Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno council to award $172k for "park engagement"
GV-Wire-1
By gvwire
Published 8 years ago on
October 13, 2016

Share

by David Taub

Congratulations are in order for Suzanne Bertz-Rosa and Cary Catalano. The two Fresno public relations wizards are about to earn a six-figure city job. The council votes on Thursday on whether to award a $172,756 contract to the eponymously named Bertz-Rosa Strategy & Creative to engage the public about parks and trails.

According to Bertz-Rosa’s bid, they will sub-contract out to Catalano’s firm of Catalano Fenske & Associates and Fresno Building Healthy Communities (BHC) to get folks excited about a park.

The engagement contract is one of three that the city put up for bid as part of its parks plan. Already awarded were the contracts for the Active Transportation Plan ($234,500 to Fehr & Peers, with corporate headquarters in Walnut Creek) and the Parks Master Plan (a $450,000 contract awarded to Wallace Roberts and Todd of San Francisco). Both contracts set aside money ($60,500 and $20,000 respectively) for community engagement.

There is some rumblings in and around city council chambers whether such a contract are smart spending of public money. Some are worried that that the community engagement is a duplication of services that will already be performed by the other contracts. Some are also concerned that this is just City Hall as usual, awarding contracts to friends and supporters.

And, some are concerned whether engagement is needed in the first place. Conventional wisdom might save the city a pretty penny. Yes, people like and want parks. Parks with green grass and playgrounds are good. And, those play structures where kids can climb up and down…people like them. And with the shade structure, because after all, this is Fresno. And swings. Clean bathrooms. People like all those things.

Not to say that Bertz-Rosa and Catalano aren’t good at what they do. Both firms have positive reputations and do turn out solid work.  The collaborative boasts about prior organizing of city events, such as the Fulton Street Groundbreaking (for $15,000) and outreach for Bus Rapid Transit ($188,600).

Bertz-Rosa was also appointed by Mayor Ashley Swearengin in 2009 as an alternate to the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan Community Advisory Committee. She is still listed as an alternate.

Catalano is also a familiar name to Fresno politics. He is a current city planning commissioner, appointed in 2014 by Swearengin. This was after he ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2014. During that campaign, he received the endorsement of Swearengin,  and current councilmen Steve Brandau and Lee Brand. Campaign finance records also show that a committee controlled by Swearengin donated. Current councilwoman Esmeralda Soria eventually won the seat.

Brand, currently running for Mayor, has received the endorsement of Catalano.

The third member of the collaboration, BHC, made waves last year for its provocative ads regarding city parks. The display was rejected by the city for the sides of  buses because it was deemed “too political.”

The city put out the engagement project for bid in June 2016. The city says it separated the bids from the other two parks related projects because it wanted to hire a specialty team that focuses on media, branding and grassroots outreach.

Three companies applied for the public relations end: Bertz-Rosa, Southwest Strategies (both of whom are based in Fresno) and Green Media Creations of Burbank. The former two were selected for in-person interviews with an anonymous committee made up of city staff.  According to public documents, Bertz-Rosa’s initial proposal came in at $252,584. Southwest’s came in at $45,540.

City staff recommended Bertz-Rosa.  City documents reveal the winning choice was made because:  “significantly more experience in the Fresno market… included a specific plan and budget for citywide canvassing and grassroots engagement…(and) significantly more experience in marketing, communications, community outreach, and public relations.”

Looking inside Bertz-Rosa’s proposal, it was knocked down to $172,756, a reduction of $80,000 from its initial successful bid. According to the city presentation for council, item such as paid media, e-mail newsletters and blog posts were simplified.  More than half the amount ($92,139) will go to branding, outreach and communications. The proposal still calls for a social media plan for Facebook and Twitter. For 30 hours on tweets and posts, Bertz-Rosa estimates the cost at  $5,130. That averages to $171 an hour.

The item has been on the council agenda three times before. However, it was pulled before council could discuss. Some speculate City Hall didn’t feel it had the votes. It must be feeling more confident now.

Click here to read the council’s agenda item on the project.

 

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

DON'T MISS

Police Tangle With Students in Texas and California as Wave of Campus Protest Against Gaza War Grows

DON'T MISS

Meet the Valley Republican Predicting a November Win Over Esmeralda Soria

DON'T MISS

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

DON'T MISS

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

DON'T MISS

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

DON'T MISS

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

DON'T MISS

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

DON'T MISS

Fong Won’t Debate Boudreaux, but We Get Hot Topic Answers Anyway

DON'T MISS

Legislation Pandering to Tribal Casinos Is a Bad Bet for Fresno Cardroom Employees

UP NEXT

Fresno County Appoints New Librarian. What’s Her Favorite Book Genre?

UP NEXT

Costa Seeks Legislation to Prevent Reedley Lab Repeat

UP NEXT

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

UP NEXT

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

UP NEXT

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

UP NEXT

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

UP NEXT

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

UP NEXT

Abandoned Pup LB Finds Hope and Healing. He’s Available for Adoption at Mell’s Mutts.

UP NEXT

$11M State Grant Will Help Fresno’s Emergency Shelter Beds, Mental Health Services

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

12 hours ago

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

13 hours ago

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

14 hours ago

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

Local Education /

16 hours ago

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

16 hours ago

Fong Won’t Debate Boudreaux, but We Get Hot Topic Answers Anyway

16 hours ago

Legislation Pandering to Tribal Casinos Is a Bad Bet for Fresno Cardroom Employees

17 hours ago

About 1 in 4 US Adults Over 50 Say They Expect to Never Retire, an AARP Study Finds

18 hours ago

Biden Signs a $95 Billion War Aid Measure With Assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

18 hours ago

Ancestry Website to Catalogue Names of Japanese Americans Incarcerated During World War II

18 hours ago

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

Boeing said Wednesday that it lost $355 million on falling revenue in the first quarter, another sign of the crisis gripping the aircraft ma...

11 hours ago

11 hours ago

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

12 hours ago

Police Tangle With Students in Texas and California as Wave of Campus Protest Against Gaza War Grows

CA District 27 Assembly candidate Joanna Garcia Rose
12 hours ago

Meet the Valley Republican Predicting a November Win Over Esmeralda Soria

12 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

13 hours ago

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

14 hours ago

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

Local Education /
16 hours ago

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

16 hours ago

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend