Friday, May 06, 2011

P-G: Directors want answers for costly bids for high school

For the second time in two weeks, the architect and the construction manager for the Mt. Lebanon High School renovation took questions from the school board about why bids for the project came in 16.5 percent higher than expected.

Board members showed frustration as neither Tom Celli of Celli-Flynn Brennan architecture firm nor John Taormina of construction management firm P.J. Dick could give a detailed explanation for why their estimates had been wrong, or provide a detailed solution for how to bring the numbers in line.

"This board needs more," director Larry Lebowitz said.

Read the full article:

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Blogger Bill Matthews said...

According to Ed Kubit in his "glossy" mailing to the Community last year:

"Who is making the decisions about the High School project?

The School Board makes ALL decisions about this project with input from the Superintendent, administration, teachers, architects, construction manager, consultants, Master Design Team and community. The Board has discussed and held public votes on key milestones throughout the process which has moved this project forward since it began in 2006." (emphasis added)

Something needs to change -- it is not working.

Vote James Cannon for School Board in the primary on May 17.


May 06, 2011 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With any luck, none of the other 5 will get any votes, forcing the board to make 4 appointments!
David Huston

May 06, 2011 10:39 AM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

Show me the calculation!

Will Mr. Cannon be doing his own construction cost estimate? I hope not. I don't think a career in PR or the military necessarily qualifies one to do so. Any board that is not made up of experienced engineers, architects, and/or builders must rely on its professionals. In fact, to do otherwise would be wasting their time and micromanaging.

The platoon leader doesn't pull the trigger for every grunt. If he did there might be an improvement in ballistic accuracy but the operation would surely fail in other ways. As a military man, Mr. Cannon must appreciate the wisdom in having a chain of command.

Regardless of any changes to the Board's composition, what needs to be changed is the calculation, and if the professionals cannot do that, or even explain why it was wrong, then we need to change the professionals.

I agree that responsibility for failure must land somewhere, but in my opinion it is with the consultants. When they are so wrong, I would give them a very short time to become right, or else become scarce.

May 06, 2011 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Brown,

I think you are missing the point. What Mr. Cannon brings to the table is something this board has been clearly lacking – leadership! In the military chain of command, the buck stops somewhere along the chain of command and the commanding officers don’t blame others for their mission failures; they take full responsibility for them. Contrast that to a board that blames everyone else for their failures. When knowledgeable residents repeatedly warned them that the advice they were receiving was bad advice, they stonewalled, and now they are blaming the advisors. Give me a break.

James Cannon’s involvement with the Mt. Lebanon Veteran’s Memorial project’s fundraising and design has resulted in an outstanding commemorative monument and at least in this case, there WILL be a groundbreaking.

James and many other men and women in uniform deserve our utmost respect for their sacrifice and we could only be so fortunate to have more of them step up to the plate. These are only a few of the reasons why I support James Cannon!

-Charlotte Stephenson

May 06, 2011 3:36 PM  
Blogger Bill Matthews said...

The problem has been the process, the players and the fact that the Board and staff are operating out of their league.

In that same slick "glossy" flyer Ed Kubit reported to the Community:

"The new High School design takes into account enrollment projections over the next 20 years."

This was a lie.

The District did not consider anything near 20 years of enrollment, but that did not stop Ed and the staff from publishing this statement.

While the statement was a lie, it is not true that Ed lied. I think Ed just had no comprehension of the facts.

As for Mr. Cannon,

I will take someone that knows the importance of facts in Community communications, every day.

I will take someone trained to recognize when they are in over their head and when to call for reinforcements, every day.

I will take Marine integrity and an Army Reservist, every day.

May 06, 2011 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David - You can learn more about Mr. Cannon's background and perspective here:

-Charlotte Stephenson

May 06, 2011 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For heaven's sake, let's all bring the rhetoric down about 10 notches.

Dave Franklin

May 06, 2011 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello David Franklin,

I am wondering what you are trying to say. As one purpose for rhetoric is described as follows: “Rhetoric removes disagreement from the arena of violence and turns it into debate--a healthy and necessary step in any democracy.” perhaps rhetoric is not necessarily a bad thing.

Why is this discussion problematic in your mind? Where does calling out the faulty facts on the costly ($4,000.00) glossy and widely distributed yet inaccurate and, quite honestly, deceptive FAQ response to a community-wide petition drive become rhetoric? I think we are entitled to our opinions on the blog and it is a good outlet to share what is on our hearts and minds. David Brown’s post is not in keeping with my opinion because I believe that the problem at hand is rooted in different issues than he is suggesting. I desire a fresh perspective on the board given the troubled times they are in. Why have more of the same when what we have had has not been effective? Is my suggestion rhetoric in your mind?

There is no doubt that those of us who care enough to follow what is happening with all of this and have associations with individuals who are dealing with the situation struggle with some of the ire that comes along with the territory. I know that I have. I do think, though, that we should be able to stand for what we believe and speak up when we feel changes are in order. Call it rhetoric if you want to, but I call it freedom.

-Charlotte Stephenson

May 06, 2011 10:49 PM  

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