Sub committee to review past projects

Members of the subcommittee to review past capital improvement projects are, from left, Pamela Derks, Payson Councilor Suzy Tubbs-Avakian, Bob Graziano, Mayor Tom Morrissey, Kelly Watts, Payson Councilor Jim Ferris and Sally McCormac.

Unsupervised slurry seal.

Missing receipts.

Allegations of misspending.

Worried lawyers.

Still finding its way, Payson’s Subcommittee to Review Past Capital Improvement Projects continues to burble and boil.

The subcommittee hit snags during its second meeting on Oct. 18 as the mayor and appointed members sought to figure out what the group can — and should — do.

For 90 minutes, the subcommittee, made up of three council members and four residents, discussed why it hadn’t received boxes of receipts and contracts from the $50 million C.C. Cragin project; what role the subcommittee can play awarding contracts; and whether it can investigate projects that have nothing to do with capital improvements.

The mayor made it clear what he wanted.

“I would like to remind everyone that the purpose of this subcommittee is to be able to examine as much as we can ... to determine what we can do better for the town ... so, in a sense, we are looking for failures in the sense of where the system fails,” said Mayor Tom Morrissey.

But the subcommittee’s discussion ranged over a welter of issues, tangentially related to reviewing the town’s process for awarding contracts and overseeing ongoing capital improvement projects.

The subcommittee’s advisory attorney, along with acting Town Manager Sheila DeSchaaf, tried to keep the subcommittee’s focus on the authority the council voted to give it weeks ago on a 4-3 vote.

At one point, the group discussed the raw water line the country clubs paid for to bring wastewater from the new C.C. Cragin pipeline treatment plant to the golf courses.

Lee Miller, the subcommittee’s attorney interjected, “Mr. Chairman, let me just note that we have to keep the questions and comments in the context of capital improvements.”

Morrissey asked, “But isn’t it part of the C.C. Cragin, which is a capital improvement?”

DeSchaaf answered, “It’s actually part of a water service delivery agreement.”

“I would caution that if you want to broaden that scope to include a water service delivery discussion, it would need to go back for a formal action by the council,” she said, noting the pipeline itself is a capital improvement.

The fine line prompted Miller to say, “All I am suggesting is that if we stray into a conversation about should we have sold them water, why did we sell them water, things like that, we’re here to talk about how does the town get water and at what price, and we need to keep the conversation in that context so that we can proceed. Really, what’s discussed here is frankly the town just selling the golf course water, which is not in and of itself a capital improvement or a capital project.”

And that’s how the meeting went — lots of questions about where the committee will focus its efforts.

The opinions subcommittee members ranged widely in where they should focus their efforts.

In the course of the discussion, various subcommittee members said they wanted the town to file a lawsuit; investigate why a contractor didn’t post traffic control on a slurry seal contract; asked for a library’s worth of receipts and contract change orders on the $50 million C.C. Cragin project; and a host of other requests culminating, some that went beyond the scope of the agenda.

“I would at this time direct ... Jim Ferris to work with staff to assemble all contracts that are C.C. Cragin oriented and to create a further subcommittee at table, as to who the contracts were let to, what were the RFP (request for proposal) processes and under what resolution or town employee approved and what for compensation — how much were they paid?” said Morrissey. “And I would like you to work with town staff on this and ... you look like you would like to say something Sheila.”

DeSchaaf said the directive was beyond the scope of the agenda and suggested, “We might want to put that on as a future agenda item.”

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