Local union asks city to file a complaint over pool contractor

A local carpenter's union asked Carson City supervisors Thursday to file a formal complaint with the state contractor's board over the city's involvement with pool contractor American General Development.

Mike Britton, a representative of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters told supervisors he felt a formal complaint "would put any contractor on notice that they can't walk in and take advantage of the taxpayers of Carson City."

"We can't allow contractors to throw caution to the wind and abuse taxpayers' money," Britton said. "When (local governments) get hit with a low bid from someone like AGD, rather than disqualifying them they hire them. If they file their complaints, and the contractor's board does their job, it gives them a better reason the next job (a contractor) bids not to choose him as a responsive bidder.

"This will bring a responsive and responsible contractor. It raises the bar in which the city does business. What I've heard is the city doesn't feel it did its job overseeing the project. I personally think the city did its job. The contractor is responsible for proper supervision and work."

City Manager John Berkich said the city is in the process of filing a complaint with the contractor's board.

"Up to this point, we've been heavily involved in dealing with and counter suing AGD," Berkich said. "We have every intention of informing the contractor's board of this complaint. It's only appropriate when you have a (state contractor) member who has a history in Carson City and in the region that it needs to be reported. We'll make it formally known we've had these problems and issues, and the contractor's board can determine what impact that has on his (AGD owner John Sieben) standing."

Completion of the $3.8 million Carson City Aquatic Center was past deadline and over budget, leading to lawsuits between the city and AGD, which the city charges did faulty work on the pool. AGD charges, among other things, that the plans used to build the pool were faulty and that the city owes the contractor a $330,000 retention which the city is using to fix construction problems at the pool.

About 80 members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenter's sent supervisors post cards requesting a complaint be filed. Ten members attended the supervisors' meeting.

"Your concerns are our concerns," Mayor Ray Masayko said.

Union member Larry Larson said he is concerned that "we have a contractor building things in our city that we've had problems with in the past." He said his granddaughter visited him this summer, went swimming and came home upset that she couldn't use the pool's water slide.

"She said, 'They said you carpenters didn't build it right,'" Larson said. "No, the contractor who built it didn't build it right. What I think is the difference between a good contractor isn't union or non-union, it's someone who goes, 'Whoa,' when something is wrong and gets the appropriate people together to fix it."


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