10/4/13 – Six Companies Want to Run West Palm’s CRA
October 4, 2013
(West Palm Beach, FL) – After a month of seeking applications, six companies have officially stepped forward to say they can run the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
Friday was the deadline to submit an application to the City of West Palm Beach. It was a month ago the city began the process of asking the private sector to answer its call to operate the CRA.
The six companies are:
CH2M Hill Engineers, Inc.
Global Business Development Center
Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA)
Special District Services, Inc.
The Urban Group, Inc.
Since its inception, the CRA has been operated by in-house staff. But earlier this year, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, following the recommendation of then CRA Director Kim Briesmeister, decided it was time to outsource the day-to-day operations.
Briesmeister headed the agency for nearly a decade. During her tenure, the CRA grew to one of the largest, most financially stable CRAs in the state of Florida. But Briesmeister said the CRA was currently at a point where its continued growth and expansion would hinge on individuals with a set of skills and experience different than what was currently on staff.
She also said that while those different skills will be needed in the future, they will not be needed all the time. Briesmeister said what is needed is the ability for the CRA to be more nimble, and be able to quickly respond to changing projects, needs and market conditions.
The city examined three options to find people with the skills needed to move forward.
The first option is to hire additional fulltime city employees. But city officials have said hiring additional fulltime employees would be expensive, and would not provide the needed flexibility.
A second option is to hire outside consultants on an as-needed basis, but again staff determined hiring an army of consultants is expensive and inefficient.
The third option is to outsource the operation and staffing of the CRA to an organization that has various people on staff who can quickly rotate in as needed to handle various projects and challenges.
The only exception would be the requirement of a fulltime CRA Director who would be present in the city and completely dedicated to running West Palm Beach’s CRA.
The city decided to pursue the third option, and for the past month has asked companies to make a pitch for the job. The city issued a “Request for Qualifications” of RFQ, which is a request for companies to submit background materials on their experience and their ability to run the agency.
An RFQ is not a request for specific proposals to run the agency, but rather a chance for an organization to essentially submit its “resume.”
Briesmeister, who owns a company specializing in staffing and operating CRAs resigned several months ago in order to be able to compete for the RFQ.
A committee comprised of individuals both inside and outside the city will now evaluate the submissions and recommend to the CRA Board their top candidates.