By Harry Gatjens
The Edmonds City Council discussed but did not make a decision Tuesday night on a proposed policy governing the processing of change orders on city contracts. The discussion followed an investigation requested by the City Council into whether former Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson violated city policy when he approved $725,000 in change orders for construction at Haines Wharf Park.
A draft proposal was presented by Public Works Director Phil Williams following a recommendation by the State Auditor’s Office and the City Attorney that the City develop a procedure for change orders in contracts.
Councilmembers agreed with Mayor Mike Cooper that the policy needed some additional fine-tuning by staff and City Attorney Jeff Taraday before approving it. In particular, Councilmember Michael Plunkett expressed concern that while the proposed change order process would work well with current staff members, that may not be the case with new staff.
The council did approve change orders for two current projects:
The first was for the rehabilitation of sewer lift stations 7 and 8, to increase the sewage capacity and replace the outdated electrical systems at each station, plus replacement of approximately 1,500 feet of 8-inch diameter sewer pipeline in Dayton Street. The final construction cost for the now-completed project is $2,520,467, and five change orders totaling $210,055 have been processed. The remaining change order recently agreed to in June — for $70,215.25 — when added to the previously paid change orders, will exceed the 10 percent contingency of $224,020 approved when the contract was awarded.
“The final construction costs were impacted by several unforeseen conditions and a significant portion of the change order cost is related to contaminated soil found in Dayton Street, Lift Station 7 and Lift Station 8 located near the BNSF railroad tracks north of the new Sound Transit Station,” the staff report said.
The second change order was related to the Interurban Trail construction project, originally approved for $1,368,721. Phil Williams noted that the project had already exceeded the original 10 percent contingency reserve due to unexpected additional work, and he requested an additional 10 percent contingency for future needs, which the council approved.
In addition, the council:
— Confirmed the Mayor’s appointment of Shawn Hunstock, current finance director for the City of Tukwila, as the City’s Finance Director. Hunstock will start his new job Oct. 10.
— Approved two ordinances regarding the use of apprentices on City construction contracts and creating criteria to be used in determining whether or not a bidder on a City construction contract is a “responsible bidder” under state law.
-Discussed the idea of requiring a one-time fee on developers that could be used to pay for new, expanded or improved parks. The council decided to get additional input on these fees and their viability, and requested a staff presentation addressing both historical development activity and anticipated future development, along with how such fees would be used.
— Approved a resolution recognizing the late Ed Aliverti for his more than 50 years of service to Edmonds athletics and music. Aliverti, a former Edmonds School District music teacher, was known as one of the greatest wrestling announcers of all time.