With every infrastructure construction project (roads, sewers, etc.), there is an engineering design contract and an engineering inspection contract. Beachwood has always given both contracts to the same firm without allowing other firms to be considered or compete for them. Without other proposals to compare against, this firm basically tells the city what they believe they should be compensated for this work.
Since this issue first came up last February, I have been advocating for these contracts to be awarded in a competitive request-for-proposal process if they are above $25,000. Many cities do things in different ways, but what I am suggesting isn’t unique. Shaker Heights operates this way and each time they post an RFP, multiple firms submit proposals to compete for the work. The proposal ranked highest regarding qualifications and expertise is awarded the contract as long as their fee proposal is competitive.
I understand that issuing and reviewing RFPs can be a drag, but awarding contracts in a competitive process is what good government demands. For Beachwood to contract with a firm as their city engineer, then award that same firm both engineering contracts on construction projects they recommended, without allowing other firms to be considered or compete for this work, runs contrary to best practices in public finance. And, quite frankly, common sense.
I am surprised that this well-established, common-sense business practice has become controversial, and is something I have to fight for and others are against.
Mike Burkons, Councilman
City of Beachwood
- Mike Burkons