Citing concerns with the staff recommendation to approve a five-year contract with a new management company and competition for local businesses, Council Member MaryAnn MacGillivray was the lone dissenting vote in a 4-1 approval of a contract with management company Raw Inspiration, Inc., that will revive Sierra Madre's farmers market, which .
During Tuesday's meeting, MacGillivray asked that the issue--which was originally part of the consent calendar--be considered separately from the items typically approved in a single vote. MacGillivray also had concerns about the new management company's proposal that it be exempted from paying for a business license from the city.
But that provision was not included in the contract as it was presented to the council at Tuesday's meeting.
“I believe the waiver situation was in their original proposal,” Community and Personel Services Director Elisa Weaver said in response. “They've actually signed the contract that we proposed, and it is not in the contract, so they will be paying the business licenses ... per our policies and ordinances.”
Regarding the five-year contract, Weaver said that city staff had heard from vendors who argued that farmers markets “take a couple of years before they're actually successful.” That feedback, according to Weaver, was heard during the initial Request for Proposals process in late 2010, which failed to secure a new management company for the .
“It gives them that opportunity to grow their business,” Weaver said.
Weaver also pointed out a clause in the contract that will allow the city to terminate the agreement with only 10 days prior notice. That clause also allows Raw Inspiration, Inc., to cancel the agreement with just 30 days notice.
“Well it says we can terminate in 10 days, and they can terminate in 30, but I guess that's without cause. For any reason, whether we like it, don't like it, whatever,” MacGillivray asked.
Weaver agreed that this was the case, then offered to allow the council to direct further questions to the Raw Inspiration representative who was on hand at the meeting.
Declining the offer, MacGillivray then switched gears by saying her primary concern was the competition a farmers market would bring to local businesses. However, MacGillivray said that Raw Inspiration had already made their case against this being a problem in their written proposal.
Raw Inspiration, Inc., was selected for the award of contract over A&R Management, a company run by Oscar Rodriguez, a coffee vendor who previously managed the Sierra Madre Farmers Market following the departure of the original management company.
Rodriguez did not return calls seeking comment on the effective denial of his proposal.
That company, entirely, citing .
Tuesday's approval of the new management contract follows a long and troubled process of Sierra Madre's farmers market, which included debate over its location, by the Community Services Commission.