Taking a break from Measure E stuff for today. So someone pointed me to the fact that the City’s Alameda Point/SunCal updates website was designed and created by Graphtek, the same company that was selected to the tune of nearly $75K to brand the City of Alameda with a new identity and logo similar to the work they did for Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant in Desert Hot Springs.
So, I decided to ask for a copy of the contract for developing the SunCal updates website. Instead of getting a copy of a contract for Graphtek, instead I received a copy for Rips Consulting, Inc. The initial contract was for $39,000, but then was amended to$51,000. But the SunCal website was not the entire scope of the contract, rather we are in for more branding folks!
That’s right, the scope of work includes:
Management of the creation of the City’s green identity, which includcs working with a graphics partner selected by the City to produce a brand audit and positioning platform, develop a green logo and tagline, and overseeing consistent use of the to-be-developed identity in green marketing and communications materials
It is unclear if this branding and identity work is in addition to or on the same track as the Graphtek branding work, because it would be sort of silly to have two “brands” for Alameda. If we are going with the “Green Island” thing, then why the rigmarole around the whole survey? Although the survey was pretty lame so it was probably done in order to say, “hey, we did a survey.”
If this is an extension of the Graphtek branding contract, then between these two branding contracts the $75K thresh hold has already been breeched and this should have really been put out to bid to allow local companies a chance to brand Alameda in some sort of pre-selected “green identity.” And while I’m sure that the two companies selected are very competent, I’m not quite clear on why there was not an attempt to tap Alameda, or at the very least Bay Area talent before importing yet another Coachella Valley business to reap the financial benefit of Alameda’s General Fund.
And, this should come at no surprise, but Rips Consulting (see reference to Catherine Rips) was hired as a consultant to work on the Desert Hot Springs branding effort to build DHS’s identity as “California’s Spa City,” from a Press Enterprise article that discusses the aftermath of Ann Marie Gallant’s resignation as City Manager in DHS:
Gallant later hired consultants to improve the city’s image. The tagline “California’s Spa City” was formally registered this month, and a city-sponsored Web site marketing Desert Hot Springs’ boutique spa hotels came online this summer, said city consultant Catherine Rips. A redesign of the city logo, a new urban design plan and a bid for a College of the Desert west campus are all under way, Rips said.
For those wondering, Desert Hot Springs did not get the College of the Desert west campus, it appears that honor went to Palm Springs.
Here’s the weird thing though, in the last payment of $12,000 for two months made to Rips Consulting, the line item indicated that it was to cover “Alameda Point Website , Develop and Maintain SunCal/Alameda Point Website,” but I confirmed with City staff that the SunCal project code was only billed $3000. It is unclear why the SunCal website was bundled into a larger branding project.