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City Terminates O&G As Program Manager For School Construction Projects

April 4th, 2017 · 25 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

Update, includes termination letter: Following a recent legal battle win regarding the removal of a concrete crushing operation in the East End, the city has terminated O&G’s services as Construction and Program Manager for school construction projects. The letter from the city does not specify cause for removal, and city officials have not yet stated the reason for the move.

The Torrington-based construction services firm was notified in a letter dated March 29 and signed by City Attorney R. Christopher Meyer. In the short term the city’s Office of Public Facilities will assume the Program Management responsibilities.

The termination letter references a “Construction Management Services Agreement dated August 25, 1999″ during the first mayoral tenure of Joe Ganim.

“The City expects your company to transfer complete and accurate copies or original documents where available and all other things in whatever media they are maintained of all project files for the schools that have been assigned to your company since the inception of the Agreement,” writes Meyer

“… In order to effect an orderly transition of these files pursuant to the contract, we request a memorandum as to each assigned project that is continuing or near completion listing all actions or things that are needed for final closeout of the project with the State of Connecticut and any other State agencies or authorities having jurisdiction. If O&G needs to take critical steps in the remaining days of its services to the City that, if ignored or neglected would result in harm to the City, the City expects O&G to fulfill its contract obligations as program manager and attend such matters.”

Three weeks ago Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe ordered O&G Industries to “immediately cease and desist from the use and maintenance of a recycling, concrete crushing, storage and stockpiling facility at 1225 Seaview Avenue” in the East End. See court decision here. O&G’s blighted plant covers more than five acres of waterfront property.

O&G is seeking to relocate its operation to the West End, spawning opposition such as the Facebook page No To O&G.

Radcliffe also ruled that “compliance with the Order to Comply, and this court’s decision, is in no way contingent upon any relocation of the O & G operation, or the approval of one or more municipal land use bodies, concerning that relocation.”

The judge’s decision stems from O&G appealing a city zoning enforcement officer’s citation for running an illegal operation.

Ray Oneglia, vice chairman of O&G, wrote in a recent commentary that his company is being unfairly demonized declaring it has been a good corporate citizen to the city.

O&G has served as Program Manager for many school projects including the ongoing construction of a new school to replace Harding High on property formerly owned by General Electric.

School construction projects are approved by a School Building Committee comprised of several city officials.

Letter from City Attorney R. Christopher Meyer to O&G

O&G letter

O&G letter

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25 Comments so far ↓

  • Maria Pereira

    Something smells fishy. We have major projects at Harding and Central and O&G is terminated effective Friday. These are 30 to 80 million dollar projects.

    I have a feeling we are going to face major issues with the efficient and timely completion of these projects.

  • Bob Walsh

    But look at it this way. All the contractors will be handpicked by Joe!

    • Robert Teixeira

      Like Burns Construction. My boy Paul works there.

    • Lisa Parziale

      OMG Bubba, this is déjà vu! The first reign went down primarily due to construction contracts gone awry. STOP NOW!!! John Ricci beware, you’re too far along in age to go to jail because of your job and what will be expected of you.

  • John Marshall Lee

    City Hall has spoken!!!
    But what did they say? That O&G that has served as Project Manager on multiple school projects in recent years has been terminated?
    What did City Attorney Meyer provide as a reason, if he provided a reason? Has the City found them too expensive, too slow, or making too many errors? Or is there another way to appropriately manage that the City will employ? Who will take responsibility?
    What has City Council member James Holloway to say about the change? Does he communicate what happens in those meetings to his Council colleagues? When is the next School Building Committee meeting? As project managers, where do all their records and files go the moment O&G is “off the job?” Whom do you call with a question?
    In recent threads readers were able to find a large number of “new employees” including an Assistant Internal Auditor. Can anyone tell me whether the City has an Internal Auditor to whom an Assistant reports? Time will tell.

  • THE PUNISHER

    Why would the City change O&G in the middle of Harding and Central construction? My son goes to Central and it’s been under construction for like three years now. O&G has been good at giving our Parents group updates on what’s going on. Who’s going to take over now? I heard they hired a relative of the Mayor to run construction for the city. I hope it’s just another rumor but it would be a questionable move if it’s true.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Lol. And so it starts. Somebody order the custom suits, who’s driving to Amity to pick up the wine .O&G either didn’t want to play the game, or they didn’t want to pay …, ooops I mean play as much as required.

    • Lisa Parziale

      You got it, Harvey. Sit back and watch, this is an old movie. The actors are not as savvy as the originals, but the end will be the same.

  • Maria Pereira

    If the city council voted to retain the services of O&G in 1999, how does the Mayor have the sole authority to terminate them?

    Why wasn’t this discussed in the contracts committee, the school building committee, with the school board?

    We were completely blindsided while we are dealing with a major Harding and Central project costing close to $200,000,000.

    This is pure politics with no regard for students, staff, families and taxpayers.

  • Robert Teixeira

    If G1 was corrupt, as we know, and his actions landed him in jail, part of that was due to pay to play for contracts and O&G was given this contract under G1 at the height of his corrupt tenure, that was allowed to continue under his predecessors, John, and Bill after his conviction, to where they, O&G was allowed to created a second illegal operation on Seaview Ave. Wouldn’t G2′s actions, by taking away this contract, be trying to correct his past mistakes? TWT.

  • John Marshall Lee

    In Bridgeport we plunge from one way of doing things to another without a full story posted as to:
    *** the financial background and implications going forward
    *** the practical reasons for a change i.e. greater efficiency of service, faster response, etc.
    *** showing how the change assists the taxpayer and governance structure to be informed in timely fashion and assured of OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST governance.

    None of these in this case, Ganim2!!!
    STOP RAISING TAXES in the campaign leads to a huge increase in taxes for many at the same time the revaluation genuinely acted as a recognition of devaluation of property values for many. Devaluation with increased budget means higher mil rate and more taxes for almost everyone relative to their property value.
    *** New meters. See how much thought was put into them before springing them on downtown parkers? NO STANDING even for folks getting an emergency call or text???
    *** No answer to Finch raid on OPED budget to settle $900,000 Port Authority debt??? No financial reporting on Port Authority for nine years now?? Grand list indicates Port Authority assets over $8 Million but no Board meetings held for six months??? Where are new appointees for two of three citizen vacancies???

    Management style??? In light of silence on why and wherefore, can Mayor Ganim blame people for accusing him of falling into past patterns with which they became too familiar with the well publicized Federal trial??? Second-chance candidates must prove trust by getting out ahead of issues and change. Only in this fashion can you verify what you are attempting to do, even if you are having current administrative problems.

    Has Mayor Joseph Ganim shown any sign that he understands his comeback challenges to the residents (including 21,000 youth in public schools and their parents) and sorely pressed taxpayers? Time will tell.

  • Ron Mackey

    The CT Post article said, “Ganim, who received significant political support from the East End when he waged his 2015 mayoral comeback, took a far more aggressive posture toward O&G’s operation than predecessor Bill Finch.” What aggressive posture toward O&G’s operation did Mayor Ganim take?

    Thank God for Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe ordered O&G Industries to “”immediately cease and desist from the use and maintenance of a recycling, concrete crushing, storage and stockpiling facility at 1225 Seaview Avenue” in the East End.

    Mayor Ganim’s solo move for the City to Terminate O&G As Program Manager For School Construction Projects shows failure of the past Bridgeport mayors, Fabrizi and Finch and all the current and past City Council members for not knowing about what was going on with the constructions projects in Bridgeport. This decision by Mayor Ganim must be looked into and checks and balances MUST be put in placed legally and discussed immediately.

  • Tom White

    JML and Maria P provided important observations. What was the reason for the termination? Does this action comply with the contract for cancellation options? Did the school building committee recommend ending the contract?
    In the olden days, the local news outlet (CT Post) would have checked on these points and other details when they published the story.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Tom, per the CT Post article regarding contracts, the company’s initial contract, approved by Ganim and the City Council, was never subsequently rebid. It was instead extended through “task orders” initiated by a standing school construction committee for each new project. O&G estimated as of 2014 that around 47 such orders had been issued.

      • Ron Mackey

        Jennifer, you made a great point when you said, “It was instead extended through “task orders” initiated by a standing school construction committee for each new project. O&G estimated as of 2014 that around 47 such orders had been issued.”

        I said earlier, “Mayor Ganim’s solo move for the City to Terminate O&G As Program Manager For School Construction Projects shows failure of the past Bridgeport mayors, Fabrizi and Finch and all the current and past City Council members for not knowing about what was going on with the constructions projects in Bridgeport.” NO ONE was curious to pose the question why was O&G always getting those contracts. New council members as they got elected didn’t know anything about those contracts and they were not curious to ask any questions. JML over the years has educated council members on what they need to look for in the City’s budget and spending so they really have NO excuse in not knowing about O&G.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Ron,
          Along with attempts at informing members of the City Council and fellow taxpayers and voters how things are supposed to work, as best as I can discover, I have also observed that City Council member James Holloway, for reasons I have never discovered, has been re-appointed as liaison to that group regularly.

          So he is Chair of that group and sitting on the Council but to the best of my past research does not tell the Council in any formal, regular, or published manner what is going with that body that has seen to more than $700 Million of project costs in the past eight years.

          During a review of School Building Process several years ago, questions as to its rules and authorization was raised. It was at that time that I personally became subject to Mr. Holloway’s imperial response to my raising my hand to address a question on a subject with which they were then dealing (having waited for all official comments to be raised). Mr. Holloway told me that I was not going to speak as I had no right and hammered his opinion to me by asking me whether I understood what he was telling me. I answered by telling him that my research indicated that the School Building Committee was not a Council subcommittee with their rules where the Chair decides who will speak, but rather was ruled by Roberts Rules of Order. Further I had been allowed to question on at least two previous occasions when Mr. Holloway was absent from the proceedings. As Mr. Holloway’s demeanor was a bit confusing that day and aggressive also, I acknowledged his power to keep me from speaking.

          If someone challenges Mr. Holloway for Council position, I suggest they look at his record as Chair of School Building and wonder of what benefit was his being liaison? And how did the public that pays for 25% of each dollar spent become well informed by James Holloway, City employee, longest-term Councilperson and School Building Chairperson?? Can any reader answer that question positively? Time will tell.

  • THE PUNISHER

    I think it’s important that before O&G is dismissed the Mayor announce who will be taking over. Parents need to know especially Central High as we still have a few more years of the current renovation. With millions of dollars on the line that would only make sense. So with that I sure hope there is a thought-out plan. We consistently got updates on the environmental cleanups that were continuing during the job, this can’t change.

  • flubadub

    I see a lot of billable hours coming out of this.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Did someone mention Paul Pinto now is employed by Burns Construction? Or am I mistaken?

    • John Marshall Lee

      Who will be responsible? Whom do we address with complaints, or unexplained delays, delays that may cause loss of funds, or more expenses that may not be favorably covered?
      School bonding has the State paying about 75% for many of these projects but the taxpayers of Bridgeport are responsible for the balance of principal allocated and interest over a 20-year period. That is when everything proceeds correctly. Who is our expert? What experience? What will that person and staff members’ cost with benefits, etc. compared to fees from O&G? Does anyone know? Time will tell.

  • THE PUNISHER

    The Connecticut Post says the City can do the job O&G is doing for half the cost. Don’t we pay them 25 cents on the dollar for running these projects? I hope we don’t end up with bigger bills when this is all said and done. Or we are just creating more jobs we don’t need.

  • Frank Gyure

    I have to do a little research but it seems the Public Works Department under John Ricci is growing exponentially. O&G’s role will be taken over by Ricci/Public Works. If memory serves me correctly, the operation of the Asylum St. Transfer Station was completely taken over by Ricci/Public Works. The bidding process for work at the Transfer Station was a source of controversy due to all bids being thrown out along with the controversy over the bid from Ernest Newton. I believe the previous company that was involved was Enviro. I believe the contract went for four years to the tune of millions of dollars, maybe something like 30 million. All bids were thrown out and the job went “in-house” run by John Ricci. I have to go back and find those posting to be more specific and correct in the numbers. With Ricci/Public Works taking over the O&G school position, we are looking at a dramatically different Public Works Dept that has a significantly bigger budget and probably more employees. I wonder if we really know what is going on with the Public Works Dept and Mr. John Ricci.

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