By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
But Charles Robertson, the city's new deputy manager of Parks and Recreation, says there is only a fifty-fifty chance that the course will be contructed soon. "You can't build somethin' if you have nothin'," he says.
"We can't really afford any more losers," agrees councilmember Ted Hackworth, adding that he's sure the council will see pressure from land developers to build the course. "We'll just have to say no. That's what we tell our kids. That's what the city council has to do."
One entity that's entirely out of the decision-making loop in the existing conflict is the city's Golf Advisory Committee. The seven-member panel --several of whose members possess considerable golf expertise--meets every other month with city officials and exists precisely to advise the city on matters pertaining to golf. "They tell us what's going on and we make suggestions," says chairman Pat Gallavan.
But is anyone listening? According to Robertson, the city decided not to involve the committee in the selection of a golf consultant. Former chairman Charlie Kay describes the committee as "window dressing, plain and simple," and adds, "They wouldn't follow a single recommendation we made. It's not like anyone proposed anything that was really radical."
The panel didn't have a chance to make any proposals in this instance. Last July, the city issued requests for proposals for a thorough analysis about what had to be done to restore the courses' competitiveness. Included among the three teams of applicants were the National Golf Foundation (NGF), one of the country's biggest golf research organizations; THK Associates, which has done the feasibility studies on the majority of metro Denver courses; RFG, Inc., a veteran golf research firm; and Dick Phelps, whose company has designed many area courses, including Evergreen, South Suburban, the new nine holes at Kennedy and Aurora's Saddlerock.
None of those firms was in on the winning bid.
Pete Elzi, a partner at THK, says his company had criticized the Denver courses a few months before the requests for proposals came out, so he wasn't surprised when his team lost. "Maybe the selection committee didn't like our comments," he speculates. However, he was surprised that his competitor NGF didn't get the bid. So was NGF.
"I thought we put together a great team and a real good proposal," says Barry Frank, vice president of NGF's consulting subsidiary, which handles between 55 and 70 consulting jobs a year. "We would have liked to have won that one. There are darn few companies that do this--golf as a business. I'm not sure Monaghan has the expertise that they need."
Monaghan, whose bid came in between the two other teams of consultants, didn't come to the table empty-handed. It will be working with not only Dye Design but BBC, a sports research and consulting firm.
But losing bidder Elzi points out: "Dye does not do feasibility studies. It does the physical side. If BBC does the financial side, then what's the role of [Monaghan]? Somebody should make this guy show he has some relevant golf experience."
Monaghan's role, says Kenney, will be to conduct the marketing and public policy portions of the study.
B.G. Brooks, the new director of Parks and Recreation, says NGF's bid of $66,000 to $81,000 was too high, while the "deliverables" were too low. THK, which bid $34,000 to $40,500, produced what Brooks calls a "boilerplate proposal. We needed some creativity that wasn't in their proposal."
And the city didn't make up its mind all by itself. Denver paid $1,800 to bring in RMD Financial, a small, local consulting firm headed by Richard M. Daniel, to make recommendations on the proposals. Seeking outside assistance, Parks and Recreation officials say, is proof of the city's impartiality.
But some observers note that the selection process still was more hurried than usual. "If you look at Aurora and look at their last two [requests for proposals], or prior ones with Denver and the way they're done, this one stands apart from all the other examples," says one source close to the bidding.
For one thing, the RFP was out for only two weeks, instead of the more common four or six; for another, at least two of the three firms contacted were not interviewed, which is unusual for proposals jammed with technical information.
And there was no selection committee, as there usually is; Parks and Recreation officials made the decision themselves, with help from RMD, of course. (RMD and city officials won't reveal what RMD's recommendation was, but Kenney says the firm chose Monaghan's bid.) After Monaghan was selected, there was no recourse for the losers.
"We requested that the parks and recreation department and the city attorney review the evaluation and award process," says J.R. Witt, president of losing bidder RFG, "and were informed on several occasions by various individuals within such departments that no appeal was available and that none was allowed."
At Witt's request, the city attorney's office reviewed the selection process, and concluded that it was conducted fairly. But Witt notes, "There's no formal process by which we could have filed any type of request, nor were we entitled to receive any hearing. Based upon that, we let it go."