Since work is already underway and other cities paid more than Menlo Park did for similar projects, Vice Mayor Catherine Carlton said during last night's City Council meeting that she had changed her mind about asking her colleagues to reconsider whether to reconsider spending an additional $24,000 for design work on a new logo and style guide for the city.
Earlier this month, the council appeared ready to stop the project to modernize the city's graphic design standards. But after being told the contract could not be canceled, council members settled on a minor upgrade to the existing logo -- a new font and fresh topography -- and agreed to purchase a style guide.
Ms. Carlton had asked for the reconsideration because new information had come to light, "which I believe is the definition of when we bring things back," she said.
But while originally uncomfortable with the cost when the council voted to proceed with the project two weeks ago, she said, her recent research turned up two local cities that paid $65,000 and $56,000 for logos and style guides, suggesting that Menlo Park "got a great deal" on its $49,000 contract.
The councilwoman said she didn't have permission to identify the cities.
Fellow council member Peter Ohtaki opted to leave the reconsideration on the agenda, however, and moved to approve it. Mayor Ray Mueller seconded, saying he was doing so only to support a fellow council member; but the motion failed to garner a majority vote when Kirsten Keith and Ms. Carlton dissented. Councilman Rich Cline was absent.
Mr. Ohtaki explained that he still had questions regarding what exactly Menlo Park will get -- will the work include presentation templates, for example? -- and whether the contract has a provision for termination, contrary to what the council had been told on Jan. 14.
"I would like to see a statement of work," he said.
Ms. Carlton noted that after the council approved the redesign two weeks ago, the contractor -- 2 Sisters Design, based in Redwood Shores -- had begun the second phase of the project and "now we'd have to pay to stop," since the city would be billed for completed work to date.
The discussion shed some light on who decided to redesign the city's logo, a move that caught council members by surprise when they were asked to evaluate alternative emblems, developed for $25,000 during the first phase of the project; their comments at the time indicated they didn't know their support of a "rebranding" effort would include changing the logo. Contracts under $50,000 are not subject to council approval under the city's policy.
Ms. Carlton said last night that the idea appeared to have originated within the Community Services Department. How the project evolved "was not egregious enough" to warrant reconsideration.