Paterson Top Stories

Questions Over Price Cause Delay In Approval of Master Plan Consulting Contract

6114c4bf04f5b26b4fbc_city_hall.jpg
6114c4bf04f5b26b4fbc_city_hall.jpg

PATERSON, NJ – The City Council has balked at approving a $129,000 contract for a Monmouth County firm to work on Paterson’s new master plan, as members demanded to know why the administration did not recommend the company with the lowest price.

“How did we decide to pick this group when they’re not the first or second lowest bidder?” asked Councilman Julio Tavarez.

The city’s acting business administrator, Harry Cevallos, explained to the council that the contract was being awarded through a request for proposal process, not through traditional bids, and that “other factors” like expertise and references were evaluated as well as the competing prices.

Sign Up for E-News

Mayor Jeffrey Jones, who also is serving as Paterson’s interim Community Development director while Lanisha Makle serves a 90-day suspension, has recommended that the city hire Heyer, Gruel and Associates of Red Bank to develop the master plan for $129,000. Three other companies submitted proposals for the job: BFJ Planning of New York for $98,830, Phillips Priess Grygiel of Hoboken for $127,000, and Burgis Associates of Westwood for $166,000.

A master plan serves as a guide for subsequent development decisions. For example, a master plan might set priorities for the different types of industries a city wants to attract, or an outline for new transportation projects, or goals for creating recreational facilities. Paterson’s last master plan was written in 2003, Jones said.

The conflict over the master plan contract initially arose involving the City Council’s special meeting on July 26. The administration was seeking to get the contract approved at that meeting, while the city council requested that a representative of Heyer, Gruel attend the meeting to discuss the job.

But Paterson Corporation Counsel Paul Forsman told the council that asking just one company among the four vying for the contract to attend the meeting might create the appearance of bias for that company. So Heyer, Gruel was told not to come.

During the July 26 meeting, council and administration officials held a general discussion about the master plan contract and decided to put it on their next agenda. That turned out to be a special meeting on Wed., Aug. 8.

But Wednesday’s meeting turned out to be another stand-off on this issue, with the council members complaining that the administration still had not provided them with enough information about the contract and Jones saying they had not asked for the information.

“I’m not prepared to vote to approve a contract with this limited information,’’ said Councilman William McKoy.

“Right now, I’m blindsided,’’ said Councilman Rigo Rodriguez. “I would like to have some input on what we’re doing. I’m afraid of voting for something I know nothing about just because, with all due respect to your administration, just because the administration recommends it.’’

Councilwoman Ruby Cotton suggested the administration provide a written report on why Heyer, Gruel was picked over the other companies. Rodriguez also said he wanted all four companies seeking the contract to appear before the council to answer questions.

Jones told the council that the selection of the master plan consultant had been started by Makle before her suspension. He said the Community Development department was “in transition” and that he was playing “Monday morning quarterback” on the issue.

Jones eventually said he was “on the same page” with the council members and said he would provide the information they requested so they can decide which company to hire. The vote on the contract was pushed back until September.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_4a7c1d9531382f8f978c_d3414e24-7d80-4b40-b695-3d07804f3502

Thu, April 26, 12:00 PM

Paterson Public Library, Paterson

Book Discussion

Arts & Entertainment Law & Justice

Carousel_image_897be50e75068cc49c3a_bronze_heat

Thu, April 26, 6:00 PM

Paterson

Bronze Heat Community Carnival

Carousel_image_897be50e75068cc49c3a_bronze_heat

Fri, April 27, 6:00 PM

Paterson

Bronze Heat Community Carnival

TAPinto Paterson Reader Shares Concerns About Absentee Ballots

April 21, 2018

Dear editor:

I am writing this letter to express a grave concern I have regarding the influx of absentee ballots. To my understanding, absentee ballots were designed to be used by those who are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day. Such as people in the armed services or those who are away on vacation. 

This year’s municipal election will be one for the history books.

Assembly's Longest Serving Member Dead at 79

April 19, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- Paterson's Assembly members, Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly, are mourning the loss of their colleague, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield) who died on Thursday.

Green, 79, was the longest serving member of the Assembly, and considered to be a champion of affordable housing. Green stepped down as Chairman of the Union County Democratic Organization on January 24 to ...

Pascrell Statement on the Passing of Paterson Police Officer Tamby Yagan

April 24, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- “Today Paterson is in mourning. Officer Tamby Yagan of the Paterson Police Force made the ultimate sacrifice for our city when he was tragically killed while in the line of duty.

“A native of Prospect Park, Officer Yagan was a volunteer in the Prospect Park Fire Department for six years before joining Paterson’s Finest through a COPS hiring grant. Officer Yagan ...