From The Free Lance–Star: Overruns still raising concerns at LOW:
“I believe the audit report was clear in noting there was lots of blame to go around,” wrote LOW Association President Eldon Rucker in an e-mail last week. “The board of directors plans to deal with the recommendations and make changes in our processes where appropriate.”
The ad hoc committee’s report was released on March 1 and was reported in The Free Lance-Star the next day. Headlines on the story mistakenly attributed the $320,000 cost overruns to Caroline County Supervisor Bob Popowicz, who was the project manager through most of the construction.
Yeah, and for three months you have been maligning him.
You let someone state he had a relationship that was “too close” with the contractor and now all you can say is “Opps, my bad”?
“Mr. Popowicz was not singled out by the committee and many of us can, and do, share the responsibility for the overrun,” Director Neil Buttimer wrote in an e-mail last week. “We recognize that we experienced some budgetary problems that we are addressing, but no single individual was responsible.”
Popowicz left his job as assistant general manager at Lake of the Woods in early October 2007. Four of the six change orders were approved after he left.
There is general agreement that some of the change orders were necessitated by lapses in design and planning, such as a $96,000 additional cost for a fire-sprinkler system the contractor neglected to get flow and pressure data for, and $54,000 for additional kitchen equipment.
Although Popowicz served as project manager for the Woods Center construction, the Lake of the Woods’ operations manual states that the general manager is responsible for approving the purchase of all goods and services over $5,000.
In two letters to The Free Lance-Star, Popowicz took responsibility for signing four of the change orders, but he noted that they were ordered or approved first by the general manager. He also noted that change orders were often necessitated “by government and regulatory agencies” and were not anticipated by the contractors.
General Manager John Bailey also declined to comment.
PAYING FOR OVERRUNS
Now that the Woods Center is up and running, a major concern is how Lake of the Woods will pay for the cost overruns. Although the board of directors removed $144,000 from the original contract it signed with Century Construction with the idea that the work would be done in house or by separate contract it neglected to budget the money for that work.