Street Sweeping Politics

by MissionViejoDispatch.com on January 24, 2013

This week the City Council rejected City Staff’s recommendation to extend for one year the street sweeping contract held by Athens Services. Last year the Council likewise refused to extend the contract for the previous contractor, Sunset Property Services. The resulting bidding process saved the City over 10% on the nearly $700,000 annual cost.

Athens Street Sweeper

Typically city contracts include an extension option which is exercised when performance is satisfactory and there are prospective inflationary price increases from new bidding. Last year the struggling economy increased competition and provided lower costs.  In addition, Athens was willing to go low to oust Sunset, which was supported by Councilman Dave Leckness. On Monday Dave Leckness and Sunset urged the rebidding.

Lower costs might result due to Sunset’s determination to regain the contract. But watch the politics, because the Council isn’t required to accept the lowest bid. Leckness appears to be a stalking horse for Sunset. Frank Ury seems to be the promoter for Athens. Sunset has given campaign contributions to Leckness and Trish Kelley. Athens was a large donor to Ury. Leckness and Kelley made the motion for rebidding, favoring Sunset, while Ury voted against rebidding, favoring Athens.

Cathy Schlicht and Rhonda Reardon have not received contributions from street sweeping vendors. They both supported the solicitation of new bids.

Athens’ current contract expires June 30.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Desi Kiss January 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

The previous contractor Sunset provided a higher quality of service than Arakelian Enterprises Inc. (dba Athens Services). The staff proposed annual contract was for 673.9 K also allowing staff to issue PO’s to Arakelian not to exceed 337K . The total then potentially would be in excess of 1M ! The length of the contract was for the period: 07/01/2013 through June 30, 2015. That was a good move by the City Council, who shall consider a similar action when the contract renewal comes up for Charles Abbott and Assoc. , a contract holder to provide services for the Building and Safety Department, that also includes plan check and permitting, as well as inspection services during construction in the City of Mission Viejo.

Patti Bout January 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I just hope whoever the contractor is has more sense then the last one in regards to timing. I’ll never forget being in a long line of cars behind a street sweeper on Chrisanta, going towards La Paz from the high school at 7:45am on a rainy week-day. So many things wrong with that picture, not the least – street sweeper when it was raining.

Allan Pilger January 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

The bidding process for street sweeping is a glaring example of how the City Council majority is up for sale, with the three votes split along the lines of which vendor contributed to whom. Council members Reardon and Schlicht, who received no handouts from street sweeping vendors, push for soliciting new bids.

It is also interesting that when my son and his family moved within Cypress, among the first tidbits from neighbors were the days for weekly trash pickup and weekly street sweeping. No problems.

On-street parking is prohibited on street sweeping days in Cypress. His old neighborhood knew the Monday sweeping was always finished by 10:30 am and acted accordingly. No problems.

In Mission Viejo, the City Council, always sensitive to getting votes, heard staff proposals in the past for alternate side parking on designated sweeping days. Some people complained and the council backed down. Getting re-elected is more important than keeping the streets clean.

A recent attempt with windshield cards seeking voluntary compliance in our MV neighborhood was a laughable failure.

Bottom line–streets are a lot cleaner in my son’s Cypress neighborhoods than in the neighborhood he grew up in the the “California Promise.’

Leo Getz February 1, 2013 at 6:02 am

Putting a contract out for bid has costs associated with the process. If we saved money 2 years ago looks like we will be giving it back by putting this back out to bid? Our streets are very clean. I was unaware of any change.

Allan Pilger February 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I will challenge Leo’s claim that the streets are “very clean.” If so, why did the City go through the exercise of placing cards on windshields of cars parked on the streets in my neighborhood asking voluntary compliance by parking off street on street sweeping days?

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