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tv   Small Business Commission 11116  SFGTV  January 18, 2016 6:00pm-8:16pm PST

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express any sincere thanks to supervisor yee and supervisor president london breed and supervisor peskin for holding the minutes it was a continuity report that followed up on the 2011 and 2012 on the citywide technology i'll respond to what bryan said on terms of the recommendation there are other people that will be presenting on the other recommendation so he didn't go over the actual survey questions which we were impressed by the questions were overall how i feel about our services and as likely are you to recommend our services to other colleagues and please tells you about your suggestions and tells you improvements and if you want to
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provide contact information the surveys questions we believe was the core of what of the civil grand jury was intending and allows the departments to share their experience we also understand that e t sent the material to the department and ceo's and others end users we appreciate the effort to be inclusive we are sorry no preliminary results were presented they did say they got 41 responses through they've sent out over 4 hundred e-mails so we d t indicated a followup survey within the next 6 months and every six months an on ongoing basis d t is on the sync on the same page to try to
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improve their procedures and operations that's only recommendation 3. >> okay. we'll move on - are there any public comments? on this item? >> sorry. >> i used to be a mr. campos district now supervisor peskin district the only thing to report about something that was left over from supervisor campos district is the landmark building at thirty 46 - >> this item is about technology from the grand jury report so - >> you're not talking about that. >> i apologize should i sit down illness him i i'm here to can i have 3 minutes.
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>> this is a meeting of the gao which has specific items and the comments people from the public will, making should be related to 9 comments. >> i thought that was your honor, finished business. >> may i have 3 minutes and be done. >> i'll tell you what let's finish with that item first. >> let me know when i should speak. >> yes. >> thank you. >> any other public comments on the item? seeing none. >> please come to the mike. >> it was my understanding the department of the home sharing was here and the office was going to talk to the other recommendations there was no a
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single presentation on this so, so. >> human resources. >> sorry. >> did you want to make some comments. >> thank you supervisor peskin and supervisor yee recommendation 4 which ♪ response it has been implemented when we met in october we will talked about the original pilot program for hiring it professionals and an examine we development online that is a great tool we realized we needed a more comprehensive approach just having a fast examine will not improve the process if you're interested with the expansion of the pilot i'll be happy to to share information information or i could answer any questions you may have
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>> okay. i just to be clear are you saying that's not been implemented and recommendation 4 has been implemented. >> we have other plan to improve the hiring for information professionals. >> we'll stick with the particular recommendation so the expansion of what you're talking about we'll handle some other time. >> thank you very much. >> was there anyone else? >> dennis from the controller's office speaking on recommendation 4 which will be not implemented just goes to the scales vicinity for it staffing around the city the controller's office has made available westbound the citywide h.r. database a repository thank you
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to enter we're working with the department of the technology and department of the home sharing to have the criteria by which those scales are entered by managers to have a valid and good data stored for the inventory we're working through the process we want to make sure that anything that goes through the extra database is true information. >> i think that is - so did i close public comment is there any additional public comment? >> >> you already had your opportunity to speak any other public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed so colleagues do you have any other questions >> yes. i'd like to bring rebecca up to just to wrap up. >> we wanted to respond to the
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other two presentations so on recommendation 4 which was the emerge publicthe people soft system we appreciate the plan to develop the skills inventory capability of this system and the recommendation however of the civil grand jury was meant to allow skill development throughout any it employees not necessarily tied to the position current ly held by the employee and it's a fast changing one and within the city and county of san francisco so if the employee initiates on their own getting more training and stuff we want to have a way for them to have it logged into the people soft system. and also for the d h.r. presentation, again, the
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civil grand jury appreciates the efforts in trying new faster methods for creating it eligibility lists and we hope the same methods can be used for other it positions and i also attended the coit meeting presentation and it created a lot of excitement among the departments and offices represented at the meeting. we only hope that these expectations can be fulfilled and d h.r. has great plans and executing those plans will be hard work and we'd like to see coit ask to see periodic updates at their meetings and potential future grand jurors that it warrants further investigation so thank you. >> thank you very much for your
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work. >> and just as we wrap up this report again, i want to express my sincere appreciation to each and every member of the civil grand jury the time the effort the hours that you put into not only researching interviewing preparing these reports i know takes up a significant amount of your lives and so i just want you to know on behalf of the board of supervisors we truly appreciate this work and hope that some of the recommendations that have been made can be implemented so we're a better more efficient city and we're in the process i know of moving forward with making some of those recommendations and hopefully through legislation or other means we're able to do that and thank you again and appreciate your work on the civil grand jury. >> thank you very much well said. so i'm gonna make the recommendation. the
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recommendation for number 3. the recommendation number 3 has been implemented the department of technology sent a user satisfaction survey to all clients and recommendation number 4 will not be implemented for reasons as follows the board of supervisors does not have authority to implement this recommendation and the board requests the department of technology and department of human resources to provide a report to the board with their progress by the end of the calendar year and then for recommendation number 5, it has been implemented. the department of human resources presented the results of its
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expedited hiring in october 2015 okay so i would like to have a motion to forward this item as recommended to the full board. so moved. okay. any objection? seeing none then motion passes. thank you very much once again. madam clerk please call item number 4. >> the gas line breaks related to the city's construction on haight street and the california public utilities commission and pg&e. >> okay at this time this is a hearing that's been called by supervisor breed so i'm turning it over to her. >> thank you. >> thank you colleagues and
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thank you everyone for being here today we have a lot of folks here and i know we have a lot of questions we want answered so i'll be as quick as possible. last year the city began a multimillion dollar infrastructure project to install water mains and replace sewers and ghilotti brothers won the main contract and the crews ruptured gas lines and we also experienced two sinkholes in the same area and five gas line breaks and two sinkholes and i'm so thankful and frankly surprised that no one was seriously hurt but i'll tell you this the failures
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disruptived the haight ashbury community and the street was completely closed for hours at a time and stores were forced to close disrupting their business and the smell of leaking gas overpowered entire blocks and on one occasion someone told everyone to evacuate and on another occasion a foreman was dangled head first into a manhole and we have pictures which i think we'll show on the overhead projector if they are available on the laptop. thank you.
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some of this would almost be comical if it wasn't so dangerous and irresponsible the community and i have had enough. in september i asked the department of public works to suspend all work on the project and a few weeks later i had a press conference with leaders from the haight ashbury merchants association and the pan handle neighborhood association and many of those leaders are here today and thank you for being here and i look forward to hearing your presentations. public works requested the prime contract ghilotti to remove the subcontractor synergy. excuse me. synergy appealed and it went to an administrative hearing before an independent
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hearing officer and ghilotti supported synergy and synergy blamed pg&e and the hearing officers finally issued his decision on monday upholding our position that synergy's safety violations are inexcusable and i'm happy to report synergy has been removed and public works are actively look for a new subcontractors but regardless, before any work resumes, the community and i have a lot of questions that need to be answered. what happened here? why did these dangerous failures happen over and over again? who is responsible for keeping track of where gas lines are and ensuring they are not hit and what is ghilotti and synergy's safety record and how did they win these bids and with
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repeated past safety violations not able to continue working in our neighborhood and synergy came in one million dollars before other bidders and now we're left holding the bag. do we need legislative changes to move away from criteria that takes safety into consideration? what are the lessons learned and what else do we need to do to prevent something like this from ever happening again. i don't want to see any work resume in the haight street until we are sure our neighborhood can be safe and we deserve safety and accountability from our government and the companies that the government hires and companies that repeated ly jeopardize public safety should not be working on our streets
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and i've asked the san francisco public utilities commission and pg&e and ghilotti and synergy to be here today. i have a lot of specific questions for each entity and we've passed out copies of those questions near the microphone if anyone is interested. first i'd like to start hearing from the merchants and neighbors whose lives were impacted by the project. i want to start with the president of the haight ashbury neighborhood council james ford. >> all right. excuse me.
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chairman yee and president breed and supervisor peski n. it was quite insulting by many residents and must be corrected before the projects continue. first off i want to thank the merchant association for being the eyes and ears on this project and i also want to thank /pro sf and the other neighborhood groups that supported us on this matter and without their support it's unlikely it would have received the attention we needed for this hearing to happen and
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thanks to president breed and calling this hearing. the total disregard for public safety and the local businesses on this project has been a disgrace and i think it should be noted that the gentleman who spoke earlier on topic 2 i think highlights why we're here today. it seems that there's not enough oversight on much of these matters and as you can see here there's 3 sinkholes by some of the resident's calculations and the infrastructure is aging and should be replace d in a responsible manner. some are old and some are sealed off and
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the knowledge of what lines are live and where they are located is seriously lacking and i know if i had done this on my personal residence it would not have passed inspection. i have six items and the dates that we calculated gas lines and i recognize number 2 wasn't related to the project but many of us in the neighborhood felt it was similar and i have kind of our initial reactions as to what happened. on baker street that's cool it wasn't on haight and august they did it again and
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september darn that's not good. coming into october maybe we should get something going and by october 8th it was let's shut this down this is not acceptable. now, we do while it is nice to hear that synergy has been fired we feel this is something that's beyond just the subcontractor errors and they were used as partially a scapegoat. we'd like to know the following -- if i can get the next slide going here -- excuse me. there we go. what happened? a summary of what actually -- excuse me here. a summary of what happened. we have no statement early on and no statement has been made by the director of dpw and is it
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unusual for there to be repeated failures of the same type in the same project in such a short period of time? does this happen all the time during these projects? did either have a history of such errors on the job done in the past much like synergy and if so, why were they hired and what are the responsibilities of pg&e to convey information on gas lines and who in the city coordinated with pg&e and we ask a couple of questions what is to be done. what were the lessons learned from this gross failure and how are they to be applied to future projects and what procedures are to be changed in the
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contracting and construction process and breed we know you are working on that and appreciate that. what procedures with pg&e are to be improved and when will the neighborhood groups receive an official letter explaining what happened and why and this would demonstrate accountability that's been lacking in our eyes and with the attitude of moving forward at all costs often leaves many of us behind. the residents of san francisco deserve better we used to be the city that knows how and i believe we've become the city that moves forward with no regard to its current residents and thank you for your time and i appreciate the hearing. >> thank you for your presentation and now we will have the haight ashbury
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merchants association representative come up and present. >> supervisor peskin supervisor yee and president breed thank you for holding this hearing and the haight ashbury neighborhood commercial corridor is de marked here in this map. the haight ashbury merchants representation represents over a hundred merchants and they all occurred on one block of the commercial
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corridor which is indicated with the smaller box. the construction was started in april 2015 and was halted in october 2015. originally the timeline that we had been given was two weeks. whether it was two weeks or four weeks whatever it was supposed to be, it clearly went into months following delays after each gas leak required a halt to the work investigations all of this created extreem disruption. the city needs to take a look at what absolutely needs improvement before we continue and the project i'm actually going to start referring to it
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as the muni forward project making extensive changes to haight street and covers the entire corridor of the haight ashbury commercial corridor and will impact not just 30 merchants but impact over 140 merchants and for us to get this right is so necessary. there's a high level of anxiety among the merchants about the economic impact and that they not be disastrous to their business. we felt we were getting good communication and transparency and awareness around the scope of the work that would be done. there were notices provided and meetings held and articles that detailed the work that was coming.
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however, once the projects started, only 2-days only 2 days after the work started was when the first gas leak occurred and it was chaos. it was shelter in place and evacuate and there was no clear understanding about who needed to respond. we found out later it was going to be pg&e responding and pg&e had to do its investigation and there was complete disruption to that block beyond just parking restrictions and traffic controls. it was completely shut down and the businesses were shut down that day. we requested a meeting with the city project managers dpw as well as the contractors and before we even had a chance to sit down and meet with them, a week later there was a gigantic
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sinkhole which opened up in the intersection of haight and masonic that seemed to be related to the work being done. the project stopped and started through the next several months and we experienced in total on this one block five gas leaks. believe it or not there was improved response to each gas leak in the amount of time that each business was closed reduced because they started to prepare anticipating future gas leaks and there were additionally another sinkhole which opened up on october 22 and james pointed out there was another sinkhole blocked further down on 1600 block of
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haight street and again this work is not complete and we've completely lost confidence that it will be done in an effective way. i'm gonna focus on what i'm talking about specifically to the merchant's concerns and obviously real residents concerns and most of those buildings are multiuse and businesses on the first floor and residents and neighbors that are above they have legitimate concerns as well but specifically speaking on behalf of the merchants, it's key that you understand business closures and disruption that may last 2 or 3 or 4 weeks usually can be suffered by a business but once we get into months that can sometimes be catastrophic for a business and a business doesn't have in their business agreement any rent relief for disruption to
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their business and you can sometimes reduce staffing levels to try to weather financial downturns but extended periods of disruption this creates an extreme amount of disruption. one of the businesses had an extreme sewer backup that resulted from this work and it's not like somebody is coming up from the contract or or from the city or helping
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them fix what they need to get fixed. there's absolutely no assistance in these situations for the businesses that are being the most impacted. some businesses have reported loss of revenue up to 20 percent and even up to fifty percent. so to conclude, here are the summary ideas that this merchants idea has come up with for what the city needs to do to earn back our trust before we move forward with the construction work. there has to be some level of accountability here. there were systematic breakdowns at many steps along the way. the timeline accountability and the schedule slipping from weeks to months and the work still not being completed i hate to say
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for to go out for a year for one block is completely unacceptable and building in timeline accountability so that the businesses and communities being impacted i feel should be built into the project scope of these projects. additionally, we called for meetings and asked for people to help answer questions about what was happening and who was in charge. we got a lot of finger pointing and not a lot of anyone standing up and saying this is what's happening. there was blame places on pg&e for their lack of updated maps and concerns about ghilotti brothers the prime contractor not providing sufficient oversight and concern that the subcontractor was being callous and using heavy mechanized equipment to rupture gas lines
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one after the other and it became comical -- it was just ridiculous. finally i have to say that the city obviously had a role here. the city hired this contractor and subcontractor and unclear to us that the city explained to us why their hands why tied to not fix what was happening. was it the inability of the city because of the contract or an unwillingness of the people that had the legal ability to stop the work and were they just unwilling and why? in the future, especially since we have this significant project that's coming forward with the muni forward project which is currently scheduled to start in 2017 which makes no sense to me because it's the fiftieth
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anniversary of the summer of love and why would we disrupt during this historic moment. there has to be at a minimum basic city approach to mitigating business impacts for this neighborhood commercial corridor. at a minimum there should be on all projects around the city open for business signage travelling from project to project that basically gives people the message that these businesses even though there's lots of cones and things dug up that the businesses are open and that's a basic thing that can be done for any project whether short or long one. if a project is expected to last 3 to 6 months, i would look for the city to earmark specific dollars for neighborhood promotion or improvements to help mitigate some of the
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financial impact being made as a result of this future case a transit related project. if the project is expected to last more than 6 months, i would like the city to actually start considering adding a business interruption assistance fund. i've read about other cities doing this and la has done this and a couple of other cities and when there's a big project like a light rail project or the san francisco muni forward project is an example, you can expect 6 months or more disruption will have such a catastrophic impact on mom and pop businesses and you need to plan for that otherwise you are simply saying to us tough luck and you have to put up with everything else that we're asking you to accomplish and
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the business owner doesn't have that many levers that they can place to really stay healthy and alive in that circumstance. to earn back our community trust we would ask that there be a speedy conclusion to the current project and that we really consider setting aside and postponing any work scheduled to start in 2017. that project has been called the public realm plan but it's a muni improvement plan including pedestrian scale streetlighting and i don't want to see anymore construction work and i'm not alone in this and we have support from the neighborhood council and
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improvement association and these are neighborhood groups that don't always agree on things but they agree on this. they want to see the pedestrian scale lighting and they want to see the things that the community asked for before we create significant disruption to this community again. thank you very much. >> thank you. supervisor yee? >> yeah, i just want to make a comment. the disruption that -- these city projects have on businesses is something that i'm keenly aware of and we're facing some similar issues out in my district and i've already started some discussion about the notion of can we set aside some funds and how do you allocate it and so forth when it comes to -- especially when it's a long time of disruption
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i mean there's nobody in their right mind would think that a business can sustain months and months of not having access to your customers so i really appreciate and hopefully my office will work with president breed's office to come up with something. >> thank you. >> thank you supervisor yee. definitely it's something that's a serious concern to me and what's happening with construction all over the city and sadly how it is impacting especially our small businesses in the neighborhoods and with that i want to bring up the department of public works john thomas the division manager of project management and construction. i have a laundry list of questions for you mr. thomas and i definitely want to make sure that not only you get to your presentation but we're able to allow some of the other
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departments that we have here to present as well. just to let members of the public who are here know we all know this is a really important issue and it's not as easy as a quick hearing. this is gonna definitely take us sometime because we do have to answer all of these questions in order to make sure that when we're allowing work to happen as miss evans has stated, that the community trusts the people who are in the community working and doing the kind of thing that ensures us that this is not going to happen again and i definitely want to make sure that we get all of our questions answered and i'm sure you heard from folks who are in the neighborhood a lot of upset people because there was a lot of uncertainty and there was the response and the communication from the
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department was problematic and i'm just hopeful that your presentation can help address some of those issues and so with that mr. thomas. >> thank you president breed and chair yee and supervisor peskin john thomas for project management and construction and i'd first like to say as i'm sure you are aware that safety is our department's number 1 priority and we were extremely distressed throughout this project as the issues unfolded and as you know the hearing was held in december and in that hearing they went through each one of those incidents that supported our contention that the subcontract ors should be removed from the project and i can go through those in detail and both of the previous presenters went through most of them already and i'll move
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through them as rapidly as possible in order to entertain any questions you might have and i think one of your questions was also what is our process for selecting a contractor and we work through the administrative code and it stipulates we hire the low bid contractor and depending on the economy we'll see anywhere from 1 to 5 bidders on a project and requires that they have the appropriate insurance and bonding to proceed with the work and with that in mind this project was advertised in december and notice to proceed was granted for start of work on april 27th as was mentioned just 2-days later we had our first gas line break. there was -- we'll get to this in a
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later slide and 911 was called and there was response from pg&e and the fire department as well as the police department at that time and mistakes were made by the contractor that caused that to be more difficult and time consuming and subsequent to that we had various issues here and a meeting within a few weeks with the haight community and we had come upon unsafe shoring and there were also weekly meetings with the contractor and our resident engineer and inspectors met on a weekly basis with the contractor to go over issues scope and schedule any changes or change orders that might be coming to light as a result of progress of the
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work and obviously the issue of the first gas line break was paramount in those meetings and discussions. again, moving forward into july we had a potential injury because of blocked sidewalks from a forklift that we had notified synergy of and the photo you showed earlier all of these things raises concerns and letters were issued to the contractor and to ghilotti who the contract was with and each contractor solicits bids from subcontractors to perform various specialty work within the contracts and so a certain
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percentage of the work needs to be performed depending on the type and complexity of the work. so all of that comes into play as the general contractor puts their bid together in this case ghilotti selected synergy as their main subcontractor who had over fifty percent of the work responsibility on the project and that was with all of the underground work and they were doing water and sewer work on the contract. so again, moving on july 27th we had another pedestrian injury tripping and we had warned them of potential injuries a week before that and other safety issues noticed and another month goes by before the second gas line break and all happening within that same block and we have a second community meeting and escalated
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concerns that this has happened a second time and we had informed the contractor that we were concerned with the oversight that was happening and made repeated requests at this point now to provide an on-site safety inspector to be present at that time and 2 and a half weeks later we have our third gas breaks just a couple of doors away and again another deep trench without proper shoring and at that stage issued a stop work order and work was stopped until the contractor could come back to us with their procedures on how they were going to make sure this didn't continue to occur moving forward and we had the contractor come out for emergency work that needed to occur and we had another
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meeting with pg&e ghilotti and synergy on september 22 and after they have addressed work resumed on september 28th monday. on october 6th the tuesday we have our 4th gas main break and another deep concern that a member of the public was -- after this gas line break is repaired we note that synergy has not been properly shored that trench and before they responded to our
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deficiency notice the trench collapsed and broke a 4th, fifth time and at that point we had another meeting with the director who concurred that the project should be shut down and meetings with the city attorney's office and sent the letters to both ghilotti and synergy to direct synergy's removal on the contract and synergy appealed that and we went through an administrative hearing which for various legal reasons didn't happen as quickly as we would like and delayed until december 9th and we just recently as of this week received the final report from the hearing officer supporting our contention to remove the contractor. >> just a quick question there's been a lot of finger
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pointing in this whole process and based on the information you have based on the conclusion that you've drawn to remove synergy do you believe that synergy specifically was at fault here or were there other agencies that played a role in where we are now? >> i do believe that the fault lies with the contractor. the contractor has the ultimate responsibility when excavating in the public right of way to use 811 to contact u.s.a. and have the utilities come out and mark their infrastructure and the contractor knows approximately where it is and what they need to do in that area and the obligation of the contractor is to hand dig and i know we have representatives from pg&e here that can go into more detail but it needs to be
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exposed before you can utilize heavy equipment and so that is certainly my conclusion. >> okay. >> so again moving on, the proper procedures for a gas break include immediately stopping the work, calling 911 and pg&e and don't touch the damaged line and both fire department and police department take action as they see fit and pg&e to come in and turn off the line and perform a repair and the public works and our contractor to follow the instructions of the fire department and pg&e. obviously our public works inspectors are to notify management and public affairs and the contractor assists in evacuation and securing the site. for a water
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break we're to contact the water department and any other agencies as-needed and if it's a small service we can clamp that service to minimize the water losses at that point and notify public affairs and the water department will notify the residents and businesses and the water department will come in and turn off the line and again, perform the repair. why did they failures happen over and over again? >> you were reading my mind i was just thinking that. >> well, i'm following your script here for the questions you had set out for us but it is our opinion that the contractor did not follow the appropriate safety procedures in each of those incidents and it's certainly unusual to have this many incidents happen in
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so short a period of time and so close together and i've been with the city now for nearly 30 years and i cannot recall a single incident where we've had more than one occur in a zone like this and it was quite a surprise as this was unfolding and you know we were consistently and constantly trying to work with the contractor to bolster up their process and procedure and to be sure it was done in a safe manner but those efforts certainly did not bear enough fruit as we move forward. who was responsible for keeping track of where gas lines and ensuring that they are not hit? pg&e has the responsibility for tracking all of their facilities and again we have members of pg&e that can discuss that in more detail and they provided their drawings to
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the contractors as well as to our design er and that was all provided to the contractor and the contractor is responsible to be in compliance and the contractor is responsible to follow the guidelines set by state and city for working around utilities and again that's our contention that that was not adhered to during the process of the work. did ghilotti and synergy have a history of previous errors and no, we were not aware of any project really that had had this type of failures and this frequency of failures during its duration and this was not expected by any stretch and i
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think synergy has made it clear they have done many many projects with the city over the years and this is not a regular occurrence for them either. who is going to complete the haight street project? so the process that we discussed earlier with the hearing, the administrative hearing, was to remove the subcontractor. our contract with ghilotti brothers remains in place and it's our intend to continue with that contract and we've asked ghilotti to substitute for synergy and perform the work with a new subcontractor which they are currently attempting to do and they have identified 2 subs one to perform the water work and one to perform the sewer work and working with them now on providing all the documentation necessary to be added into the contract and
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begin the submittal process on restarting the work on haight street. so with regard to what are lessons learned, i think there are a number of lessons learned here for us and certainly while our procedures work most of the time they aren't fail safe and i know that's not necessarily what we want to hear but we're looking at various options including considering establishing thresholds within the contract and the potential for monetary fines but i think the overarching approach to this is to increase our quality assurance and oversight on the contractor and we're going to work with pg&e and the contractor to make sure that the city is aware of any
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instructions that are given from pg&e about their subsurface infrastructure so we can certainly keep our eye out as well but it will be closer coordination will help us get through this. so i think the other question that you asked going forward is are there any legislative changes that could be made and i was going to defer to nicholas to speak of the efforts currently underway with the city to look at past performance on contractors in order to add that to the evaluation in addition to the process and i think that could go a long way towards making a difference in situations like this. so that concludes my presentation on the questions
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that you had submitted. do you want to have nicholas speak to the legislative issues that we're looking at now? >> we could talk about that. i'll bring you back to talk about it once we have allowed some of the other presentations to occur because it's definitely a discussion that i want to have but i want to take this opportunity to probably go a little bit out of order and bring pg&e up to talk about, to present on this particular issue and then get back to our timeline. i know we have john higgins who is the vice president of gas disruption operations here and from government relations. thank
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you for coming and joining us here today. >> president breed thank you very much for the violation to speak to you today and respond to any issues you have. supervisor yee and supervisor peskin, much appreciated. we share your concern for the safety issues. public safety is a primary concern of pg&e. it is a worry for us every day. we work hard at improving it and one of the reasons i joined pg&e 3 and a half years ago and i've been in the gas operations business my entire 28 year career and damage prevention programs at 4 other utilities across the nation. it's something that i eat sleep live and breath every day so i appreciate your efforts here to
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improve public safety in this particular neighborhood. i want to ensure you, though, that public safety in the city of san francisco in totality is our concern. we went back and looked at the number of dig ins to our gas and electric infrastructure and we've actually seen a 20 percent reduction in dig ins between 2014 and 2015 despite the fact that we've seen a record number of requests to mark our facilities we received over 25 thousand requests from excavators to mark our facilities so the incidents that occurred in the haight are unusual and we do not commonly see this occurring so this is
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of great concern to us. i would like to talk about some of the positive steps that pg&e has taken to drive that 20 percent reduction. first and foremost close partnership with the cities department of public works and the city's fire department represented here by deputy chief gonzales are critical and help us all get better. i'd also like to point out a couple of changes we've made here to improve the damage prevention process and let's start with ourselves and we have what we believe is a world-class team men and women that work for pg&e here in the city every day out of our harrison street office are highly trained and we also have
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a quality assurance program to check on them to ensure they are accurate and further, we've equipped them all with state-of-the-art geographic information in their vehicle so they have a gis map terminal in their vehicle so that they can see where our facilities are located across the city including historical records that they can reference at hand. however, we don't primarily rely on maps we have high technology that's given to each of these men and women and they are trained to use it effectively and the preference is to directly connect to our gas assets and trace them out and secondarily we'll locate our facilities and the maps are
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a tertiary means of locating a facility and when folks say pg&e may not know where all of the facilities are, i've reviewed all of these five incidents and these facilities were properly marked as mr. thomas pointed out government code 4216 is clear requiring any excavation to locate before beginning any work and locate those facilities and many times unfortunately don't call 811 and even when they do they do not exercise proper care around infrastructure. >> can we talk about that just for a minute in detail? because i'm not sure if you
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have received the letter that we just got from synergy explaining just what the problem was because you know and i know there were finger pointing going on and pg&e thought these gas lines weren't properly marked and you are telling us we know exactly where they are and we know how to communicate this information to the folks that request it and we have hotlines to discuss this with people and in particular -- did you have a chance to take a look at the letter? i mean i just got the letter. >> i like you just had an opportunity to skim it briefly. >> okay and you saw the part where it says pg&e gas lines -- you saw that part correct? can you explain what they are trying to say and what is actually the case based on what you know about this particular
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area? >> sure. i reviewed the five incidents with our damage prevention supervisors that provide services here to the city of san francisco and it's clear to me that the facilities were properly marked in all incidents and government code is clear 811 must be called and the facilities must be marked and then the excavator must use due care when working around the facilities and that's two key components. first, when excavating within 24 inches you are required to hand dig and only then use mechanized means and we often find facilities crossed and the excavator is
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obligated to support and protect those facilities once they are exposed and we certainly have responsibility in the process but the excavator also has the responsibility to provide due care once they are exposed does that help? >> yes. they can tell us a little bit more about the requirements in terms of this situation so thank you for clarifying that. >> gladly. so we believe we're making progress on the damage prevention front but this haight incident series of incidents is certainly troubling to us and we applaud your support of efforts to reduce gas electric and other infrastructure damage anywhere
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across san francisco. >> is there anything that you believe that pg&e could have done to help prevent this from happening or continuing to happen? were there any additional steps that you might have missed that could have contributed to making sure that this was not happening? i mean i'm sure when you first heard about the initial gas leak, that was definitely alarming and then to hear about additional gas leaks, it would seem that you would basically -- pg&e would definitely want to be actively engaged and right there at the forefront of making sure that there's a company out there that's doing what they are supposed to do so that they are not disturbing gas lines and putting the public in danger in this way. >> president breed hindsight is 2020. had we known then what we know now we could have
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possibly spent more time there but as time wore on we were there almost on a daily basis checking on that project to reduce the potential for further damages and it's incumbent upon an excavator once they are exposed and that's a great challenge and i mentioned earlier that we conducted 25 thousand plus marks across the city and 2000 a month and lots of activity going on in the city of san francisco and a lot of it is great infrastructure improvement but doesn't necessarily allow us to stand by on every excavation for the full extent but we're there for support and to provide personnel to stop by and visit and ensure that everyone understand exactly what they are digging around. we're always available with that kind of response when necessary.
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i'd also like to talk a little bit if i may around emergency response. pg&e and their emergency response activities fall under my area of responsibility we're proud that we provide one of the best emergency response times in the nation. we are in the top in terms of from the time we receive a call to the time we're on-site is right around 20 minutes on average and in the natural gas industry is quite impressive and so we appreciate the opportunity to participate here today and i'll answer any other questions you have and we're looking to be strong partners with you as the work continues in the haight area. >> thank you very much thank you for being here today. >> gladly thank you. >> with that i'd like to now go
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to the san francisco fire department. i know deputy chief gonzales is here from the department and i know you have received our one question very simple i mean what the fire department response team when something happens and people call 911 -- can you explain just what the department's role is in a situation like this and how the department reacts and what are the measures that you take in order to ensure public safety when this first occurs? >> absolutely president breed. i just drew up a brief synopsis and we definitely make sure pg&e is also on route and has been notified and if we can we
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establish a command post in a safe area but also a unified command post with the san francisco police department and based on the size of the leak if we have to evacuate buildings we'll jointly evacuate buildings nearest the leak and it just might be leaking where they hit it and underground leakage and go into the buildings with our cgi's to make sure it's not leaking inside the buildings as well and definitely secure a perimeter and pedestrian traffic control as well and we have our engines safely secure water supply from a safe area and stand by in case a fire did occur and if the leak was outside and burning we would
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let it burn but protect exposures with the hose lines and wait for pg&e to mitigate and we do rely on their response even on our basic structure fires to shut off utilities and they do a good job in those incidents. safety of the pedestrians and traffic control. we'd assist and have water pumps and that's basically the synopsis i have and if you have any other questions i'm happy to answer. >> thank you. thank you for being here today. i now want to invite up the san francisco public utilities commission to present on behalf of the commission and i know again most of the departments were given the questions in advance and we want to make sure that each department's response
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based on what their responsibility is as it relates to this particular situation so thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me president breed. i'm glad to be here to answer these questions. i am the assistant general manager in charge of sewer and wastewater. do you want to discuss the sinkholes that occurred on haight street. we had actually 3 and only one was on the project area between masonic and ashbury and that happened -- we went out to flush a lateral because we got a complaint from a resident and discovered it was collapsed and the work was going on right there the construction was going on there and we asked the contractor this is your
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responsibility as the contractor to fix it. he completed the work on november 20th. >> so for clarity the sinkhole was as a result of the work that was being done? >> yes. >> so for certain? >> that was our finding and our supervisor went out and told the contractor it was obviously part of your work. >> thank you. i just want to make sure that's clear because there have been mixed signals as to who was responsible that this was related to the work it just wasn't certain so i just want to make sure that it's made clear that the sinkhole was in direct relation to the actual work that was going on so thank you for that. >> okay. the other two were outside of the project area. the next one was on haight also between masonic and clay ton
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and that was a void underneath the street that happened on the 21 st and mobilized immediately and had our own sewer repair contractor on site j. flores and they had that repaired by the next day. >> and it had nothing to do with the work? >> no not outside the project area and a collapsed manhole and we just we're going back to fix and repair on january 20th. >> and did that one have anything to do with the work? >> no, that was also outside. we had one on each block. the other two were on 15 hundred and 16 hundred block. >> okay. >> and your second question.
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we obviously don't like the contracts we have attorneys that do that. the administrative code is what we go by. we do work very closely together and any work underneath the street dpw is obviously in charge of what happens above the street but like the rest of the utilities we try to coordinate our efforts wherever we have any work to be done for example right now going through a major paving bond for dpw and we still need to make sure which ones are as -- there is a
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significant coordinated effort between the underground utilities. >> thank you. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> okay and now i'd like to ask kenneth bruno from california public utilities commission to join us and the program manager for gas safety and reliability branch thank you for being here today. >> thank you president breed and fellow supervisors so thank you for the introduction i am ken bruno safety enforcement division and i have a team of approximately 34 specialists
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and pipeline safety inspectors and civil engineers and electrical engineers and general inspectors and we're responsible for over 100, 000 miles of transition pipelines and our jurisdiction is really on the infrastructure and we don't oversee you know sewer projects and stuff like that. that said, it's very important that the regulated entity in this case pg&e have good damage prevention efforts and you know conduct outreach and is clear with sort of following their part of government code 4216. the other thing i want to say is that of these incidents the only one that the california public utilities commission
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investigated is the one on july 29th and we'd be happy to provide the report. i can't speak on findings if you would like on that first incident but on the other incidents we did not conduct investigations because it did not meet reporting criteria if you would like. >> can you talk about the findings of the report? >> sure. the april 2015 report concluded that the third party failed to hand dig to expose underground facilities in other words the 811 call was made the operator went out and located and marked the facilities and the engineer concluded that based on field evidence that
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the pipeline, the gas pipeline was not daylighted or is shown by hand digging using the power equipment and in other words power tools were used and the pipe got hit and we did not find pg&e with any in that case and the other thing i will say the team that i lead we're responsible for design construction and operations for the gas pipelines and a lot of our work is making sure that the lines are originally constructed to specifications and they are actually built and operated and maintained and again, just for terminology the lines here, our distribution lines lines that typically operate at lower pressures and deliver gas to the merchants
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and to the residents and larger transition lines move gas throughout the state and operate at much higher pressures so we do conduct also special inspections on the construction of those lines themselves and hope three that addresses sort of our regulatory our role -- i know there is a question about our lines mapped in san francisco or haight specifically the investigation on april 2015 did not find any issues with maps being a contributing factor or a route cause of the failure but i think it's important to note that you start with maps and then you can do other methods you know in-depth or direct -- >> the maps in this case were
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actually accurate? >> well, the final report does not have a finding that mapping accuracies or inaccuracies contributed to the failure in other words even absence maps we found the lines were probably marked but the probable route cause was that the excavator did not hand dig -- by hand digging you, you are not using a mechanical tool. you can essentially verify the operator's marks here's the mark and yes the line is right there and now we're comfortable to use power equipment and take proper measures. >> can i ask some questions about the california public
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utilities role and yes, while i appreciate the investigation and the findings it's clear that there was a major mistake made by the subcontractor which i know was not your direct responsibility but does the california puc have a responsibility to make sure that when you have for example a contractor, subcontractor or anyone doing work that causes such a situation as a gas line are you posirupture, isn't there something from a state level that can be done to help stop this from occurring and not just the local city -- you know like we have our process it happened again and it happened again but isn't there some state regulatory thing that should have happened in this case to stop the
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contractor from continuing to work? >> i would say safe excavation is a 3 legged stool including local governments including san francisco and also the public so i did mention we have over a hundred thousand miles of distribution pipelines and you know we had one incident on april 29th and just to be clear reporting criteria for the department of transportation involves a release of gas, fifty thousand dollars or more in property damage or significant in the eye of the operator and the california public utilities commission has put in a major media requirement on that and the first incident prompted abc 7 to come out is my understanding
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and the other ones we could only find more a local almost -- the point is we didn't know about the other ones. >> so whose responsibility would it have been to report the other ones ? >> they did not meet reporting criteria either at the federal level or at the california public utilities commission level. had they been reported they would have been investigated. >> how should they have been reported? >> they should not have. we looked into the other incidents and concluded that the one that should have been reported was reported and to answer your question about what role we have i think it's different if we're talking about the first incident or the second or third or 4th and in my opinion and
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this is my opinion, i certainly am not speaking about laws right now but the operator knew about all of these so the second incident hey it's the second one in 2 months when that hits you start having conversations like all right maybe there's an issue here with communication and the key here is for the excavator and operator have an open dialogue and not start pointing blame because you want to make sure that the gas stays on the inside of the pipeline and luckily there was no ignition here or explosion and i think that's a huge issue to consider in your contracts but it's about public safety too people don't go home at night when gas ignites and trust me i've been
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there when that happens and a prudent thing for an operator to do is to actually post a person there. again, not written in the guidelines or laws but i think it would be a prudent practice to have somebody on stand by 24-7 for the duration of that project and just my own opinion but as far as what the puc can do we do what we can and we've supported operators that have identified problem third party contractors in other words frequent offenders and we have supported legislation in the form of injunctions and recently a judge in bakers field -- people need to follow the
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law and if it we know someone is not following the law yes we have a role and is it codified somewhere, no. the other thing i'll say about mapping is that the california public utilities commission has an active proceeding right now into pg&e's record keeping and their mapping and their mapping on distribution systems so i really can't comment outside of the proceeding more in detail but the investigation is has a number i 14 l 008 and it's an active proceeding. i think we hit the operator procedures. >> one second. supervisor peskin? >> you're saying you don't know if that's codified? >> can you repeat your question. >> you are talking about this
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case in san bernardino whatever but you don't know whether these issues are codified. >> i did not say that supervisor what i said was a best practice or a prudent practice is not codified in other words i'm sure in my opinion if you go out to repair 2, 3, 4 gas leaks something starts happening when you see a pattern develop i would say it's a best practice and best practices are not you know legislative mandates they are sort of good safety management is what they are. i think it's the lessons learned i think it's as a national leader in pipeline industry or at least the aspiration to be one that's where you set the bar and where you achieve so there is room to be that in the opinion of the cpuc and again, i'm not trying to push back to san francisco about the 3 legged stool but
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it's true it's the regulators including city governments and the excavators and this is certainly nationally it's recognized that that's what it takes and by the way nationally, this is our number 1 cause for pipelines damage to pipelines and while i am hopeful it will never happen here again the statistics show that it happens all too frequently. >> i think what my biggest concern here is you know i feel that the city failed because we should have done something more to stop this before there were five gas leaks there was clearly a problem after one and two and if this is not common which has been said by the department of public works and
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we had continued to allow this subcontractor to work, that is a serious concern to me and in my mind what i'm thinking is that a higher authority like the state or the federal government should have the ability to intervene and to basically based on you know, the regulations that exist stop a project and look at what is going wrong and how it's impacting public safety similar to the investigation but more importantly there was a lot of concern because this continued to happen a lot of concern a lot of frustration. it's definitely primarily about public safety and the uncertainty of what's really going on and who's taking charge and who's responsible and who is stopping it and who is regulating and there's still
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a lot of un certainly here for me because again i think there was just a lot that happened to get us to a point where we finally shut it down i mean i, as the elected representative from the district -- there should have been something in place to shut it down before it would even get to that point and that's why i'm looking to the california state puc for that role and guidance based on your understanding of the laws and the way they work and the accountability to our utilities companies and contractors and people who deal with this all over the state of california and i guess i'm looking for a little bit more that would make me feel comfortable because yes we've established the subcontractor was at fault and has been fired but what happens in the future with any other subcontractors or anyone else who is in a very similar
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situation and this continues to occur. it shouldn't have to come from an elected official to shut something down there should be procedures in place that's what i'm looking for. >> so we're talking about a sewer replacement project here not a gas construction project and there's a difference i know it's related but what happens is really i don't speak right now for the whole puc what i'm saying is in these incidents these were not gas projects -- these were. >> i do understand that but i think the problem is that there were gas leaks. >> there were gas hits there was third party excavation
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damage that caused pipes that were holding gas to not hold gas so that said, had i received a phone call that there was something going on out here -- we did not know. we knew about the first one. i didn't get involved with the second, third and 4th until recently. >> and i think that's where the disconnect is there's no trigger. >> there's a reporting criteria and that is again it is -- >> who is responsible for the reporting criteria to the california puc. >> pg&e the operator. >> okay so they did on one occasion? >> we feel they met reporting criteria i'm sorry if i wasn't clear, earlier. it is a release of gas -- >> you were clear but i just wanted to understand who was
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responsible for that reporting criteria. >> the operator is and you know certainly if we find a reportable incident that's not reported we have enforcement authority to levy on the operator so there is strict reported criteria the media component is the one here that triggered the investigation because abc 7 was on-site and the other incidents august 27th september 16th and october 6th did not trigger because there was no major media presence. >> but you were aware of them and you looked at -- >> no that's not accurate i was not aware of them until recently. >> okay thank you. supervisor peskin? >> this is more for mr. king or thomas whenever it's appropriate.
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>> when something like this where you are looking for the cpuc to step up absent reporting criteria pickup the phone call us and we'll conduct a special investigation i wish i would have known and we're certainly not saying we won't do that we will. i get a lot of calls i get whistle-blowers and do a lot of investigations that are not codified in the statutes. >> so for example, what we could do i think from a local legislative level is to require that when a situation occurs where there's any gas leak, that our department of public works or any of our contractors who excuse me -- any of our departments who contract to do work that impacts lines that could possibly touch and create a problem with any gas line
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we're required to contact the cpuc in order to investigate each of those incidents that's a possibility? >> i'm not sure i understood your full statement but yes if you contact us we'll definitely take a look at what's going on in the city of san francisco. >> okay thank you very much. >> you're welcome president breed. >> supervisor yee? >> first you said it did not meet the reporting requirements but you wish you had known about it and you would have come out to look at it so given that, what does it take, would it have made any difference if the reporting requirements would have covered these other incidents? >> you would have had final
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reports from the other incidents. i would have sent an inspector out there and find out what happened and we do that hundreds of times a year for the state. >> there was a reporting requirement and you looked at it right away i guess and could you -- could we change or could the state change the reporting requirements so it would have covered these other ones that didn't seem to be meeting the current requirements? >> the state often has a lot of interest in damage prevention and the california public utilities commission is a strong advocate and it's very important to make sure you get the resources to go along with
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any changes in laws but i think we're going to have updates on legislation. >> okay. i get we need more resources but is it possible to change it? >> i would say anything is possible, sir. >> all right. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. >> thank you for being here today. >> thank you for having me i appreciate it. >> okay with that i want to bring dpw back up just to kind of follow up on the issue around competitive bid. mr. thomas, did you want to talk a little bit about that or do you want to have mr. king talk about it or? >> i think i'd like to have mr. king talk about the efforts that are underway. >> i think this issue came up before i mean it's mostly
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because i brought it up time and time again i've had challenges even before i was a member of the board when i was a director of the african-american culture complex and we were required to accept the low bid and the quality of the work was really problematic and it was a really frustrating process and so one of the things that i'm most concerned about is our requirement to accept a low bid but in this particular instance i think the significant dollar amount -- a million dollars below the next contractor i mean that would raise a flag for me and i want to understand why we were forced to move in this direction, what we're doing about it, when we have
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contractors that are that may not have the best track record, what are we doing to make sure that we're not rewarding bad behavior because it feels like -- i know in the past we have settled lawsuits in some instances i think with this contractor we just fired and hired them back and i don't understand why we're still moving in this direction and there's no safeguards in place in order to address it and if you can talk a little bit about the process and what the department of public works is proposing to change the process and how we're gonna hold these contractors and subcontractors that are all over our city doing all of this work how are we holding them accountable and making sure that this kind of thing doesn't continue to
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happen. >> the civil grand jury raised
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a lot of good points and the controller's office works closely with us and when i say us i mean the construction
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departments on auditing individual jobs and so just to give you some examples of their guiding advice that i'm in charge of facilitating implementation of is we're trying to move towards a system where we have a standardized system for every construction job and it's shared among and across departments and that's the easier part is evaluating and the harder part is what do you do with the evaluations after you have them and what do you do with past performance. in a low bid system it's difficult to consider anything except the bid and so that's the challenge that we have before us and really briefly we
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have 3 different working groups that are working on this right now and one is the chapter 6 departments themselves and the contract people and the construction manager people to try to figure out how to wrap our heads around this and the technology component. a lot of our evaluations are paper based and obviously need to get past that and have an internet system accessible for everyone and contractors themselves to give input on a couple of things. one, what are fair objective questions that we can agree on that it's okay to ask for a project and fair ways that the contractor can say we agree or disagree or you are not taking whatever conditions into account. the challenges with all of this in case it's not clear from all of the
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preceding speakers is this is a subjective field and that goes a couple of ways. when you are building things parks or paving roads or whatever it is there's so many factors and regulatory agencies that it is easy for everyone to kind of point the finger at other people or point the finger at the way the designs were drawn or the way pg&e does this or the way the contractor or subcontractor did that so our challenge is threading the needle to say all of that is true but there still must be objective questions we can ask that draw distinctions between high performing contractors and lower ones and another big issue is there's a lot of fear of a new way of
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doing things. on the contractor side i know that you have all received letters from numerous contractors over the last couple of months and the letters say in short it's impossible to evaluate them because it's inherit ly subjective and project managers that are going to blame them for everything and afraid of hard graders being harder than softer graders using the word grading for evaluating and afraid of lawyers and afraid of litigation and afraid of claims because they might know there was an error on the part of a contractor but they are not interested in spending the next few months in litigation and depositions talking about it
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because they wrote something down about the contractor that the contractor is going to fight tooth and nail to say it's not true and those are just some of the issues on the table and there's a lot there but the good news is is that one that we've been working together and when i say we i mean contractors and puc and mta and anyone who has construction authority. we're starting to implement something from the start that affects us all and going forward the big decision that we need to make hopefully you know before the first half of this year is whether to come back here and ask you for legislative changes that would require evaluations of every job or certain jobs above a certain threshold at least and might also need legislative authority if we decide to consider past
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performance in ways that need changes to the administrative code and that's everything in a nutshell but i can probably speak to specific questions if you have them. >> yes thank you i definitely want to open it up to public comment but i think the last question i have and i don't know if this is for you or mr. thomas but with dpw and its responsibility seems like there should be some sort of requirement to report an incident like this to the state puc for an investigation so when this thing occurs it shouldn't be up to the operator but we were aware of it and we went out there and had folks overseeing it and you know it took five gas leaks to actually shut it down finally and again, what is the department going to do or change in order to make sure that number 1 we're
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reporting this but more importantly we are shutting it down as soon as possible in order to prevent it from happening again so i don't know. it's a question for either one of you but hopefully. >> if john has anything to add specifically about gas i'll let him but i will say this -- generally about safety another way to say more we're trying to do a better job on not just based on cost only but considering other factors and we want to assess risk when we award this contract what is the risk relative to other people and i'm talking mainly safety
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cost and quality and any evaluation system that we build one of the key core areas is safety and so using this exact scenario as an example we would hope to build in questions that would show as this job progressed where the safety lapses were and this is important for a couple of reasons and it's important on the job itself so that everyone on the project staff can look at how it's going 3 months into it and i know in this case 3 months was way too long but a certain period of time into it to say hey we need to correct the course we're on and fix this and as the job ends and at the department head level or even at this level to look at the snapshot of the safety
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situation per job. >> what i want to hear is that anytime there is a gas leak in any instance that we plan to report it to the state puc for an investigation and if you don't think that should be the case why not? >> i actually would concur with that sentiment and we've talked within our staff about whose responsibility it is and it was our understanding that pg&e as the operator notifies the puc when it's appropriate but i don't necessarily see any reason why we couldn't also make that notification to the puc and whether or not that results in an investigation or not i can't say but we're certainly looking at other measures that we can take and i don't think we're necessarily prepared to answer all of that
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with finality but we're looking into options at that point. >> all right thank you. all right with that supervisor peskin? >> first of all let me thank president breed for holding this and i think if you don't have hearings like this people will repeat these things more often and i'm interested in one specific thing that troubles me and i realize we have 3 legged stools and pg&e and the state puc and what's particularly troubling to me is that ghilotti seems to have actively worked against the removal of the subcontractor i mean at the end of the day it's our problem because it was our contract and our general and that general subbut i'm a little disturbed that we're dealing only with
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the suband not the general contractor and the general contractor if i'm reading everything right, seems to have gone to bat for the subcontractor and that kind of implicates the contractor so what is your thinking on that? >> that's certainly a good question. i think you know we focussed on the subcontractor who was performing the work who was responsible for the work while simultaneously notifying the general contractor that they were not doing adequate supervision and providing adequate safety oversight and there were provisions in the contract that they would have more than they did. >> they being ghilotti as ? >> yes, ghilotti brothers. >> it is our position that ghilotti is responsible for
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completing this work and certainly the subcontractor who was doing the work is the one that we're most concerned with and felt that ghilotti could bring in another subcontractor who could do this work who has a better, who could bring a team to bare that could perform the necessary work in a safer manner despite repeated meetings and letters etc. we were really unable to reach a cord with synergy and so that's why we focussed on their removal in moving forward and you are right ghilotti has a responsibility as an oversight and it was their contract and we had to work through them to synergy in this case so -- >> and so what is the ultimate resolution? is ghilotti going to go there and finish the job?
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>> that's our intent at this point as i mentioned earlier we requested they provide new subcontractors and their qualifications to us which we have received from them at this point and we are in the process of reviewing that and proceedings with a contract modification to add them to the contract. >> thank you. >> thank you supervisor peskin and thank you for being here today. so with that i know i want to open it up to public comment if there are any members here from the public who would like to make any public comment at this time please come forward. >> thank you president breed for holding this hearing it's very important. as the gentleman from the california
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puc said we didn't have an explosion i'd really not like to have an explosion and we do need to tighten up these procedures sounds like the general contractor was at fault as well as the sub. i know that we've been talking over a number of meetings and hearings in the press conference -- birds eye view -- here i am coming back to the haight and the bus is diverted and it goes on this route takes off of haight street up and around over to cole and i get off the bus and walk over to haight street and see traffic cones i don't see a fire truck or pg&e truck or city personnel i say what's going on? i go over to
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a merchant and they say there's been another gas leak and i don't know there's nothing that says go through this area stay out of this area all clear. it's very upsetting for us residents us homeowners and us renters to know what to do so we appreciate your looking at this with a magnifying glass and thinking about the safety of all of our citizens thank you. >> thank you next speaker, please? >> as the gas leaks occurred they kept getting closer to my house. all of them occurred within a block. it is important for me that you all understand that we're not raising questions about lowest bidder or the reporting
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requirements of puc to the city and county of san francisco but the responsibility of the city and county of san francisco to the residents of the city and county of san francisco. what is you all's responsibility? does it kick in after the second gas leak? is it the third gas leak? is it the 4th gas leak or is it the fifth gas leak? in this case we couldn't take it anymore and called for a press conference and supervisor breed showed up well and good and we had this hearing but what isn't discussed or what isn't on anybody's agenda is what is the responsibility of the city and county of san francisco to report in a timely and comprehensive manner to residents of san francisco after let's say the second gas leak? the second potentially
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catastrophic event in a city-funded and designed public works project? it would seem to me that we need to see somebody from the city show up a lot quicker than after the fifth gas leak. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please? >> hi. i'm from the pan hand /-l resident's association and our concern is we're next to have our pipelines replace d and thank you for this hearing and i want to make sure that we do have you know things in place that this won't happen again because it's primary residential where i am and don't have the businesses like haight street and people are gone and communication and if anything happens we don't have
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merchants that can say talk to people coming off the bus and reporting it we really have to rely on the contractors on good faith in other words so again thanks so much. >> thank you. are there any other members of the public who would like to give public comment at this time? seeing none we will close public comment and again i'd like to thank everyone for being here today. i do think it's important that before we move forward with mr. thomas with dpw, we do need some assurances that after the first gas leak in any construction project i mean what is going to be the procedure? how are people going to be notified and when is enough enough and when will we shut down a project for
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further review and finally making sure that we're reporting all of these incidents to the california public utilities commission so what i'm hoping to get out of this hearing is a real plan of action so that we are not sure what we're gonna do because i'm not walking away right now feeling comfortable that there's clarity as to what happens when this happens again other than ghilotti brothers they are currently working on presenting new contractors okay so what's the procedure? what's gonna be the procedure moving forward? how are we going to hold them accountable? can you give me something that assures the folks here from the neighborhood that we have this under control and we're gonna take action in a way that's not like what we had done before?
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>> if i may just a couple of seconds here if i wasn't clear, earlier i apologize but it's our intent to have titer contact so there's no confusion or lack of information on either our inspectors parts or otherwise. we intend to have additional supervision on-site and we've had some assurances from pg&e that they will provide additional support as this project moves forward and we felt we took the prudent
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steps initially when the first hit happened and worked with them again on the second hit to make sure that you know we understood what happened and if you recall there were perceptions of extenuating circumstances but don't really hold water when it comes to this kind of effort and work and the code requires that you hand dig until it's exposed and we'll make sure that happens and the use of hand tools will prevent this from reoccurring and it isn't to say one hundred percent guaranteed but i think with that oversight we'll be able to ensure that the neighborhood is safe moving forward. >> so you will have someone
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stationed 24-7 at the project site? >> well during the progress of the work we have inspection personnel as well as the resident engineer but as you can guess the projects are long linear projects and work can be going on in many locations simultaneously and can't expect to have one hundred percent oversight at all locations it's impossible to staff that way but we will make sure that both the general and subcontractors are aware i'm sure everybody is aware of the gravity of the situation and administer the contract as strictly as we can. >> what's missing here is really how we communicate with the public about when this occurs so when we are in a situation where there is a gas
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leak how are we communicating with the public, how are we diverting traffic and informing the merchants and what is our plan of action so i'd like to say a plan of action so i can have a clear understanding of what you are proposing in order to ensure the folks in the community are there's like immediate response of how these things get dealt with so that the merchants know what to do so there's not a lot of confusing information we should probably prepare something in case this occurs this is what the procedures will be so that merchants and residents know because we hope it doesn't happen again but clearly because it's happened so many times there's still a breakdown of trust with the city and how we're going to be operating this contract or any future contract. i know that we have
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to get it done but i want to make sure that we put procedures in place in order to deal with issues as they arise. >> there were 2 things that you mentioned there and the first is the procedure associated with hitting the gas line and the procedure for hitting a waterline and those would be in place and enforced and where the fire department and pg&e take control of the situation and we as public works support that effort and members of the public are either escorted out or told what they need to do and the second thing you mentioned is notification and closure to each one of those events and that i think we'll work on in our outreach and present that to you as part of our plan of action. >> and lastly i want to make sure we consider adding a requirement that when there is
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a gas leak that we immediately report it to the california public utilities commission for an investigation because the other thing is there was one investigation for five gas leaks. that investigation made it clear who was at fault and why and we continue to have as all of us have said finger pointing as to whose responsibility it was and clearly the subcontractor was at fault and we're moving on to hopefully a new subcontractor that will be able to do a better job but i also want to make sure that we are communicating with the neighbors and the merchants and we are working to obtain as much information about the subcontractor and their track record and the work that they have done to ensure residents and merchants that the person that we're choosing to work with is going to be someone
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that we can trust that can do the job well and that has a good safety track record so there's a lot of work ahead of us to get to a conclusion on making sure not only the work gets done but it gets done safely and i do appreciate you being here today along with other members from the community as well as from other departments and i just wanted to ask james if you had anything you wanted to add that we might have missed that we need to follow up on. >> thank you for the follow up. as i was listening i had all of these things going through my head and a couple of things mentioned that struck me. one, it seemed like everybody who came up here conclusion was it's synergy and definitely synergy was most at fault and
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it's nice to hear dpw mention they are planning on reporting to the state puc and some of other concerns i had regarding specific incidents the last gas line from what i understand was hit 5 feet from the marking and seemed like there were some inaccuracies here and also the october 20th sinkhole was actually one that i reported myself so i'm fairly familiar with it and it was not an immediate reaction and yes it was not technically in the work zone but it was at the corner where they were parking all the heavy equipment and i think their response was about 16 or 18 hours after it was reported at 8 p.m. on the 20th so there were some things that i urge we look a little deeper into what was said here and great
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speeches i was very impressed but i think we need to dig a little deeper and thank you again for hosting this hearing. >> thank you. supervisor yee did you have any questions or other comments? >> yeah, i just wanted to -- this just dawned on me that mr. king or several other people i guess mentioned that as you look at new contracts that you assign you will be looking at applying for their work history to make sure that they are competent and i guess part of what i'm thinking is you also have to look at what kind of subcontractors they are hiring. is there a track record of hiring your poor performing subcontractors -- that's always
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going to be an issue. maybe the general will be doing okay work and all the subcontractors they hire are doing subpar work and that should not not a factor in giving the contract. >> so the issue is one of the issues is that when these jobs are bid they are bid based on what we ask contractors to say so we say hey we're gonna build a hole this big and wide what are your qualifications you have to meet xyz qualifications and when we write that down it has to be broad enough and specific enough to /ebgs conclude poor performers and
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that's the tricky part in a nutshell and i guess i would describe the pool that we have now is contractors who might be a plus contractors and contractors who might be d plus but if you draw a line and say hey we want you to bid on this project there's no bonus for being a plus or b or anything whether it's the prime or the subso there's just a big pool of work and that's the way we do things now and we do run into problems when we have prequalification processes and when we draw specifications so narrowly no one can bid and as you can see from the example even after this many incidents even at this stage we have
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people saying it's this guy's fault and that's the trick about writing stuff and i know you know that and we're trying to use the legal tools we have to address it. >> thank you. with that i do think it's important that we do an investigation through our budget and legislative analyst and ask them to look into the city departments responsible because i mean we're hearing you know just a lot of information from various city departments and i want to make sure that the board of supervisors budget and legislative analyst looks into this situation and comes back to us with policy recommendations and changes to legislation that could help make this a more solid system because there's still a lot of different pieces moving here and nothing seems to be concrete nothing seems to have
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you know other than yes, there's a plan of action and this is the protocol that you followed but i do think we need to look at a way to make sure that we put something in place from the board of supervisors so we can ensure that we are protecting our residents when these contracts are awarded and thank you all again for being here and we still have much to do and i'll be keeping a close eye on what happens with any project in my district including north of pan hand /-l and including other places and hoping dpw is doing it's due diligence and i'd like to thank the presenters today and taking
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leadership on this particular issue and also like to thank my colleagues for sitting through this hearing. another district five is the catalysts for the issue this could affect any district time in san francisco and i want to make sure we're putting clear checks and balances clear systems that will make people feel comfortable and safe with the procedures that the city has in place to do any of these projects and with that i'd like to move that we file this item to the call of the chair. >> there's been a motion any objections? >> item moved. >> would you like to file or continue.
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>> i want to continue it to the call of the chair just in case we need to bring it back. >> any objection? none motion passes. thank you very much for your patience out there. madam clerk is there anything else? >> no further business. >> okay so in that case then the meeting is adjourned. >>


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