Whose responsible for the Mitchell Park library Fiasco?

Mitchell Park Library Well according to Flintco’s website report card, their position is clearly stated:

“When it comes to improving our service, we’re not satisfied just resting on our laurels. We want honest feedback from our clients and architects with whom we work on projects. We provide clients with the opportunity to provide feedback about our team’s performance through a monthly survey that is delivered directly to the office’s executives.

We’re proud to say that our monthly client satisfaction surveys consistently result in scores of 90% or above in such areas as quality, responsiveness, constructive solution capabilities, attitude, and communication.”

So who’s to blame?

On the other hand, the city of Palo Alto has delivered its own report card on Flintco’s performance. That report card resulted in the termination of their construction contract leaving the library’s completion date in limbo. Although rumors have its opening date set for sometime in December 2014.

So who’s to blame? The citizens of Palo Alto deserve answers but perhaps we will never know. Both sides are lawyering up for what seems to become a protracted legal battle with transparency being far removed from the process. Palo Alto legal discussions are always held behind closed doors far from public view.

Although it’s clear from Palo Alto city manager James Keene’s termination letter to Flintco, he’s outlined a construction punch list failures.

In all fairness, what’s missing is Flintco’s solutions to any of the cities constructive communications and nothing has been published at the cities website in this regard that we can see. And as we all know too well, there’s two sides of the story. It’s like missing chapters from a horror story leaving us to fill in the blanks.

What we do know is that this behemoth of a library project comes with an enormous price tag far from its original contract estimate of $24.3 million. Who knows neither what the bottom line or final price tag will be nor when it’s scheduled to open.

Finger pointing

From all of the lopsided documentation we’ve reviewed, all finger pointing is directed at Flintco. Is that fair? A closer look at the actual city contract, it becomes evident too at least to us, that Turner Construction was in fact responsible for the day-to-day oversight operations of Flintco as the principle contractor. In other words, Turner Construction was to make sure that as the Mitchell Park library Flintco project advanced, Turner Construction would coordination and assure Flintco would remain on schedule and meet all required construction deadlines.

Turner Construction responsibility we gathered are clear. Furthermore, the city recognized this and understandably so. According to the contract it states;

“The project administration workload for the Measure N bond projects is beyond what Public Works staff can administer without assistance. Amendment No.2 to the contract with Turner Construction (Attachment C) will provide for staff from Turner Construction to supplement Public Works staff during the construction of the MPLCC.

In addition to providing daily oversight of the respective contractors, sub consultants to Turner Construction will provide testing and inspection services for the project. Also included in Amendment No.2 are project administration services for the preliminary design of a temporary Main Library during the construction document phase of the Main Library.”

Millions of dollars to Turner Construction

According to the original contact, that’s what the taxpayers were to ultimately pay Turner Construction for overseeing Flintco Construction, millions!  All of that has changed now.  And, as of today, there still responsible for among other things, meeting construction deadlines, quality of workmanship, and assuring the proper certification of all sub-contractors.

In fact, the city has negotiated a new contract for more and more money to be shoveled out to Turner Construction in providing for additional construction oversight in light of Flintco’s contract termination.

Now that the city of Palo Alto is holding Flintco Construction Liable for everything, so it would appear, what burden does Turner Construction bare? Turner Construction is not talking and neither is Mike Sartor Director of Public Works. He’s ignored our email request for comment. What a fiasco!

One Reply to “Whose responsible for the Mitchell Park library Fiasco?”

  1. Where does the buck stop?

    It stops with the person in charge and in this case that would be City Manager James Keene. He can try all he wants to blame others for his failures in order to shift accountability away from himself however the bottom line is that James Keene is the one responsible for anything that goes wrong in Palo Alto.

    On the other hand he is the person to give praise when anything goes right, which he is more than willing to take when that occurs, so the question that everyone should ask is why is City Manage James Keene who likes to take credit for things when they work out yet does not want to take credit for things when they do not work out?

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