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Questions Still Hang on MSD Bidding Practices
by Tom Finan, Executive Director, Construction Forum STL
The MSD meeting at the Moolah Ballroom in Maryland Heights Tuesday (April 17) had many of the earmarks of a NASCAR race… except for the crash.
Abdul-Ghani Mekkauoui, project manager
for Detroit area-based Jay Dee Contractors,
listens while MSD Executive Director
Brian Hoelscher attempts to
answer one of his questions.
The room was packed with people — primes and subcontractors waiting to hear about the fiscal year 2018 capital improvement and replacement program. There were logos everywhere of organizations who wanted to collaborate with M/WBE contractors. There were monotonous laps and laps of project details and inclusion rules. But the big crash that a many in the room were anticipating never happened.
After the project lineup and inclusion participation presentations, MSD Executive Director Brian Hoelscher spoke. Hoelscher praised the contractors in the room for their low bids and outlined a stormwater funding measure that MSD may put in front of City and County voters in 2019 if they obtain rate commission approval. At that point Hoelscher opened it up for questions. There was only one taker, but that was the one that could have been anticipated.
Abdul-Ghani Mekkauoui, a project manager for Jay Dee Contractors, Inc. of Livonia, MI asked Hoelscher questions about the Deer Creek tunnel project. Last week the MSD board in a tie vote opted not to to award the project to the low bidder, a joint venture between Jay Dee Contractors and Frontier-Kemper Constructors of California.
There were no further questions from the audience.
Afterwards Mekkaoui told ConstructForSTL.org that JD/FK is “evaluating our options,” which he said included possible legal action against MSD. “How can contractors have confidence (in MSD’s process)?,” he asked.
A conversation with the president of a major infrastructure contractor confirmed Mekkaoui’s question. Agreeing to comment provided that his remarks not be attributed, the executive observed. “Something smells here. I don’t have a dog in this, but it seems like (MSD) has a preference for local contractors.”