Jan 9 2012

City Council Candidates Discuss Issue 2: Managing Risk

PCA posed a series of  six questions to candidates for the Piedmont City Council in the upcoming election on February 7.   Following are their responses to Question #3.

How should the City manage risk to General Funds on major public or private capital projects involving the City?

Robert McBain, City Council Candidate, response:

This is a two part question.  If the City is initiating a major project, then it is solely responsible for the funding, administration and execution of the project. I believe the LWV report and the Audit Sub-committee report delineated weaknesses in the city’s project management structure.  I recommend that the city put in place experienced project management to ensure the timely and cost effective delivery of a major public project.

The second part: “Public and Private Projects” is more problematic but solvable.  Clear legal, financial and regulatory guidelines need to be reviewed and established to ensure that the city is assuming risks that it well understands, quantifies and  that will prove immaterial to the city.   It is my belief that such public and private partnerships will be the model for future civic developments and therefore the establishment of clear risk management guidelines and evaluations is essential. In that context, it is especially important to partner with highly talented and experienced professionals.  Fortunately, Piedmont has many such individuals who generously volunteer their time, commitment and expertise .

Tim Rood, City Council Candidate, response:

As the Undergrounding Task Force appointed by the Piedmont League of Women Voters recommended, the City should have the benefit of independent, professional cost estimates and independent, professional project management on major public or private capital projects involving City funds, land or other resources. Before making major commitments, it is crucial for the Council to have objective analysis and a complete understanding of the potential risk to the City if things do not go as planned.  As recommended by the Task Force, the Council should adopt policies encouraging prompt and accurate reporting by City project manager(s) to City management with, at a minimum, “exception reporting” recognizing significant changes in the status of projects, as well as policies requiring prompt, accurate and timely reporting by City management to the City Council regarding exception reporting.

Margaret Fujioka, City Council Candidate, response:

Risk management can be enhanced in Piedmont with the appropriate selection of staff to manage major capital projects, with the most appropriate individuals being the Director of Public Works and/or the City Engineer, given their many years of professional training and experience.  If the project is large or complex it may be appropriate to hire an outside project manager skilled in municipal projects. 


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