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In the interim …

Submitted by on 1, October 16, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

So what’s going on with the city’s plan to install an interim manager at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex? We’ve been asking ourselves that question ever since the City Council’s October 7 meeting – where the finalists for the job were supposed to be presented – went on and on and on without a peep about the golf complex.

Well, we attended Wednesday’s Golf Commission meeting and got some answers. Basically, this whole process has been turned on its ear.

Here’s the quick and dirty:

The city put out a request for proposals to run the course for the next year and got back seven responses. A city committee vetted the responses and picked four finalists to present to the council.

The four finalists for the interim manager job are Kemper Sports, which operates 75 golf courses across the U.S., including San Francisco’s public Harding Park golf course, Hiddenbrooke in Vallejo and The Bridges in San Ramon; Empire Golf, which runs a handful of courses around California (including one that was designed by William Bell, like the Earl Fry course at Chuck Corica); Bellows Golf Management, which manages some courses in California and Arizona, and a group led by Mike Robason, the complex’s assistant golf professional.

Problem was, three (or all four, depending on who’s talking) of the proposals called for getting rid of the complex’s maintenance employees, a move the union that represents them claimed was a violation of their contract. So the union and the city are negotiating a deal that would allow the maintenance employees to stay on the job for the length of the interim manager’s contract, to be replaced by non-city staff only if they quit or retire.

Anticipating a deal with the union, city staff has asked each of the four finalists for the interim job to submit an amended proposal, without that whole ditching-the-maintenance-employees thing, by 5 p.m. Friday. And what happens next? “It’s still evolving,” Rec and Parks Director and erstwhile golf course boss Dale Lillard told the commission.

It’s not clear who, if anyone, will submit amended proposals; who will be checking those out; what, if any, public input will go into this selection process; and whether the City Council will approve anything at all, much less at the November 5 meeting where they’re slated to discuss this. If something does get approved, the union will still need to hammer out a deal with the new interim operator. And when that interim contract expires, it’s a whole new ball game.

We’ll get back to you with more on this as it comes. In the meantime, check out this Chronicle article about Alameda High golf phenom Grace Na, whose family moved to Alameda when she was 10 to take advantage of Chuck Corica’s junior golf program, which it called one of the most successful in California.

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