The remark was a follow-up to a Sept. 4 meeting when Gulliford said he would subpoena, if necessary, city department heads who failed to show up to help determine why the Hemming Plaza RFP issued in July received not a single response.
"We need to make sure when we put this thing back out to bid, we get some good responses," said Gulliford.
The group, including the directors of the city procurement, parks and risk management departments, Office of Economic Development and Downtown Investment Authority in addition to the Office of General Counsel and the mayor's office, addressed factors Thursday that led to the lack of response in July. By the time the meeting adjourned, the group agreed it had the basics for a new RFP.
One flaw in the first RFP was that responsibility for key elements of the operation of the park was not clear, said Terry Lorince, executive director of Downtown Vision Inc., which was part of a group involved in drafting the initial request, but did not respond when it was put out for bids.
The subject of who pays for electricity is an issue, Lorince said.
Kelley Boree, director of the Parks & Recreation Department, said the city would be responsible for the cost of utilities and infrastructure maintenance. The cost, however, would be difficult to budget because the purpose of turning programming and management of the park over to a third party is to increase usage, which would up the city's costs.
Gulliford suggested council contingency funds could be used to offset increased expenses.
Lorince also requested the term of the proposed agreement be changed from one year with a one-year renewal option to a three-year agreement.
"Whoever gets the contract, it will be a relationship," she said.
The group reached consensus that a three-year contract with a two-year renewal option will be in the new RFP.
Gulliford said a termination clause for both sides should be in the new contract. He said if the successful bidder doesn't like how the agreement is working, it should be able to give the park back to the city. If the city isn't satisfied with the vendor's performance, the city should be able to "throw them out of the park," said Gulliford.
He described the termination clause as a "negotiating tool for both sides."
Liability insurance requirements also were not clear in the original RFP, Lorince said. Based on the language of the request, the cost of insurance could be as much as $50,000 per year, she said.
City Risk Manager Twane Duckworth said based on what he heard at Thursday's meeting, the city would not have to require that much liability coverage from the vendor.
Gulliford said the successful bidder should receive "a reasonable income" from the city to offset the cost of getting the program started and that would include the cost of insurance.
City Procurement Director Greg Pease said a new RFP will be drafted and a pre-proposal conference will be scheduled with parties who might be interested in bidding. Input from potential bidders will be considered before the RFP is finalized, he said.
"Can you put a line in there that says the city doesn't want to be a pain in the butt?" said city Chief Administrative Officer Karen Bowling.
Gulliford said he wants the city to ensure that a contract can be signed by Jan. 1. He said also he will book the first party in the park after the agreement is in place.
"Lemonade and cookies. Paid for out of my own checkbook," Gulliford said.
"This is not going to be a woodshed session meeting," said City Council President Bill Gulliford on Thursday when he called to order a meeting to revamp the Request for Proposals seeking a private operator for Hemming Plaza.