The readers’ forum

County must move forward on sewer overhaul

 

Miami-Dade needs to finalize a procurement process to select the company that will overhaul its aging sewer system. The system’s state of disrepair threatens our environment and quality of life; the need for timely action is real. Beyond fixing our sewers, the repairs will create tens of thousands of jobs and spur welcome economic impact.

The project is so important that the county has conducted one of its most thorough selection processes ever. Despite this transparency, discussion remains among county officials on how to finalize this critical selection.

Here are the facts:

•  Two teams are competing to win the contract: CH2M HILL and AECOM.

•  The county’s process is composed of two “Tiers” — Tier 1 requires companies to submit qualifications and Tier 2 requests a “plan approach” outlining how they will implement the project.

Both teams submitted credentials during Tier 1, but AECOM included an unsolicited plan approach. The county’s independent selection committee reviewed the qualifications and determined that both teams should proceed to Tier 2.

As requested, CH2M HILL submitted plans for implementing the project during Tier 2. With both plans submitted and the playing field level, the committee concluded that CH2M HILL’s plan was preferable, largely due to the firm’s experience managing nearly 50 similar consent-decree programs nationally.

The second-ranked AECOM team soon began discrediting the county’s selection process as flawed.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez requested expert opinions on these allegations. The Miami-Dade Ethics Commission, county attorney and inspector general investigated the claims and found no wrongdoing.

Now that the county’s top arbiters of compliance have vindicated this process, it’s time for the county to uphold the selection committee’s recommendation by moving forward with CH2M HILL, the most qualified firm.

Anything less than this would stall the inevitable, exposing taxpayers to costly penalties and delaying the arrival of up to 20,000 jobs.

Marcelo Llorente,

consultant, CH2M HILL,

Miami Beach

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