Tag Archives: New City Jail

Mayor, Councilwoman have words at city lunch

Rachel DePompa – bio | email   

It wasn’t a shouting match or a down right argument, but things got a little heated at city hall Monday.  It happened at a lunch between Mayor Dwight Jones and Richmond City Council members.  These lunches were added by Mayor Jones as a way to keep in touch with the council. They usually discuss issues making the headlines and this week it was the proposals for a new city jail. 

Richmond received 6 unsolicited proposals to build a new jail. Details on at least 3 of the proposals have leaked out to the press, which has caused concerned in the affected city neighborhoods. We learned today that 2 of the 6 proposals were disqualified by the committee vetting the plans. We don’t know which plans were sent back or why and that’s what started the debate today.    

Councilwoman Reva Trammell represents the 8th district. She says one of the proposals under consideration would be in her district at an old Phillip Morris building. She wanted to know today, where the developers of the remaining plans are proposing to put their jails. This second clip, Mayor Jones openly disagrees with Trammell.      

I spoke with both Trammell and Jones after the meeting. Trammell was still pretty mad about not being told where the jails could be built. She said, “Just like myself representing the 8th district, I need to know what’s going on in my district. He’s the mayor of this city. He should know where those other proposals are. Is there going to another one in the 8th district? The 1st, 2nd, 3rd? Where are the other proposals? He’s the Mayor. He should know. He said he doesn’t know. He does not want to know.” 

Mayor Dwight Jones told me that a special committee is vetting the proposals so he does not know the details of any of them. He went on to tell me, “Let’s keep our powder dry. Let’s be calm. Let’s be collected. Let’s wait for the process to fulfill itself and then when we have all the information on the table we will make a decision. At the end of the process, after we’ve gathered all the information, that’s the time for the public to say we don’t like this or we do like it. And at the end of the day it’s not going to be my decision. City Council’s got to make that decision.” 

The administration says it could be another 5 or 6 months before the 4 proposals are fully vetted. The committee will make a recommendation to Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall who in turn will make a recommendation to the mayor. City Council will vote on a final proposal if the process gets that far. 






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Group That Submitted Jail Proposal Fights to Have it Opened

Rachel DePompa – bio | email  

There’s a battle brewing in the city over the proposals for building a new city jail. One of the groups that submitted a plan is worried the city won’t even open their packet containing the proposal. That’s because the group didn’t pay a $50,000 fee.  The city says the fee is required by state law for unsolicited PPEA proposals. 

The Inside Baseball:  The debate is over the word “unsolicited”. The group, made up of a Suffolk Construction and Strollo Architects, sent a letter to the city asking that their proposal still be considered without the $50,000 payment.

J. Pat Strollo told me by phone today that the fee amounts to “discrimination to small firms that can’t afford to pay.”  In the letter, Strollo and his partner argue that the city’s invitation for proposals “was a solicitation for proposals and as such falls under the PPEA stipulation of solicited proposals.”  The go on to say, “we do not believe, for the above reason, that any fees are required or justified for this process. Therefore, we are requesting that our proposal be opened and reviewed with the understanding that if this proposals is advanced to the next phase of detailed submission, fees may, be required.”

Mayor Dwight Jones’ Press Secretary, Tammy Hawley told me this afternoon that the city is required by state law to “advertise that we received an unsolicited  PPEA and that others are allowed to submit if they so choose.” She went on to say the city advertised, but did not solicit proposals, meaning the $50,000 fee is required.

There were 6 proposals submitted to the city and they are still being vetted. At least one of the proposals submitted the fee. It’s unclear tonight how many of the other groups also paid up.

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Filed under City Hall Talk, New City Jail