Schenectady Municipal Golf Course concessionaire gets new contract
SCHENECTADY The Municipal Golf Course concessionaire got a new contract Monday night — possibly one with no end date.
City Council members said the city shouldn’t have gone out to bid on the contract at all, given that the current concessionaire did not want to leave, was popular with the customers and was meeting city expectations.
Councilman Carl Erikson said the city had wasted competing restaurateurs’ time.
“We shouldn’t ... give them false hope that we want to change,” he said. “If we had no intention of changing vendors, we should not have gone out to bid.”
Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo, the only member who voted against continuing June Poltroak’s contract, agreed.
“Just make it an unending contract, breakable by either side for any reason, and don’t go out to bid again” until she leaves, Perazzo said.
But she added that it did not make good business sense to keep Poltroak once the city had gone out to bid. Two other restaurateurs teamed up on a bid and offered the city $10,000 more than Poltroak.
Since both bidders were good restaurateurs, Perazzo said the City Council should pick the higher bid.
Otherwise, she said, the vote “erodes” the bidding process.
One resident agreed with her.
Jason Planck told the council not to pick a concessionaire just because she was popular.
“What’s going to happen in three years?” he asked, predicting that no one would be willing to bid against her when her contract expires again. “You need to take a look at it from a neutral position.”
But several golf course customers asked the council to keep Poltroak, saying that her service was so good it drew customers to the course to have dinner.
Before her, they said, the bar was a “ghost town.”
Councilwoman Marion Porterfield said Poltroak is so popular that the bar might lose customers if she were replaced.
“That’s something we should take into consideration as well,” she said, adding that the bidding process was better designed for buying salt than picking concessionaires.
Councilman Vince Riggi agreed.
“The process is kind of messed up,” he said. “This is a service, not buying this [water] pitcher here.”
He said he, too, would support Perazzo’s idea of a long-term contract.
Erikson said the council should be notified of bidding documents before they are released to the public, so that council members could recall bids for situations like Poltroak’s and change others to stop department heads from tailoring them to the most expensive item.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunity to change the bidding process,” he said.
The council was not aware of the bids for the golf course concessionaire until they were opened, he added.
At the end of the meeting, city Director of Operations William Winkler told the council that he would collaborate to change the bidding process.
“Any process you use is not perfect,” he said. “I’d be happy to work with you.”