County To Eye Change In Contractor Oversight
By Samantha Joseph
A proposal by Commissioner Javier Souto could change the way Miami-Dade County oversees contracts.
He is leading an effort to create a task force to monitor all major capital improvements and create regular progress reports on public projects.
"My intention is to put some control over the whole process and try to bring some more accountability," he said. "We have a lot of people just collecting checks and looking at the ceiling and gossiping. These guys are well-paid. If we pay for it, then we ought to get it."
His proposal to increase supervision for contractors working with the county is to go before the commission’s internal management and fiscal responsibility committee today (1/13).
Mr. Souto wants to create a task force in the county’s manager office to ensure that projects remain on schedule, he said. The system might have been useful, he said, to monitor roadwork on 97th Avenue that took three years.
And if two-year construction delays and a $67 million cost overrun at the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami are any indication, the public sector needs to keep closer tabs on contractors it hires, he said.
"That’s the way that things work in this county," Mr. Souto said. "We need to kick some butt here to get people back to reality. If you don’t kick, then you don’t get. We have some good people, but we need everyone to run on full cylinders."
His proposal comes on the cusp of several major spending programs, including projects in the $1.7 billion People’s Transportation Plan aimed at improving the mass-transit system.
The $2.9 billion General Obligation Bond approved in November includes far-reaching programs with plans to build bridges, improve roads and infrastructure and control and enhance the county’s water and sewer systems.
"There’s a tremendous amount of construction and projects that are going be very good for the community," said Commissioner Dennis Moss. "We just want to make sure that we have the tools in place to be able to better manage those projects and be responsible as we can and better manage the taxpayers’ money."
Mr. Moss is one of six commissioners who sit on the committee that will hear the proposal.
"There may be some tweaking that may be done," Mr. Moss said, "but I think it’s a good idea and something that we’ve been talking about for some time."