Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Marinwood Fire Departments $54,280 "Martha Stewart" kitchen makeover BOONDOGGLE

Chief Roach discusses a $54,280 kitchen makeover for the Marinwood Fire House.  In the spring of 2017, the fire chief discovered mold in the kitchen and thought it could be black mold.  Most mold found in wet areas is the common, non toxic type that easily cleans up with household bleach.  However, the Chief  called in a "Mold remediation expert" that for $6700 demolished the kitchen and applied "special mold" abatement chemical treatment  (household bleach and other chemicals).  A lab test did reveal that "dangerous mold" was present and the company provided "a certificate of remediation".  The firehouse kitchen was gutted.  This was convenient because coincidentally, the chief has wanted a new kitchen for several years.  The kitchen is a standard household size (10' x 10') kitchen with about  30 feet of counter space.  It was also quite convenient that the chief knew of a contractor who bid $24,999 for the kitchen remodel that included granite counter tops, custom lighting and top of the line luxury appliances. The bid was under the $25,000 threshold that would force it to a public bid process.   

Then Chief Roach learned of prevailing wage law that requires the CSD to hire only DIR contractors.  The new bids came in for $80k to $100k plus but only for a utilitarian kitchen.   These bids even made the chief blush.  The kitchen makeover was not anticipated in the 2017 budget.   The chief hired an architect to design the kitchen ($5000?) and finally got a bid from John Pope Construction for $54,280 not including appliances.  The chief likes this bid in part because the contractor's sons are firefighters.  
Martha Stewart will be proud of the stylish makeover
of the Marinwood FD kitchen.

All of the CSD board members were ready to approve the expenditure at this meeting.  Unfortunately, they have to follow the law and Ron Marinoff suggested that they do it at a "special meeting" where few would notice or attend.  The chief did not publish the bid as required by Brown Act but gave a photocopy at the meeting.

Having done several kitchen remodels in the past of similar sized kitchens,  I know that even in today's business climate, a simple makeover which essentially means only new cabinets and appliances could be achieved for well under $20k.    A community member even offered a $25k DONATION for the kitchen but this was refused.  Instead, Chief Roach appears to be contracting with the highest bidder available,  refusing to use simple commercial grade stainless steel cabinetry and appliances.  

This is at best a HUGE WASTE of your tax dollars.  At worst, it reeks of favoritism, inside dealing and possible corruption.  All of the Marinwood CSD board members appear to be complicit.  Neither our new general manager, Eric Dreikosen or any of the board members (excepting Izabela Perry) is objecting to the ridiculous expenditure.   

I believe the kitchen could be outfitted easily for less than $15k with new install ready cabinets and appliances.  The  money wasted on this "Martha Stewart" Kitchen" project could be spent on playground equipment,  programs,  landscaping and our pension fund.

When the Marinwood CSD tells you that we need to raise taxes, point to this boondoogle and tell them "NO".

Bid from John Pope construction distributed at the meeting but never publicly published as required by law.

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