As mobility project gets underway a look at what is included

275-BRIDGE-CONGESTIONThe contract for the Mobility Project with Littlejohn Engineering, signed for the City by John Regan, a licensed engineer, and assigned to Martha Graham, also an engineer, engages the Nashville based company, through their Orlando branch office, for a commitment to do work over a 1-to-4-month timeframe that is referred to as “Phase 1”.

Of course Historic City News knows that where there is a “Phase 1” there is always a “Phase 2”, or more. For those who are complaining about the $108,219.18 price tag for a somewhat unclear expected outcome, rest assured that the final cost will be more; and, if the final cost of Commissioner Horvath’s visioning project is any example, probably much more.

Generally the scope of “Phase 1” is to identify issues and build a framework for the next phase of work. Many St Augustine taxpayers are concerned because it appears that this could end up being just another survey and study by an out-of-town consultant to add to the pile of other surveys and studies by out-of-town consultants already paid for by the City — but never implemented.

A manager that outsources too many core competencies, does not sufficiently invest in the future of their project. In reviewing the Littlejohn agreement, we find that the engineering firm is already bringing in three sub-contractors to perform certain services.

Costs are included for these contractors in Phase 1: Littlejohn Engineering (Nashville), DESMAN – Design Management (Ft Lauderdale), Protean Design Group (Orlando), and Laura Turner Planning Services (Winter Park). One of the most essential services, communications, is not addressed at all. Have we not already felt the lack of proper public communication before the first of three announced meetings is held?

Now it appears that communications may have intentionally been left out of the contract as a cost-cutting measure. Our concern is that, by relying on so many outside consultant contractors, there will be a constant overload — so much so, that a single engineer cannot be removed from the equation without the entire operation falling apart.

Historic City News also knows that engineers are great at engineering, but have shortcomings with other essential elements of project and people management. If Public Works director Martha Graham is to be our engineer, then John Regan has to be our project manager and not just another engineer. It has been said often that a project managed by engineers is doomed from the start.

To help readers at least understand what the City has agreed to regarding the expectation of the parties at issue, we are publishing the “Scope of Work” section of the 30+ page agreement.

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