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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, October 24, 2016

Brown the Bridge Builder

Irish bridge
At their October 20 meeting, Northampton County Council voted 7-1 to approve an bridge-bundling ordinance under which 33 of the County's 119 bridges will be conveyed to the General Purpose Authority (GPA) for repairs at 20-30% less than would be paid if the County were to do the work itself. in addition to being cheaper, Executive John Brown has argued that the work will be done more quickly.

County officials have indicated that the GPA is ready to award the $34 million deal to Kriger Construction, which is located in Dickson City. A disappointed bidder, Clearwater Construction, has filed suit over the award, claiming that Kriger is unqualified. Judge Craig Dally has ruled that Clearwater lacks standing, and his decision is under appeal. Kevin Lott, a Hellertown resident and trades union organizer, has also sued.

Ken Kraft is the sole Council member to vote No to this ordinance, even though one of the union painting that he represents, would be used by Kriger. Kraft had no comment, but has previously complained that Kriger is unqualified to replace bridges. He is also concerned that there will be cost overruns because Kriger low-balled the project.

Brown has touted this bridge bundling project in his race for auditor general. In an interview with PCNTV,he said he's been told, "You were able to come up with a solution that no one thought of before." He argues that the County lacks "the capacity to do this" and that it's time to "stop pretending we're going to get to the bridge repair."  He claims that PennDot sees this " a pilot project that, when successful, they'd like to probably roll it out to the other 66 counties in the state. We're very fortunate that the Federal Highway Administration is taking a look at our project as a model to roll out, potenially nationally."

Mike Bonini, director of PennDOT’s P3 project, said that Northampton County is blazing a trail for other counties.

Council President John Cusick commended Brown, calling it a "groundreaking" effort.

Matt Dietz was absent from the meeting.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown did not come up with this idea. It was presented to the County as an unsolicited P3 project by an independent party.

Anonymous said...

Probably the one who was the high bidder and now is crying about it. Gov't needs to bid these projects and it's what the county did and someone beat them at the bidding table. Move on and cut your losses . Stop crying when you were nearly $20,000,000 more than the low bidder. The county should not need to pay for your mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Bernie is being sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

Does Matt Dietz attend any meetings? Scott Parsons had the best attendance record, and this @zzhatt has the worst. He sucks!

Anonymous said...

If the contractor did his job bidding the bridge project THERE SHOULD BE NO OVERRUNS. County needs to include this in all contacts and have engineer on site to insure work is completed as contracted. Look at Bethlehem Twp problems.

Jeff Fox said...

"Does Matt Dietz attend any meetings? Scott Parsons had the best attendance record, and this @zzhatt has the worst. He sucks!" 8:57 AM

The information as to how many meetings Mr. Dietz has attended is public record and anyone can find out. Since you asked the question, you apparently choose not to check yourself and would rather have someone check for you. So, I have done so. Since being elected, Mr. Dietz has attended every council meeting, two of which he participated via phone. The first council meeting he missed was October 20, 2016. Have you attended any council or committee meetings? Do you know Mr. Dietz? Would you be able to recognize him in public? Mr. Dietz is not an "@zzhatt" and does not have the worst attendance record. He does not suck. He is a fine, hard working family man who takes time to listen, help, and encourage any of his constituents with any matter they may have. Mr. Parsons is also a hard worker and was even mentioned as the "workhorse" of County Council. Mr. Parsons has been involved and engaged in his community for a long time. Have or are you? Anonymous, personal attacks say more about you than they do about who you attack.

Anonymous said...

It is impossible for one provider to do all this work without subcontracting it out to others therein the substandard work will appear. The battles will ensue. This is like the state giving a contract for all the snow plowing to a single provider. And giving the responsibility to an Authority with no staff? THAT IS JUST PLAIN STUPID!

Jeff Fox said...

I am curious as to why Mr. Kraft would vote to "abstain", obviously due to a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest, which would be appropriate, on the resolution to approve the P3 bridge project service agreement between Northampton County and the General Purpose Authority, at the October 6, 2016 council meeting; then vote "no" at the October 20, 2016 council meeting on the ordinance which approved the county bridge conveyance and rehabilitation program by endorsing the P3 bridge service project agreement between the county of Northampton and the Northampton County General Purpose Authority and by approving the conveyance of 33 bridges to the General Purpose Authority pursuant to the p3 agreement? The conflict or perceived conflict of interest must have been resolved for him not to "abstain" from the ordinance vote on October 20, 2016, right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jeff, thanks for looking into Dietz' attendance and dispelling the disinformation. My own impression is as you say - Dietz shows up. I do not care for the increasingly heavy reliance on phones by Council members, who often are disconnected and distract everyone by repeatedly calling in. Seth Vaughn, who is much more prone to absences than others, is a big offender. As for Kraft, he abstained in the first meeting bc of his connection to one of Jriger's companies. But he has no real conflict bc he has no direct benefit. In fact, he voted against something that could benefit him indirectly.

Anonymous said...

If abstentions get your goat. Check out Peg Ferraro she probably ahs the most abstentions of any council person in history. She abstains if she is afraid of a yes or no vote. She has done it for years.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is yet another piece of misinformation. While she may have abstained a few times in some matters years ago. I have not seen Peg abstain even once. Try honesty.

Anonymous said...

Abstaining because you are unsure of your own position is not acceptable. You ran for office and thus should vote unless you directly benefit financially. Stop hiding behind this ruse. Vote and let the chips fall where they may.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
How did they repair this bridge connection?
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Do you not understand political sarcasm sir? The picture is a fake! DUH!