Friends of the Zeiss Statement Before
P.O. Box 1041 Pittsburgh City Council:
Electronic Mail: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >
Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh, and I reside at 633 Royce Avenue in Mount Lebanon. I am Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss.
On Friday, we received a reply from the City of Pittsburgh Department of General Services regarding the dismantling and removal of historic artifacts from Buhl Planetarium.
According to this letter, the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope were dismantled and removed between October 4 and October 25. The Mercator's Projection Map of the World was dismantled and removed on October 14.
Yet, although the dismantling and removal took place between October 4 and October 25, the three Memoranda of Understanding for these artifacts were not officially executed until October 25! Hence, had there been any accidents during the dismantling or removal, which had resulted in damage to the historic artifacts, the responsibility would have fallen on the City of Pittsburgh--not The Carnegie Science Center or the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.
"The Rise of Steel Technology" Mural, by local artist Nat Youngblood, was dismantled and stored in the Buhl Planetarium building by the Children's Museum on October 23. The Lease for the Buhl Planetarium building allows the Children's Museum to do this.
Yet, although the dismantling took place on October 23, the Lease Agreement for the Buhl Planetarium building was not officially executed until October 24! Again, had there been any accidents during the dismantling, which had resulted in damage to this historic artifact, the responsibility would have fallen on the City of Pittsburgh--not the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.
The Carnegie Science Center RFP Proposal, which was legally incorporated as an integral part of each Memorandum of Understanding, states, in part:
“CSC proposes to document all steps in the evaluation, disassembly and removal of the artifacts through still photography and through digital videography of key steps in the procedure. This will create a permanent visual record of the condition of the artifacts at the time of removal and the actual steps and procedures in the process. CSC will also provide a written documentation of the results of the evaluation for the City.”
We asked the Department of General Services for a copy of the written evaluation that was to be submitted to the City, as well as information regarding how we could review the documentation photography. The Department's response was:
"The City is not currently in possession of this requested information as indicated in your letter."
So, after nearly three months, The Carnegie Science Center has not provided the written evaluation, as required by all three Memoranda of Understanding. If the Science Center cannot comply with a simple reporting function, what assurance does the public have that they will comply with other promises made in the Memoranda of Understanding?
Once again, this clearly shows that there has been no attempt to follow any legal procedures on the part of the Department of General Services, The Carnegie Science Center, or the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.
Again, Friends of the Zeiss asks that Pittsburgh City Council investigate the actions of the Department of General Services over the last six months, regarding the Buhl Planetarium RFP. This investigation should include a legal opinion, from the City Solicitor, regarding the legality of the Department’s actions.