Marietta officials clash over project bids

During Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of Marietta City Council’s lands, buildings and parks committee, tempers flared about a procedural issue.

At issue were bids to make repairs to City Hall’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation system before interior renovations can begin, potentially later this year.

Already causing headaches for the city were the leaks from a new roof. At least three rainstorms this past summer have caused leaks and a mold issue in the police and fire departments and parts of city hall. The latest one Aug. 13 flooded the fire department kitchen, making it unusable.

Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, asked Jarrod Schultheisz, project manager and engineering technician for the city, who solicited the three bids (one for each part of the project) why he did not get three bids for each part as is common practice.

“Why do we not have more than one quote?” Vukovic asked. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask this question.”

Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp came to the Engineering Department’s defense.

“I’m not calling Hawaiian Tropic to take care of Morrison’s unit … and they break something,” he said.

“Then they would pay for it,” Vukovic said.

The city is happy with the bids and they came in as expected, Hupp added.

“It’s all a very custom job,” City Engineer Joe Tucker said. “Is it possible to get three quotes? Yes. … All these prices look very much in line to me. That’s all I can tell you.”

Tucker said Morrison Inc. submitted a bid for $5,933 for fabricating a metal drip pan, lifting the condenser unit and inserting the pan. Carver’s Electric Plumbing and Heating submitted its proposal to insert a roof drain to be tied into the existing plumbing for $4,314. Moran Construction Co.’s bid came in at $3,970 for installing a membrane under everything except the condenser to seal up all surfaces.

Schultheisz said he has spent the past month getting quotes because contractors are booked up and refuse to even come out to inspect the job to submit a bid.

“In a perfect world, I’d love to have a couple of months,” he said. “… With the volume of work we have flowing through the department, sometimes you just have to declare an emergency.”

Hupp asked the council members present if they received several quotes for their iPads, which come with the council positions.

“I’ve had a lot of calls about the roofing job,” said Chairman Harley Noland, D-At-large. “I’m just trying to avoid that. Can we have a list of names of people you called?”

“Yes,” Schultheisz said and abruptly walked out.

Tucker said it is crucial for the project to be completed because the mechanical room housing the HVAC system is above the future home of the server room, once City Hall’s interior renovations are complete.

If some kind of accident happens, such as a water leak or rain blowing in, all water, moisture and condensation must be collected and drained away. Water would severely damage the expensive computer equipment in the server room.

“We don’t want to leave anything to chance, but it’s a mechanical room, so louvers are present,” Tucker said. “Rain can get inside, but it has to be a hard rain.”