Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Workshop wrap-up

A couple of points about last night's council workshop:

The team from Port City Architecture made a straightforward presentation about the proposed library basement renovation. Their discussion of the various fire, building and accessibility codes that would affect this project was especially interesting. The PCA team included two licensed architects with extensive library experience and a pair of representatives from PCA partner Allied Construction (HVAC contractor AWM Engineering also contributed to the report). It was a highly skilled, experienced group of construction professionals present at Stimson Hall last night - the perfect opportunity for the Gray Town Council to get some answers to a wide range of important technical questions before undertaking something as significant and expensive as a major expansion of the Gray Public Library.

After the presentation, the four Gray Town Councilors who were present asked the PCA team a total of two questions. John Welch asked about elevators. Andy Upham asked the PCA team if they had measured the building. A couple of other questions were asked during the presentation.

That was it.

Actually, there was a bit more. With his characteristic penchant for avoiding responsibility, Upham waited until the PCA team was long gone before returning to the library issue - to assign blame. After conceding that PCA was probably correct in noting the various code requirements overlooked in his now-discredited $200,000 renovation budget, Andy implied that his oversights were all the fault of Gray CEO Paul White, who had earlier pointed out some code deficiencies in Upham's original renovation proposal but not all those contained in the PCA report.

It should be noted that White spoke extensively with PCA on code and compliance issues relating to this project prior to issuance of their report. It should also be noted that code oversights are only part of the reason Upham's budget isn't worth the paper its written on. The self-declared construction management expert also drastically underpriced virtually every line item in his homemade budget, and somehow forgot to include entire standard expense categories.

Andy Upham. A man without conscience, shame, or competence.

Elsewhere, Foster and Upham mentioned an upcoming executive session whose purpose they were unwilling to share with the public or with fellow councilor John Welch. Only under Welch's repeated questioning did Upham indicate that the session concerned town attorney Bill Dale's (and his firm's) job performance. It looks like yet another competent professional who has done years of impeccable work for this town is about to get attacked and possibly purged by this crew of bumbling, abusive incompetents. Sorry, Bill. That'll teach you to work on your day off.