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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Council Raises Red Flags: Unexpected $1.1 Million Contract for Center of 'Community' Life

Center of 'Community' Life Project Oversight Contract "Awful Expensive" 

Doubts Raised About Whole Project

The Emeryville City Council balked at a recent request for recommending the Emery School District sign a two year contract with a building firm for $1.1 million to oversee the Center of 'Community' Life (ECCL) construction project, a request that drew the ire of the Council members in general and venom from Councilman Kurt Brinkman.  The School District is partnering with the City on the controversial San Pablo Avenue school/community center project and the request at the April 22nd meeting was meant to provide backing for the selection of San Francisco based Swinerton Builders to serve as "owner's representative" for two years overseeing the work performed by chief ECCL builder Turner Construction.  With the January resignation of former District architect and ECCL project director Roy Miller, there is no one left to manage the multi million dollar project, necessitating the hiring of a construction oversight firm to represent the public's interests according to the School District.

The School District request seemed to confuse the Council at first, "We have not received enough information" Nora Davis said upon hearing the request as presented by City Manager Sabrina Landreth but after the $1.1 million price tag was revealed Councilman Brinkman was angered.  He noted he is in the construction trade in his personal life and the request was tantamount to "buying the accessories of a car without knowing what the car is going to cost".  Mr Brinkman was incredulous, "I thought Turner was going to carry the costs of oversight of this [ECCL] project" and "there's not enough teeth to make sure the taxpayers get what they want out of this project".  He added, "At a million dollars, [the Swinerton contract] seems awful expensive to me."

In May, the City of Emeryville is poised to throw in $21 million for its share of the ECCL project, but the $1.1 million Swinerton contract caused the formally supportive Councilman Brinkman to express doubts about the entire ECCL project, "I'm concerned and I don't fully understand what we're getting for our $21 million" he said.

The Council ultimately refused to resolve recommending the Swinerton contract.

Video courtesy of the Emeryville Property Owners Association


  1. Just tell Turner that this "no bid contract" will immediately go out for bid. If this happened, the total cost will be at least 25% less. Yes, hire the construction management company, but bid out the job. Enough is enough the city and the school district is being scammed. Also, by the way, Roy Miller should explain himself and if he doesn't, the person who hired him should.

  2. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I predict that there is MUCH more to come.

  3. Roy Miller was "District Architect" for OVER 10 years... at a salary over 100K... and during times when the district didn't have enough money to keep teachers and still can't hire a PE teacher or replace Mr. Carraway's music program. I suggest someone also look into EEF and their revenues and expenses... yep! salaries again.

  4. EEF and that scoundrel Boss Hog John Gooding is the at the core of this District's, nay this city's problems. Give the money to the schools. Dump John Gooding and that fraudulent organization EEF.

    1. How could you give more money to the schools with the clear understanding that the people in charge are a bunch of morons? Sounds like something Rosco P. Coltrane would do.