Consultant to look at management during fiscal crisis

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 02/14/2010 09:11:02 AM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – The Board of Supervisors has commissioned a study to assess the effectiveness of the county’s government structure and to help new County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux determine the best approach to fiscally managing county departments.

The board on Tuesday approved an $87,500 contract with Los Angeles-based Performance Works, LLC., which submitted the second lowest bid for the work.

“The reason the lowest bidder didn’t get it is because they didn’t have any experience doing this kind of work,” county spokesman David Wert said.

On Friday, the Web site for Performance Works listed Steve Pontell, a Rancho Cucamonga-based strategic consultant whose company secured a $150,000 no bid contract from the county in September, as a strategist.

Reached by phone Friday, Loree Goffigon, a managing partner at Performance Works, refused to discuss Pontell’s role at the company and hung up.

Soon after the phone call, Pontell’s information and photo were removed from the company’s Web site.

Pontell, whose La Jolla Institute landed the no-bid contract in September and whom Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Ovitt has called a good friend, said Friday that he has in fact subcontracted with Performance Works as a strategist on projects, but is not a full-time employee or partner at the company.

“I was never in any kind of formal capacity with the company,” said Pontell, who over the last 20 years has served as the president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Council and was director of both the Big Bear Lake and Ontario chambers of commerce.

He stressed that he is not taking part in or profiting in any from the study commissioned by the county on Tuesday.

Pontell said Friday that many companies he has done work for have used his photo and information on their Web sites to illustrate the talent pool backing their companies and boost their clout. He said he called Goffigon on Friday and asked that his information be removed from the Web site.

According to the bio previously posted on Performance Works’ Web site, Pontell is a “nationally recognized authority on community development and the workplace of the future.” He is president of the La Jolla Institute and is engaged in a wide array of private entrepreneurial ventures ranging from the Pine Knot Landing marina in Big Bear Lake to the San Bernardino-based development company Sierra West Corporation.

The county received four bids on the study. Glendale-based Renta-CEO proposed to do the work for $50,000 but the county rejected the proposal.

Performance Works bid the work at $87,500, and the other two companies, Redondo Beach-based Bluecrane, Inc., and Sacramento-based MGT of America, offered to do the study for $124,950 and $149,760, respectively.

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