Sunday, September 07, 2008

CHS air conditioning installation and heating retrofit delay timeline

As many of you already know, the CHS air conditioning installation and heating retrofit has been delayed. I'm glad it's being delayed because as I mentioned in August 2007 - it's a perfect candidate for performance contracting.

Unfortunately, the delay is for the wrong reason. Instead of delaying the project to fulfill the promise that was made, it's delayed because the architect has not yet finished his work. So after a year of footdragging, we haven't made any progress on a town wide, comprehensive energy action plan. But rather than rehash the past month of the majority's strawmen and diversionary tactics... let's simply focus on the delay in the CHS air conditioning installation and heating retrofit.

As I mentioned, I recently requested a signed copy of the architect's contract. Using related documents, here's a recap of the sequence of events that led to the delay:

August 28, 2007 - Council majority promises to consider performance contracting, but requests a specific project. In response to their request, I suggest the CHS heating retrofit twice.

March 11, 2008 - the Council voted to waive the selection process for an architect for the CHS heating retrofit. I opposed the vote on the grounds that the proposal did not include consideration of performance contracting. And I was told that it was "too late in the process" to add PC to the discussion... so we "must" support this project. (After the meeting, I was told that I was "showboating" by opposing this project which "must" proceed!) I can't recall the exact reasons why Jimmy Sima opposed the waiver, but here's a one minute clip on some of his concerns:
Continuing the timeline:

March 21 - the architect contacted the town.

May 9 - the town contacted the architect.

May 23 - the architect contacted the town.

July 9 - the town gave the architect the "notice to proceed."

August 28 - Council majority says that this project will be included in the capital budget... though the $1.5 million cost was apparently pulled out of thin air.

August 30 - as the Budget Chairman offers his capital budget, he announces that this project is being pulled* because it is not yet ready.

September 4 - I get the information that allows me to document this chronology of events.

I then ask if the project had moved along as expeditiously as possible.

And the answer I got?

Councilman Ecke: "The Board of Ed has got to do a better job."

That's right... back on March 11, I was told that I was a "showboat" because I opposed this project... when it was a "must-do" that "could not be slowed" for consideration of performance contracting at "this late hour."

And now what do we have?

The project delay is NBD and the Council majority is blaming the schools!

But if you're doubting my astonishment with the blame game the Council is playing... I'll post the documents soon. Then you can decide for yourself if the Council is being fair in blaming the Board of Ed... or if they're just passing the buck because they're all worried about getting reelected and maintaining their "grip on power."

Tim White

* Notably, this changing of the motion at the last minute is a complete contradiction to all the now hypocritical statements by the majority about how they didn't like me offering motions /amendments during Council meetings... because everything needs to "vetted by committee."


Anonymous said...

How could the Board of Ed. be blamed when it took almost 2 months
for the Town to call back the architect? Aren't these projects handled by Public Works? Then it took another 2 months to respond to him again! Did Michelangelo drop the ball again? Too many drops and you are off the team, right?

Anonymous said...

Gee, I wonder who's going to end up getting the job...anyone want to place a bet?

Anonymous said...

Gee, I'll bet it will be one or more Bowmans. And, while we're at it Milone and MacBroom will probably get some taxpayer money.

Gee, I wonder who will end up owning the BioFuel plant?

Anonymous said...

Well, at least it seems that everyone in public works has a take home SUV in case of an emergency call-in! Wanna bet that if the high school heating system replacement turned into an after hours emergency requiring all the DPW take home vehicle caretakers to be called in some progress would then be made?

When will this town government move away from its de-facto hero-worship mode of managing things and put in place processes and procedures which result in timely business transactions? How can the council continue to wave competitive bidding? How can non-competitively selected vendors stand by waiting and waiting for answers from the town on work they were contracted to do? In such cases do they just keep billing and billing before they receive the communications ? Does the town just keep paying and paying?

Anonymous said...

Geez, this town is looking more and more like Boston under James Michael Curley. He went to prison for corruption while he was still in office .... maybe Matt, Matt, Mike, and Mike will soon be joining him there.

Anonymous said...

Due to the economy, a number of people have been thinking that we wouldn't hear any more about the W/S Mall and that it was down the toilet.

Surprisingly the Cheshire Herald had an article about it and it said that W/S was going to ask P&Z for a text change that would eliminate the restriction that no more than 5 acres of land can be excavated at a time. W/S will say that the current restriction is a hardship as they have to excavate so much land, probably 50 to 60 acres at least.

Is P&Z going to say the hell with the citizens of Cheshire and approve this Pandora's Box? The 5 acre rule is a good one and it is based on protecting adjacent property owners from irresponsible developers and from unexpected bad events, such as storms. What happens if after disupting a huge parcels the developer decides to abandon the project, who gets stuck with the cleanup responsibility? What happens if we have major storms after this large parcel is disturbed and before it is stabilized?

If the members of P&Z don't know the priorities of their job, it's time for them to find out. The primary job is to protect the community, adjacent landowners and in this case, downstream entities. After these considerations, to allow property to be developed in accordance to zoning regulation.

If P&Z changes this rule, it will apply to all property townwide and don't let anyone tell you different. This is serious stuff and it's time for this commission start thinking ahead and start serving the people of Cheshire in the manner in which they are supposed to and not just side with the special interests of a few.

If they change this, they will show that they just don't care.

Anonymous said...

50-60 acres to be moved next to the Ten-Mile river is not right. What are these people thinking? Somebody better start keeping in mind the safety of the Citizens of Cheshire and Southington when this proposal comes foward.

Anonymous said...

Woody Dawson had asked that P&Z just grant W/S a special exemption from the 5 acre rule as it would be a hardship on the developer. I think Woody Dawson should be thinking more about protecting the citizens of Cheshire and less about how a zoning law might affect the bottom line of a poor developer.

Woody Dawson has a house nspection business that gets business from local builder/developers.

Anonymous said...

Somebody explain why there is a delay, what is the reason? If we had to waive the process to hire an architect what has changed in the process to cause the delay? One possible reason is the design has changed and that change would have only come from the owners,the Board of Education. Maybe Tim should ask Bob Behrer who is in change of this for the BOE.

Anonymous said...

Behrer is a little busy trying to fast track the approval of the turf project.