The Savannah City Council unanimously awarded a design contract to the recommended firm for a planned cultural arts center Thursday. The vote came despite the protests of two finalists for the project, who claimed in letters to Mayor Edna Jackson that the selection process had been flawed.
Aldermen Tom Bordeaux, John Hall and Tony Thomas were out of town and not present during the meeting.
Savannah-based Gunn Meyerhoff Shay was awarded the contract after being ranked sixth of 12 firms by city staff during an initial qualifying period, according to reports released late Thursday afternoon.
The firm jumped to No. 1, earning 89 out of 100, after a more in-depth interview and presentation stage was evaluated by the selection committee, said Purchasing Director Joy Kerkhoff. In addition to experience, staff considered criteria such as project understanding, team management, design quality, and minority and woman-owned business participation, Kerkhoff said.