Forensic lab development deal weighs on bond proposal 

A “development package” part of a $652 million bond proposal to pay for police and fire buildings is not sitting well with supervisors who refused to send that specific part of the bond forward on Wednesday during the board’s Budget and Finance Committee.

The budget committee will hold a follow-up hearing this Wednesday on the proposal.

Drawing on the findings in budget analyst Harvey Rose’s report, Supervisor David Campos was critical of the forensic lab proposal since the development deal includes waiving The City’s competitive bidding requirement. Campos has emerged as a tough scrutinizer of city contracts during public meetings, forcing city officials to provide a thorough accounting, which is not always to his satisfaction.

“I know that this is a very important project for the city. But this is a question about process,” Campos said during Wednesday’s budget committee meeting. “You’re talking about waiving competitive bidding requirements with respect to about $30 million worth of work and that’s a lot of money especially in a tough economic time.”

Department of Public Works head Ed Reiskin told the supervisors that the project was initially going to be a so-called “turn-key,” where the property owner would have built the building and lab on its own and The City purchase it, but that plan went south. To deal with that, The City negotiated a “development package,” which included a provision for waiving competitive bidding.

“You’re talking about waiving competitive bidding requirements with respect to about $30 million worth of work, and that’s a lot of money especially in a tough economic time,” Campos said.

Reiskin noted that “the bulk of the cost in delivering the project is the $140 million of construction, which is yet to be bid,” but which will go through the competitive bidding process.

“What we do know if we were to stop and do a solicitation that we would lose at least six months” and the cost increase would add $4 million, he said.

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