Hillsborough Commissioners review HDR Engineering contract

08/19/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner today gathered support for County staff to review the rewarding of a contract to HDR Engineering. HDR Engineering designed the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, and is one of 3 companies that Tampa Bay Water is going after in the wake of the problems with the facility.

Beckner called out the company because HDR was listed as one of 6 engineers listed in a consent agenda item as being deemed as qualified to perform services for the County’s Public Works Department. HDR would receive over $261,000.

But Commissioner Jim Norman immediately objected, saying that if the County government wants to punish HDR, then they should be consistent about potential negative information about a contractor.

Beckner’s motion got more push back from County Attorney Rosemary Perfit. Perfit said there is a process that the County must follow, and HDR was recommended. She said if the Board was still uneasy, they could send their application back to an evaluation committee and have them review the application. She said any other option was not desirable.

County Commissioner Mark Sharpe said he saw merit in the comments made by both commissioners Beckner and Norman.

Commissioner Rose Ferlita said previously she had issues with HDR Engineering, but changed her mind after speaking with an official with the company, former FDOT official Ken Hartman.

Commissioner Beckner said he was fine with doing as the County’s legal staff was recommending – to bring HDR’s application back before the evaluation committee. But he said under no circumstances could he see himself support giving a County contract to the HDR.

But Commissioner Jim Norman, who has served on the County Commission for over 16 years, said that Beckner’s attitude was reckless.

The board then voted unanimously 6-0 to have an evaluation committee review HDR Engineering’s application, regarding the issues with Tampa Bay Water.

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