajardo stated he was more than happy to help the city. Pearson said he thought that was great.
Then Pearson added, “But he also mentioned in that letter that he has now had his structural engineer talk to the Lehmann structural engineer hired in May. Now his structural engineer agrees with Lehmann that until that roof is torn apart and he does the structural load test, he can’t determine necessarily if it can be renovated either.”
Pearson again said he had no confidence in Guajardo and that on several occasions, he has not told the truth to both Pearson and City Engineer John Metting.
“But if you tell me to hire this man back, I will hire him back and he will perform unimpeded by anybody else except this staff. This staff will report to the council everything we have to say and everything we find about that project.”
Councilwoman Israel said, as Peason pointed out, Guajardo was supposed to have presented a completed set of plans. Therefore, at this point in time, she did not know why they would have to pay him more money to present these finished plans.
Also, her understanding with the first contract, the civil engineering portion was not included in it.
“Therefore, the part that the city needed to provide to Mr. Guajardo in order to complete the plans, was a transition from old to new. Now, I may be incorrect in that, but if there is something the city has to provide, in order to receive a completed set of plans I would ask that that is made sure to be done,” said Israel.
Pearson told Israel that he did not believe that was true because the civil engineering plans can match the building.
“I will tell you is that you have already paid to finish the construction plans for Option 1 and he has not finished those,” said Pearson.
Pearson asked Metting, “Does he have to have the civil prints, or can you match the civil prints to the building?” Metting answered, “I would think so, but there is more work that would have to be done.”
Pearson explained, “Those building construction plans could have been sealed and we could have matched the civil plans to those building construction plans.”
Israel said that she was very confused. Her understanding was that council was trying to get a completed set of plans first. Then, council could use those plans after they decide who is actually going to do the work and be the city’s architect, to then update those to Option 2.”
Pearson said his professional recommendation was for the council to decide on a procurement method first. The procurement method would then dictate whether the city would choose:
A.) Going with the low bid, which Pearson did not recommend at all or
B.) Construction Manager at Risk or
Israel asked Coronado to clarify her motion.
Said Coronado, “Mr. Guajardo is still the architect on this project. I can understand Mr. Pearson’s concerns. However, he has been the person on this job for three-four years, maybe longer than that.”
The plans were approved by the council and while the city may not have finished plans, Coronado explained her direction was to have Guajardo finish those plans and specs. That would allow council to make a decision on what procurement method they wanted to go with.
Pearson said he understood that. Then he explained the process involved with choosing a Construction Manager at Risk and the Design-Build method. In a Design-Built contract, the construction company or general contractor will hire an architect to team up with them and put a proposal forth, said Pearson. In a Construction Manager at Risk method, the City of Pleasanton will hire the architect at about 20 percent of the drawings or somewhere past that point. Then the architect works with the city to put out an RFP (request for proposal) to hire a Construction Manager at Risk, which is the general contractor. Next, the Construction Manager at Risk works with the architect to finish the plans.
“Either way, in those two scenarios you get a guaranteed price,” said Pearson.
Coronado said she has spoken with both Guajardo and Maldonado about this. She said that like everyone else, she wants to get this project completed so they can go on to other things. Both of them told Coronado that it is still not too late to go with the Design-Build method.
“In fact, Mr. Maldonado recommended that Guajardo be the one chosen because he is still the architect on this project. He is the one certainly most familiar with this project and it would be the quickest for him to do it versus giving it to someone else. By all means, someone else could finish it, I agree with you. I just don’t see it as the best situation for us. I think he could do it. Whatever procurement method we intend to do... that’s another discussion. But having the plans done does not exclude us from going other routes,” said Coronado.
The council is the one that will have to answer to taxpayers about what kind of product is done, she said. She again went over the various options to consider. One thing Coronado added was then when she was city manager, City Engineer Metting was interested in doing the civil work. However, as for now she did not believe that Metting would have the time to do the civil work. Metting and Pearson both agreed. Civil, mechanical, etc. everything else that has to be done would be Guajardo’s responsibility. Guajardo can then submit the finished plans to the council and then council will decide which three routes they want to go.
Councilman Gallegos then said, “I am not a big fan of Mr. Guajardo. I don’t think he carried out the wishes of the council when we asked him. But, he has almost completed this project, 95 percent and he’s been paid quite a bit of money.”
Guajardo is going to either work with the city manager and the city attorney and council and staff or he is not. If he is not going to, he needs to be released. He is still the official architect and has not been terminated, said Gallegos.
“If he does not cooperate,” said Gallegos, “he needs to go. I hate to see that, because it needs to be completed and we’ve invested too much time and money.”
The situation is getting complicated and it does not need to be. Guajardo needs to do Option 2 and move forward.
“I agree with Mr. Gallegos. We need to complete the project and if we need to get someone else, we need to do so,” said Councilman Garza.
Pearson then said if Mr. Guajardo is hired to finish the plans, the city is eliminating the possibility of going with the Design-Built contract. Therefore, in Pearson’s opinion the city would be tied to a low bid process.
Powell said they needed to make sure that was the case. He suggested possibly tabling this item to get more information from Guajardo. Powell did not want to see the city tied to the low bid.
Pearson suggested staff to put the local government code describing the different procurement methods in their packets so they could see for themselves. More discussion took place on whether or not to table the item, especially since there was conflicting information.
Councilman Garza then suggested taking a break so that council could call Maldonado and ask him over the phone, rather than tabling the item.
Before that, Patsy Troell spoke. She said that she knew Pearson has not been with them throughout the whole process. Guajardo has been more than fair and the plans have been changed on him at least five times, said Troell. He redid Center Pharmacy and Dr. Villarreal’s business.
“You don’t have to accept the low bid. You can always get best bid for your money. I’ve spent 13 years on building committees and I know that. I’m not trying to defend his delays or him not being here. He may have felt that this was a political battle, which it certainly had become. I disagree with Mr. Pearson and I think he is extremely trustworthy and very capable of doing this once he gets a final and clear direction,” said Troell.
After the recess, Powell informed everyone that Maldonado informed him that if they proceeded with the item, they would still have the options available.
Pearson said hopefully this turns over a new leaf and they will remain optimistic. He also wanted it on the record that what Guajardo has done for the price he has done it for, up to now is incredible.
“Most architects wouldn’t answer the phone for that price,” said Pearson.
The motion passed unanimously that Pearson, Maldonado and Guajardo finalize the July 2011 plans ad Option 2. This was followed by loud applause from the audience.