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City failed taxpayers in sewer crisis

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

I worked 30 years in construction management. I worked the last 7 to 8 years consulting for bonding companies, picking up after cities and counties attempted to manage the construction of a major infrastructure build.

However, the largest disasters were when a small city, like Rock Falls, let a local engineering/construction manager manage a project out of their “size expertise.”

I don’t know who managed the construction of the site’s system. However, I do know that it’s the charter of the construction management to clean up the mess, should you have a failure like Rock Falls’.

Having 20 subcontractors on a $30 million job is normal. However, it’s the construction management responsibility to have inspected the subcontracts’ work and to have made sure it complied with the design.

If it’s an equipment failure, then it was the construction management’s responsibility to make sure warrantees were obtained, insurance coverage purchased, and contract compliance adhered to.

Now if the design was suspect, and the construction management and the engineer are one in the same, the Rock Falls city management should be terminated immediately, all of them.

However, far too many times I discovered that the best contractors were not used; local contractors were. A local engineer was hired because the “big guys” with all the experience were not local. And then, all too often, the cities themselves tried to manage the project, or worse yet, interfered.

When that happens, the taxpayers lose out again because the “good-ole-boy” network prevailed? To have any engineer say they don’t know what happened because there are 20 subs is to say we failed the taxpayers of Rock Falls; we don’t have a clue, and we should have not been selected.

I don’t know who the construction management was, but Rock Falls does.

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