At 8 a.m. today
the Chesterton Utility Service Board voted unanimously to declare the
Downtown utility project an “emergency.”
terminate general contractor Rieth-Riley’s contract.
And then to
award a new asphalting contract to Rock Solid Paving & Excavating of St.
of those votes Rock Solid was laying asphalt into the open wound of South
Brandt opened the special meeting of the Service Board with this question:
has there been any resolution to the strike called on June 9 by Operating
Engineers Local 150?
Mark O’Dell said that, to his knowledge, there has not been.
“They had a
meeting on Friday,” Member John Schnadenberg said. “I was told they made a
little progress. But the strike isn’t over.”
That strike “has
put the town in a very bad, awkward position,” Brandt noted, bad enough and
awkward enough to warrant the declaration of an emergency on three grounds:
the work site is a safety hazard, frequent rains are doing “continued
damage” by leeching stormwater through the open ground into foundations and
basements, and businesses in the Downtown have been suffering a severe loss
“have been extremely patient,” Brandt added. “But they’ve been planning for
completion in early June. This is unacceptable as far as we’re concerned.”
accordingly voted 4-0 to declare the Downtown utility project an emergency.
Member Scot McCord was not in attendance.
that vote immediately with a second: to terminate, “for convenience,” the
balance of Rieth-Riley’s contract. The town may “at its sole
discretion”—according to that contract’s language—“terminate the agreement
in whole or in part by giving written notice to the contractor,” Associate
Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson told the Chesterton Tribune after the
done an excellent job,” Schnadenberg said. “And its subcontractors. But this
is something that needs to be done.”
voted to award a new contract—in the amount of $148,628.45—to Rock Solid.
Brandt, O’Dell said that the town—per Indiana Code—submitted two invitations
to bid: one to Rock Solid, the other to Gallagher Asphalt of Illinois.
Gallagher declined to bid, while Rock Solid submitted a unit bid for the
amount of product.
with Rock Solid includes prevailing wage protections, as it must per Indiana
Code and the bond specs, Parkinson observed,
Is Rock Solid a
The owner said
“that they pay prevailing wages,” O’Dell told the Tribune after the
asphalt coming from, given the fact that Local 150 is picketing the asphalt
plants in Northwest Indiana?
Utility Superintendent Rob Lovell told the Tribune.
took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank Harris Welsh & Lukmann and
O’Dell “for working with us to get this accomplished.”
“We waited as
long as we could,” Schnadenberg said bluntly.
“We were all
patient with the situation and the owners of the businesses Downtown were
very patient,” Member Jim Raffin added. “We don’t have a choice.”
completion date for the Downtown utility project was June 4 but a high
number of rain days in May put the job behind schedule. When the strike
began on June 9, the only real work left was asphalting, which O’Dell has
estimated should take only a few days.