DP West Marina RFP Update
Dear fellow boaters,
The selection of a management company for our West Marina will affect much more than simply who boaters on the west side write their monthly check to. It's a big deal. To east and west marina boaters alike. The consolidation of the east and west marinas under a single marina manager will result in savings, efficiencies and clarity that will improve the everyday enjoyment and satisfaction that we Dana Point boaters are so fortunate to experience in our wonderful harbor. We encourage all of you to stay informed and be involved.
As you know, the Orange County Board of Supervisors has delayed again their consideration of the Dana Point west basin management contract. Though the Supervisors have not offered specific reasons for the delays, we do know from conversations with the Supervisors' staffs that the delay represents their diligence in ensuring that all proposals are evaluated thoroughly and all bidders considered fairly. In the meantime, those of us affected by the outcome (that's you, us and all other stakeholders in our harbor) can continue to ponder and debate the matter at hand. In that regard, you may have seen the recent blog by Boater for Dana Point Harbor, including his letter to the Supervisors. The letter raises a few issues, including assertions about DPBA, that are worth responding to. DPBA does not wish to engage in a petty tit-for-tat with B4DPH, because this is not about him or us, it's about all of you, our Dana Point boaters. However, another stone has been cast, and while we still won't hurl one in return, we will catch this one. Because there are a few points raised in the B4DPH letter worth responding to...
- Indeed, the request for proposals (RFPs) issued by the County of Orange for management of the west basin did not seek proposals for consolidating east and west marina management. That would be an impossible request with Dana Point Marina Company locked in to the East Marina until 2021. But due to the unavoidable circumstances we find ourselves in, the selection of DPMC to manage the west marina - as recommended by County staff - would effectively consolidate marina management under one marina operator, and this is the outcome that DPBA supports. We believe that unified marina management is in the best interest of all Dana Point boaters for the reasons we presented earlier.
Sure, the County could wait until the DPMC contract expires in 2021 to request proposals for consolidated marina management. And let's say for now the County selects the third-ranked bidder (that's TBW, behind DPMC and Almar) to continue to manage the west marina until 2021... Based on the operating costs proposed by TBW, the Harbor would incur more than $1 million dollars in additional operating expenses over the next five years, and presumably more than $2 million over nine years, compared to selecting DPMC to manage both sides of the bridge now. Keep in mind that all harbor revenue stays in the harbor. Is it worth spending $2 million dollars to wait nine years to consolidate marina management? Or should we support the selection of DPMC now, and start saving that money now? We can debate how those savings are used later, and DPBA will always advocate for Dana Point boaters for the use of harbor revenue. Also, there's nothing stopping the County from issuing a new RFP in 2021 (when the east and west contracts will jointly expire) to let all bidders make a play for east and west marina management.
- Orange County Dana Point Harbor, not the individual marina managers, is the operating authority for our harbor. True, all Dana Point boaters live by common rules established by OC-DPH. But the marina managers retain day-to-day discretion in how their departments are operated that result in differences in how some rules are enforced. However, it's actually the similarity between the two operators that is much of the justification for unifying management. Once upon a time, in the very early days of our harbor, it made sense for two marina operators to share the burden of building our marinas, and they were rewarded with long-term leases to reap the benefits of their investment. And they did. But those days are over. The County now operates the harbor, and we have two marina managers - contracted agents of the County - performing identical work. Simply, there is no longer a value added to our marinas and their boaters by having two marina operators in the same harbor performing duplicate work at added expense.
- The prospect of a single marina manager operating under two separate contracts for management of the east and west basins does not present the "damaging consequences" implied by the B4DPH letter, and certainly no more damaging than two separate managers operating under separate contracts with little or no coordination. In fact, at the Board or Supervisors' discretion and direction, OC-DPH and DPMC could work towards consolidating the east and west marina contracts now in a way that complies with the obligations to the RFP and existing east marina contract, resulting in a single contract for management of both marinas. If this can be achieved, it would result in additional efficiencies and savings for our marinas.
- We at DPBA also wish boaters had been included earlier in this process, which would have enhanced the legitimacy of the outcome. However, in this case we firmly believe that the County staff achieved the best outcome for Dana Point boaters, and we don't believe that starting the process over to include boater representation in the selection process would change the outcome, or be worth the extended time and complications necessary to restart the RFP process. We have expressed to OC Dana Point Harbor that boater representation must be included as this process continues with negotiation and approval of the contract with whomever is ultimately selected to manage the west marina. In fact, we have requested, and the Harbor Department has accepted, DPBA's participation in the development of performance standards to be included in the contract with whomever is selected to operate the west marina. If we get our way, these performance standards will include measurable outcomes, with benchmarks, in customer service, maintenance, billing, waitlists and subleases, and other performance expectations. Secondly, we are proposing routine "boater advocacy meetings" where we will meet jointly with Orange County Dana Point Harbor and Dana Point Marina Company and share issues that boaters have asked us to bring to the attention of harbor leadership, with a process to feed back to our boaters resolution to these issues. We believe that these initiatives will both ease the transition of west marina boaters to new management, and enhance the level of satisfaction of all Dana Point boaters.
- Your Dana Point Boaters Association prides itself on being a broad and inclusive organization that strives to represent the best interests of all 3000+ Dana Point boaters. DPBA is led by five elected volunteer directors, ten official advisors, plus many more informal advisors whose input we value as we make decisions on behalf of the Dana Point boating community. We welcome - in fact we encourage - varying viewpoints so that our decisions are as well-informed as possible. Like any representative organization, there are occasionally debate and disagreement among our leadership group as we consider the important matters affecting our community. That said, on the matter of the west marina management contract, our directors are 100% in agreement with our position, and every advisor who has attended our meetings where this matter was discussed, where we examined the RFP and all related documents, where we debated the best outcome for Dana Point boaters, every one of them is in agreement with our position. If any of our advisors do not agree with our position, they have not attended a recent meeting or voiced their dissention to us. But we certainly welcome their inclusion as we continue to be involved in this matter.
Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter to the future of our harbor. As always, we welcome and encourage your input and participation in everything your Dana Point Boaters Association does. Feel free to contact us with your feedback and questions.
For the Board of Directors and Advisors
Mission Statement:The Dana Point Boaters Association advocates the preservation, enhancement, and expansion of affordable recreational boating resources. We work to improve the family friendly atmosphere and breadth of water-oriented actives we all enjoy in the harbor. We serve as the watchdog by ethically protecting the rights of all boaters and representing them when collective action is most effective. We actively gather information and communicate our views to educate boaters, external interests, and public officials. We build and maintain constructive, working relationships to achieve common goals with other harbor stakeholders. We will pass on our harbor to the next generation of recreational boaters in better condition than it is today.