Tonight the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will meet for a regular meeting and take a look at a proposed change order to the Kodiak High School Addition and Renovation’s project management contract.
A year ago, the borough hired Bruce Walter of Wilson Engineering for project management services associated with the high school, and tonight the assembly will be asked to review that contract, and decide whether or not to allow certain changes to the agreement.
The changes include a housing allowance increase from $1,600 to $1,900 for Walter, and a slight increase to the company’s hourly rate. Those increases didn’t fly with many borough assembly members, who discussed the contract change order during Tuesday’s work session.
Assemblywoman Carol Austerman said she didn’t appreciate that the company is asking for more money a year into the contract, and almost $2,000 for housing. However, the borough only signed a one year contract with Wilson Engineering, so the requested change orders were actually part of negotiations to enter into a second year of work.
That also didn’t sit well with Austerman, who said she didn’t understand why the borough would sign a one year contract for a project that was expected to last three years.
“This is the kind of stuff where it really makes us look bad to the public.”
Borough Project Manager Matt Gandel said the borough elected to only enter a one year agreement because they weren’t sure how things might work out with Wilson Engineering, and didn’t want to be stuck in a bad contract for three years. He added that the request for an hourly increase is due to added insurance and new overhead costs for the company as a whole.
Still, Austerman said this is a situation that could lead to some serious fiscal mistakes for the borough, and more conversations need to be had with Wilson Engineering.
“If they want us to keep them as the engineer and not start over from scratch – because that is our other option, our option is not we that we are stuck between a one year contract with Wilson or a two year contract with Wilson – it’s that we can go back and put this back out to bid. Because if that’s the right thing to do financially for this borough, then that could be what the votes end up around this table. So they need to consider that as well. They don’t have us over a barrel.”
Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said he would try and get some more information to the assembly before tonight’s meeting to better clear up the contract’s change orders.