CORRECTION (Published 9/26/2013)

Two articles about competition for an Alameda County printing services contract incorrectly reported the percentage by which the cost is increasing. While the total contract amount is nearly doubling, from $6.025 million to $11.675 million, the annual cost increase is only 41 percent because the contract time period is also increasing from three to five years.

OAKLAND -- A well-connected Oakland nonprofit organization won a lucrative bid Tuesday to manage Alameda County's workforce development program, despite objections from a rival firm accusing the group of being too cozy with public officials.

The nonprofit Oakland Private Industry Council has been the "employer of record" managing payroll and work documents for Alameda County's jobs-building program since 1997, but was forced to rebid its contract this year because of federal rules.

Five other groups jumped in to compete for the $2.5 million-a-year contract but lost. Now one of them, Oakland-based HR Management, is saying the outcome was predetermined and faulty.

"This to me is a collusion process" and a "total sham," Clarence Hunt, president of HR Management, told the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, arguing that the Oakland Private Industry Council, known as the Oakland PIC, was favored because of its "pre-existing relationships" with the county government.


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County supervisors delayed voting on the contract last week after Hunt and his lawyer raised similar concerns at a public meeting and in formal written complaints. But the board voted 5-0 Tuesday to grant Oakland PIC the contract after listening to a more detailed explanation of the procurement process from Alameda County Social Services Director Lori Cox.

"I really fail to see the legal argument" of HR Management, said Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

The Oakland PIC had already won the blessings earlier this year of the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board, a 30-member body of business and labor leaders and public officials appointed by county supervisors.

Executives at the Oakland PIC said they were offended by Hunt's public accusations. Founded in 1978, the group runs one-stop career centers and also manages job training and employment programs in Contra Costa County and the cities of Oakland and Richmond.

"We played by the rules," said Richard de Juaregui, Oakland PIC's planning director.

Gay Plair Cobb, the group's longtime CEO, told county supervisors her proposal was also three times less costly to taxpayers than Hunt's plan.

"This has been a fair and open and equitable process," Cobb said.

Contract OK'd

The Board of Supervisors also on Tuesday unanimously authorized a 2-year extension and $5.7 million increase to a contract for outsourced printing of manuals, mailers and other paper products -- amounting to a 41 percent annual increase over the previous contract amount.

The board voted without comment. No explanation was given for the rising costs, but county spokesman Guy Ashley said Wednesday it is "due to upcoming initiatives related to health care reform and new requirements that expand the number of languages" that the county must translate its messages in.

(A previous version of this article misstated the cost of the increase.)

Ex-exec remembered

Alameda County's former chief executive who guided the East Bay government through a tough fiscal period has died.

Retired County Administrator Melvin "Mel" Hing was 83 when he died in Oakland on Aug. 27. A private memorial service is being planned for October.

The Sacramento native was a Korean War veteran and U.S. Air Force cryptographer before he began a career in government, first in Sacramento County and later as Alameda County's chief bureaucrat from 1978 to 1989. He had to manage thousands of layoffs after the 1978 Proposition 13 property tax initiative gutted the county budget.

"He was a sharp fiscal manager who left a strong mark and legacy here in Alameda County," said current Administrator Susan Muranishi. "He was certainly known for his short temper and sharp wit."

Among those who survive him are two sons who followed him into county government: Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing and Kevin Hing, an administrator in the clerk-recorder's office.