I was surprised this didn’t make the front of The State today (yeah, there was other big news, but it’s still possible, you know, to get more than four stories onto a front), given that it’s about the group appointed to be a watchdog on the penny sales tax being very unhappy with the county’s biggest decision on spending the road-construction money:
“I’m sure you’re a great firm,” Elise Bidwell told members of ICA Engineering’s team, introduced to the transportation penny advisory committee. “But I want to know how much of the money … is actually going to go to people in Richland County for doing the job.”
Committee members said they heard the second-place finisher was rated higher than ICA on their commitment to hiring small, local and minority subcontractors.
But transportation director Rob Perry would not discuss the ratings. He said they were a private part of contract negotiations.
Richland County Council set up the 17-member citizen advisory committee, short-handed as TPAC, to oversee details of the county’s massive transportation improvement program – which got under way with last week’s pick of a project manager.
But committee members said they should have been consulted. Since they were not given the rationale behind the decision, some said, the selection plays into the hands of those skeptical about government….
Richland County Council selected ICA Engineering, headquartered in Kentucky, over Columbia-based CECS Engineering Consulting Services and three other firms.
The highly competitive contract, valued at $50 million over five years, sets in motion the beginning of the county’s massive transportation improvement package…
Disclosure: This is particularly interesting to me because ADCO did some work (a brochure) for the CECS group, which had scored higher than the group that got the contract.
It’s also interesting because I advocated for the penny (and would do so again), and this committee was set up to assuage the concerns of others about how the money would be spent, and members of the panel seem to think they’re being blown off by the county.
Which is not good.
I don’t know what can, or even should, happen going forward (like the panel, I’m sort of in the dark here), but this deserves further, very public, discussion.