Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2012

City Council awards drainage contract despite concern

November 20, 2012

The Shawnee City Council voted unanimously during its Nov. 13 meeting to award a $1.2 million contract for storm drainage improvements to the low bidder, Amino Brothers Co. Inc.

But Ward 2 City Councilman Neal Sawyer cast his “aye” vote only after a little naysaying about the contractor.

Amino Brothers, which was awarded the new bid for improvements in the Fairview Heights and Shawnee Village neighborhoods, is the same contractor that was criticized for the landscaping and sodding portion of its work on a storm drainage project near 55th and Earnshaw streets earlier this year, Sawyer noted.

“I would love to have had the contractor here, ...” Sawyer said after being notified that no one from Amino Brothers was in attendance at the Nov. 13 meeting. “I would like some assurances that we’re going to get this right this time.”

In addition to spawning complaints from residents near 55th and Earnshaw, the landscaping and sodding issues with that project indirectly led to the May 24 resignation of City Councilman David Morris, who was Sawyer’s Ward 2 mate.

Emails obtained by the Dispatch following Morris’ departure indicated that he and City Manager Carol Gonzales had butted heads over his approach to constituent complaints, including one from a resident who lives near 55th and Earnshaw.

“Staff doesn’t see your role as ‘advocating for citizens,’” Gonzales wrote in a May 23 email to Morris. “They see a council member’s role as being part of a city team that all works together for the overall good of the community. Based on how you have approached things since being elected, staff members feel like you always believe the citizen and always just assume that we are making big mistakes and not handling things right.”

Sawyer said at the time that part of Morris’ problems with staff may have resulted from his tendency to approach staff members directly rather than going through Gonzales.

Hoping to head off further problems relating to Amino Brothers’ work, Sawyer asked during the Nov. 13 meeting for staff’s assurance that the company would be held to the contract specifications this time.

Amino Brothers was among nine companies bidding for the Fairview Heights/Shawnee Village improvements, which will be made between Flint Street, Nieman Road, 70th Terrace and 71st Terrace. Its bid was $16,000 lower than the second-lowest bid and fell far under the engineer’s estimate of $2.87 million.

“I think it’s great that we’re $1 million under budget,” Ward 4 Councilman Mickey Sandifer said after Amino Brothers’ low bid was accepted.

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