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Cape to audit RO plant construction

By Staff | Sep 13, 2011

City council unanimously voted to redirect $60,000 toward a construction audit of the North Reverse Osmosis Plant, a project identified by city staff as having an inordinately high number of change orders during its construction phase.

Council previously pledged $200,000 toward auditing the SE 1, SW 4 and SW 5 portions of the utility expansion project.

Results of the RO construction audit then will dictate if the council will spend the remaining $140,000 for a forensic audit to be conducted by Michael Kessler, who performed a previous audit of the city’s utility expansion project.

“We ought to take this one step at a time, it might be more palatable as far as residents are concerned,” Mayor John Sullivan said. “If we find money coming back to the city I don’t think anyone would have objection to that.”

The mayor originally brought the incentive forward to audit those portions of the UEP, but discovery of the change orders by the new utilities director and his staff prompted Sullivan to change course.

Should Kessler become involved in a forensic audit of the same project, Sullivan said he didn’t know if the remaining funds would cover the price of that audit. The City Auditor’s office previously identified Michael Kessler as wanting $140,000 for the audit.

Sullivan said conversations with Michael Kessler found Kessler asking Townsend and Associates – the firm conducting the construction audit – to take less money.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to get that other piece done for $140,000,” Sullivan said.

Utilities Director Jeff Pearson said MWH – the city general contractor for the UEP – would likely charge Townsend or the city for producing documents for the audit, but Pearson did not know what the total cost of the paperwork would be.