TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: DECEMBER 6, 2005
SUBJECT: VIEW RESTORATION MEDIATOR CONTRACT RENEWAL
Authorize the City Manager to enter into a contract with Mrs. Coleen Berg for professional view restoration mediation services for an additional year.
On November 3, 2004, the City Council authorized the City Manager to execute an agreement with Mrs. Coleen Berg for professional view restoration mediation services. The agreement was for a one-year period at a cost not to exceed $14,000 for the year. After a year’s evaluation, Staff believes that Mrs. Coleen Berg has proven to be valuable in resolving view restoration disputes thereby reducing the overall City costs associated with the formal view restoration permit process. Therefore, in consideration of her exceptional performance, Staff recommends that the Council extend the City’s contract with Mrs. Coleen Berg for an additional year.
At the May 4, 2004 City Council meeting, the Council considered a Staff proposal to use a trained mediator instead of volunteers to facilitate meetings for the View Restoration pre-application process. After discussion, the City Council agreed to use the services of Mrs. Berg on a no-cost trial basis so the effectiveness of a trained mediator could be evaluated. Based on Mrs. Berg’s success rate in securing private agreements during the trial basis, on November 3, 2004 the City Council authorized the City Manager to execute a contract for the services of Mrs. Berg as a professional mediator for View Restoration meeting purposes for a 12-month period. Since the term of the contract has expired, Mrs. Berg is now requesting a contract extension.
Since November 2004, the City has utilized Mrs. Berg’s professional services to facilitate view related mediation meetings. An evaluation of Ms. Berg’s performance has been conducted. Mrs. Berg conducted fifteen (15) pre-application meetings since November 2004 with eleven (11) meetings resulting in private agreements and only two (2) meetings where the parties failed to resolve their issues. Also, there were two (2) mediation case meetings where the applicants did not wish to pursue further action after the mediation sessions.
The two cases where the mediation meetings did not produce agreements were decided administratively. As a result, since the current contract with Mrs. Berg began, there have been no View Restoration Permit applications that necessitated hearings by the Planning Commission.
As noted in the contract extension request submitted by Mrs. Berg on November 17, 2005 (attached), Mrs. Berg is proposing an increase in her hourly rate from $100 to $125. Staff believes that the increased rate is nominal and is still below the average industry rate. Based on the number of meetings expected to occur in the next year, the mediator can be expected to perform 1 to 2 pre-application meetings per month, with each session requiring up to 6 hours of mediation time. At the proposed rate, the cost to the City is expected to be $9,000-$18,000 per year. This cost can be covered by the Department’s existing professional and technical service budget. Therefore, Staff is proposing a cap of $18,000 on the new contact. A copy of the new one-year contract is attached.
Approval of the new one-year mediation service contract with Mrs. Coleen Berg would not require a budget adjustment, as the service cost will be absorbed by the existing View Restoration Division’s professional and technical service budget.
1) Request Staff to solicit additional bids for professional mediation services.
2) Identify any issues of concern that may require further study and direct Staff to provide additional information at a subsequent meeting.
Joel Rojas, AICP
Director of Planning, Building and
A - New Mediation Services contract
B- Mrs. Berg’s contract extension request dated November 17, 2005