About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Bethlehem Tp Rejects $32k Bill by Ex-Comm'r For Carport

Over a year ago Bethlehem Township's Board of Commissioners awarded a $139,024 contract for an 18-vehicle carport for the Township police patrol cars. A few eyebrows went up when the contract was awarded to Weiss Construction. Owner Paul Weiss was himself a Commissioner for eight years before being defeated by Pat Breslin in the 2013 election. But he was the low bidder. In fact, his bid was $20,000 below the next highest bid.

Work was supposed to be finished in August 2015, but Weiss was instead granted two extensions.

When he started, he hit rock 18' below the surface while drilling for the posts. Instead of stopping work and seeking approval for an extra expense with what is known as a "change order," he continued, and went $32,070 over budget. Of that sum, $27,000 is what is owed to the drilling subcontractor. The rest is profit to Weiss.

On January 19, Weiss submitted his change order, seeking an extra $32,070. But his contract with the Township contained no "rock clause," entitling a contractor to seek additional compensation if excavation is difficult.

"You are not contractually required to accept the change order," Conflicts Solicitor Stanley Margle advised Commissioners in March. "It is entirely discretionary with the Board."

Commissioners took no action until their August 1 meeting, then they voted 4-1 to reject the change order. The sole No vote came from Michael Hudak, who in March had advocated paying Weiss $27,000, the sum he had to pay for a drilling subcontractor.

"This is a cost of doing business," said resident Marcie Hedrick."Mr. Weiss is a professional. He knew how to do this. He didn't do it the right way. It happens. Please don't throw this money away. We have children to support." Resident Barry Roth suggested that Weiss knew he'd hit rock.

Calling the change order "legitimate," Hudak described Weiss as a "very good contractor." He predicted that "until all is said and done, we're going to end up spending more in legal fees than if we just paid the damn change order."

Weiss was absent at this meeting, as he was in March.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Twp commissioners & administrative department heads, all have rocks in their heads and just told one of their own (former) to go pound sand.

Anonymous said...

That car port looks more like a truck port. Are they next going to start buying tractor trailer trucks for police cars? The structure looks like serious overkill for housing cars. Spend, spend and spend!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The place is a Banana Republic.

Anonymous said...

Has he ever low balled other contracts, then appeal for change orders. If so, then no additional. To be fair, you should pay extra cost.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:47, This post has NOTHING to do with Donald Trump.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:23, I don't understand your comment. Comm'rs cannot agree to pay extra without looking like they are taking care of one of their own. But believe it or not, I do agree to some extent with Hudak. As much as I like Stanley Margle, I would pay something to get rid of it.

Ken Kraft said...

Yes. I would like to see the certified payroll for this and many of his jobs

Ken Kraft said...

What he means is bidding low to secure the job, then asking for extras because your bid was so low...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Low-balling? Entirely possible.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

If you can't comment without being vulgar, go somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

also-

It won't be long before we're reading and commenting on cost overruns after they decide this structure needs back and side walls.

Sometimes, and it may or may not be the case here, there is more depth to it, and we just seen the first bite at the apple.

Ken Kraft said...

You are a very insightful person.

Anonymous said...

Good for them to reject the change order. Many shady contractors do this when bidding: bid way low and then eventually exceed the preciously higher bids wirh change orders.

Anonymous said...

In April, the Northampton County gaming awarded Bethlehem Township $104,734 to for the purchase of two police vehicles. TheY just awarded contracts for 3 vehicles at a cost of $29,635 each. That is $88,905. Will they submit for $104,735, $88,905, or the cost of the two vehicles $59,275? Is there a discrepancy in the spec? Do the unused funds stay with the gaming board or do they use the profit to pay for legitimate cost incurred by a contrsctor. How do you propose $52k for vehicles and only spend $30k? It is my understanding g these vehicles are ordered through the state and come with basic equipment. Maybe I am wrong here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The actual cost of the two vehicles covered by the grant, once they are fully loaded, will be $104,734. The $29,000 is just for the vehicle purchase. Also, if the actual cost of these vehicles comes in at less that $104,734, the difference has to be returned, unless it is a small sum. I forget the cutoff amount, but remember that Karen Collis mentioned getting $2 and $3 checks in returns from some municipalities. The township will be spending the $104,000, and what it does not spend, it will have to return. It is not playing games with grant money. Too many eyes, including yours.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the explanation.