About the Author
Mark Richardson is a multimedia journalist, editor and writer who has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for three decades. He is a nationally recognized editor and reporter who has covered government, politics and the environment. A journalism graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, he was recently awarded a Foundation for Investigative Journalism grant and has three Associated Press Managing Editors awards for excellence in reporting.
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Water commission action stymied by recusals
The Water and Wastewater Commission sent a controversial System Facility Engineering Rotation List authorization to the City Council without a recommendation Wednesday night, after a majority of the commissioners present recused themselves. The list, a proposed four-year agreement between the Austin Water Utility and seven engineering firms, was the center of a recent controversy that caused the resignation of a commission member.
Former Commission Member Ronnie Jones raised several question at meetings in May and
“I really think this thing needs to be redone,”
It appears that Warner’s refusal to second Espinoza’s motion had no practical impact, however, since a quorum—in this case four members—is required in order to approve any motion.
Among the other flaws he pointed out was that one of the seven primary contractors listed one of the other primaries as a subcontractor. City staff said that while it was not common, it was permissible under the current system.
The item before the Commission was to names seven firms – Camp, Dresser and McKee, Austin; Chaing, Patel & Yerby, Austin; Kalluri Group, Houston; Alan Plummer and Assoc., Austin; CH2M Hill, Austin; Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Austin; and MWH Americas, Austin – to provide services for Austin Water utility on a rotating basis from 2008 to 2011. The total of the seven agreements was not to exceed $7 million.
City staff said the Rotation List is used as a way to distribute work as projects became available in a system that was more efficient than issuing requests for proposals. Staff said all of the firms were thoroughly pre-screened for qualifications prior to being put on the list.
The item will now go before the City Council at its July 24 meeting.
The terms of
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