Mar 3 2011

Editors’ Note: This is the League of Women Voters’ Report in its entirety.

League of Women Voters Task Force to Investigate and Report

on Piedmont Hills Undergrounding District

February 22, 2011

Summary of Preliminary Findings

The Piedmont Hills Undergrounding District (the “District”) project (the “Project”) incurred significant construction cost overruns, of which over $2 million was paid by the City out of its general funds in early 2010.  The City Council thereafter appointed a three-person Audit Subcommittee to investigate how and why the overruns had occurred, and now approximately one year later, it has just recently released its members’ preliminary draft reports.

The League of Women Voters (“League”) felt that the events and circumstances raised issues of civic importance to all City voters, and created a volunteer Task Force with the goal of providing an independent investigation and report.  This preliminary report by the Task Force identifies what it believes to be some of the significant problems that led to the unprecedented cost overruns.  Within the next month, the Task Force anticipates providing the Audit Subcommittee with comments on its members’ preliminary draft reports and anticipates participating in the public comment process.  The Task Force may issue a further report if the Audit Subcommittee’s final report has material changes.

Executive Summary

The Task Force was formed by the League in early 2010.  The magnitude of the cost overruns raised issues regarding the City’s ability to manage and administer major contracts.  Potential members for the Task Force were interviewed by the League, and the following long-time Piedmont residents were selected: Alex Gunst, Mary Heller, Rob Hendrickson, Al Peters, and Kathleen Quenneville.  Task Force members’ backgrounds include construction project management, accounting, city governance, and legal. > Click to read more…

Jan 25 2011

The City Council’s Audit Subcommittee which is investigating problems with the City’s procedures for private undergrounding districts will have its first meeting of 2011 on Wednesday, January 26th, at 7:30pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall.   An Agenda for this meeting is available.  Primary source documents used by the committee are available here. Links to prior meeting agendas, minutes, and video/audio are available below.

July 21, 2010 Agenda Minutes Video MP3 Audio
July 08, 2010 Agenda Minutes Video MP3 Audio
May 13, 2010 Agenda Minutes Video MP3 Audio
March 31, 2010 Agenda Minutes Video MP3 Audio

Information on the Piedmont Hills Underground Assessment District   here.

Jan 18 2011

An article, “Piedmont residents perplexed about undergrounding” written by Linda Davis  in the Piedmonter discusses delays in removing telephone poles from the Piedmont Hills Undergrounding Utility District.

Nov 17 2010

Contractor and Piedmont resident Neil Teixeira wrote to the City Council and PHUUD Audit Subcommittee, calling attention to the Cal-Trans Bidding Guidelines, California Public Bidding Laws, Piedmont City Charter section 4.11, California Business & Professional Code section 20415 and California Public Contract Code sections 20161 & 20162.  His letter, which raises his concerns regarding oversight and legal issues of the bidding process, was published on November 5, 2010 on the editorial page in the Piedmonter.

Oct 25 2010

The City Council Audit Subcommittee meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 28th has been canceled.  The Committee advises that it will require additional time to prepare its report.   Check back here for the new date which will be published when scheduled.  Background Materials:  Video of previous meetings, held on March 31st, May 13th, July 8th, and July 21st  are available on the KCOM webpage under “Other Public Meetings”; agendas, meeting materials, and primary source documents; and materials on the Piedmont Hills and other Underground Assessment Districts.

Sep 1 2010

What mechanisms and funding sources are available to Piedmont for undergrounding its utilities?

Undergrounding may be accomplished in a number of ways – through a city-wide undergrounding program using various sources of funding, or through three different types of undergrounding districts funded by homeowners privately and/or PG&E monies. > Click to read more…

Aug 14 2010

An analysis of the City’s bidding process for the Piedmont Hills Utility Undergrounding District (PHUUD) construction project which cost Piedmont taxpayers $2 million in cost overruns.  By Rick Schiller.
> Click to read more…