Hummel! Overpriced School Repairs – Mayor Board-Up Strikes Again
This week’s Hummel Report [h/t WPRO’s John Depetro] returns to the scene of a prior potential crime to discover that Mayor Charles Moreau has had a heavy hand in choosing the vendors for repairs to Central Falls schools
[Superintendent Fran] Gallo quickly found out, though, Mayor Moreau held the checkbook, and was calling all of the shots, with virtually no input from a Facilities Committee made up of representatives from both the city and the school department
with a very predictable result for the work awarded on the Captain Hunt Elementary School.
Despite that, the company kept working well into the fall and the price of the original bid more than doubled. The original bid was $587,000. With more than $620,000 in change orders, the total came to $1.2 million. The building had the entire brick exterior on one side replaced, extensive roof work and a brand new ceiling and lights in the cafeteria.
The company was Iron Construction and – surprise! -it turns out that the “president played a major role in the mayor’s re-election campaign”. (No indication so far that the mayor received a discounted furnace or other discounted items for his personal abode in connection with this matter.)
– In a state where the unemployment rate among building contractors is far higher than the state average of 12%+, how did the city receive only one bid for this work? Or did the mayor deliberately wait until the last minute to make these repairs so that he could once again invoke his “emergency” powers?
– Is it even legal for a vendor to change the specs of an awarded contract to the extent that he gets paid double the original tender?
– Did the Mayor sign off on those changes?
Presumably, this becomes yet another matter for the RI State Police to look into as the RI Attorney General has made it clear that, when it comes to this particular
friend public official, “recusal” means “I ain’t looking at it no matter how bad the accusation or how persuasive the evidence”.