Friends of the Zeiss                                     Statement Before

P.O. Box 1041                                                            Pittsburgh City Council:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.                2003 January 7

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: < >


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.


It is now clear that the City of Pittsburgh Department of General Services has flagrantly violated their own

RFP process, to award the custody of three historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts to The Carnegie Science Center!


On Thursday, as I requested, the Department of General Services sent me a copy of the June 18 letter sent by The Carnegie Science Center. As I told you earlier, only on December 10 had we learned that the Department had accepted this as an “Addendum” to the Science Center Proposal. The complete proposal had been due on the Department’s deadline of May 23; the “Addendum” was almost a month late.


We have been trying to get a copy of the Science Center RFP Proposal since July 1; our request was rejected until late October. However, this “Addendum” was NOT included with the copy of the Science Center Proposal finally sent to us. Thus, the Department of General Services has concealed its violation of RFP procedures for almost six months!


The “Addendum” letter stated that the Pittsburgh Children's Museum had agreed to fund nearly half the cost of dismantling and removing the historic artifacts from Buhl Planetarium; the Science Center, then, agreed to foot the rest of the bill. The original Science Center Proposal said “others” would be required to pay for the dismantling and removal of the artifacts.


The RFP required “Complete and secured financing arrangements” for the entire project proposed by the Science Center, not for just the dismantling and removal of the artifacts. Yet, the “Addendum” clearly shows that even the financing for the dismantling and removal stage of the project was iffy—until June 18. Any way you look at it, The Carnegie Science Center clearly missed the deadline of the RFP!


However, six days after the “Addendum” letter was issued, the City awarded the bid for the artifacts to The Carnegie Science Center! Now we learn, from an article in the December 30 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the Zeiss Projector and Siderostat Telescope have been dismantled and removed by the Science Center.
The Department of General Services violated their own RFP process in no less than three instances:


1) By allowing a late addition to the Science Center Proposal, for which there is no legal basis.

2) By allowing the dismantling and removal of the historic equipment, with NO valid Lease Agreements—only vague “Memoranda of Understanding” not mentioned in the RFP.
3) By allowing the dismantling and removal of the historic equipment, when the Science Center admits
they do not have "Complete and secured financing arrangements," as explicitly mandated by the Department’s own RFP !

These flagrant violations of the law clearly illustrate that the Department did not objectively consider all RFP

bids submitted. There is clear and unambiguous documentary evidence that they favored one bidder, The Carnegie

Science Center! Such clear violations of the law should not stand. The City does not have the constitutional power to write, what is in effect, ex post facto law.

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.

Thank you.