Judge asked to again halt Augusta building project over illegal purchasing practices

The judge who brought a halt to the remodeling of the Augusta Municipal Building because the city failed to follow state and county purchasing laws will now decide whether the same ruling should apply to the expansion of the county jail and other major construction projects.


On Tuesday, the lawsuit filed by John Z. Speer Jr. and the Augusta-Richmond County Property Owners against the city was amended.

Attorney Jack Long filed the amended Richmond County Superior Court complaint asking Chief Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet to expand his Sept. 23 order to cover all other major building projects, such as the pending contract for the “construction manager at-risk” for the phase 2 expansion at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center.

The commission agenda Tuesday evening included an item about whether the city attorney and City Administrator Fred Russell should review the legality of the recommendation to hire R.W. Allen to continue as the construction manager at risk for the $16.99 million project in light of Overstreet’s Sept. 23 ruling.

The recommendation to give the contract to R.W. Allen was approved 8-1-1, with Joe Bowles opposed and J.R. Hatney abstaining.

The selection process used to reach that recommendation, however, is the exact process used to select a construction manager at risk for the Municipal Building renovations. Overstreet ruled the process violated the state’s purchasing law that requires sealed competitive bids for any government contract more than $100,000.

Instead of sealed bids, the city chose a two-part process — one bid selected the construction companies deemed qualified to do the job, and a second interview process selected the contractor based on a grading system Overstreet ruled was impermissible subjective. The contractor’s proposed price only accounts for 15 of 100 total points.



Fri, 01/19/2018 - 21:23

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