It’s now a cliche that government should be run like a business. If we continuously rely on the state bidding requirements and even set asides for minority contractors, we too often don’t get the job completed quickly. When government is involved, you hear, “things take too long.”
Doing something quick and without proper reviews has consequences. The State Contracting Standards Board (SCSB), recently issued a draft report on the “mostly state funded” $14 million project to improve the Dillon Stadium soccer stadium. The Courant’s Government Watch columnist Jon Lender reported on Nov. 15 how the renovation was handled. Questions were raised on how the winning bidder, Hartford Sports Group, was selected and why an architectural firm was chosen without a competitive process.
According to Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Executive Director Michael Freimuth “we made an error by going too fast, beginning demolition before all the approved contracts were actually signed. Had we not, we would have failed to deliver the stadium in accordance with those very contracts. Catch 22.”
Let’s not lose sight that when government money is involved public authorities like CRDA need to be more diligent. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do a project and the right way is to have procedures in place so nothing can be called into question after the work is done.
Stuart Mahler lives in West Hartford.