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"All the great western cities have wonderful buildings, but we are just coming of age here in Phoenix," she adds. "My goal here is to show we can do historic renovation and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. When I leave here, I want Phoenix to be nationally recognized as a leader in historic preservation."

AMONG THE ENTITIES invoked by Gerald Doyle to audit the doings in the Office of Historic Preservation are the city manager, several members of the Phoenix City Council, and the Arizona Board of Technical Registration.

He does not intend to let the matter drop, although City Hall seems inclined to do just that. City Manager Frank Fairbanks referred questions to a deputy, saying he wasn't personally familiar with the issue. "The selection of a consultant for this project is related to the City's procurement of professional services which are not governed by laws relating to public competitive bidding," says Deputy City Manager David Garcia in a September 30 response to Doyle's complaint. "The City may legally contract with any individual, firm or team that can provide the desired professional services."

Phoenix City Councilmember Craig Tribken, however, pulled the Ice House contract off the city council agenda recently after hearing Doyle's complaints. "We're not just talking the letter of the law, but the spirit, too," Tribken says.

After looking into the matter, Tribken agreed to support the Ice House contract, saying he felt its good aspects outweighed the bad. The contract was approved October 9 by the city council.

But Tribken says he will push for changes in the selection procedure governing future contracts. Tribken says he doesn't want to see the four projects delayed, but is worried that a cloud is forming over the nascent historic-preservation program.

"If we say we're going through a public process, with advertising and so forth, we need to stick with it," he comments. "It's important that everyone plays by the same rules."

One specific change he'll push for is to assign greater weight to local preference. "I think the local architects intrinsically deliver something to the table that out-of-town firms can't bring, no matter how talented they are," Tribken says. "There's a tendency to seek validation from outsiders, but heritage means being proud of who we are, and part of that is saying, `We do have the talent here to do the job.'"

The passion Gerald Doyle now feels is outrage over what he believes is a betrayal of faith.

Doyle is not alone in complaining that both the advertising and bid-award procedures were riddled with irregularities.

Abele insists that no hidden agenda influenced advertising, only a desire to lift Phoenix's profile nationally.

"When I leave here, I want Phoenix to be nationally recognized as a leader in historic preservation."

"We're not just talking the letter of the law, but the spirit, too," Tribken says.

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Kathleen Stanton