Miami-Dade County

Firms vying for Miami-Dade sewer contract engage in new tussle

A company that placed second in a ranking of two firms vying to manage a lucrative Miami-Dade sewer-repairs contract has accused its first-place rival of stretching the truth in its bid.

CH2M Hill claimed in a letter to the county last week that AECOM Technical Services misrepresented the work experience of the point person who would oversee Miami-Dade’s $1.6 billion project to fix crumbling pipes.

AECOM responded with a letter of its own characterizing CH2M as a sore loser distorting the facts in an effort to mislead the county.

A selection committee ranked AECOM first last month. It was the second time the two firms were scored; earlier rankings by different committee members put CH2M on top. The earlier result was thrown out due to irregularities.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration has yet to present a contract for the project- and construction-management job to commissioners. His staff has said county attorneys are reviewing a potential agreement.

In its bid, AECOM said David Haywood has previous project-management experience from similar contracts in Akron, Atlanta, Cleveland and Indianapolis. CH2M said it asked at least two of those cities, Atlanta and Indianapolis, to verify Haywood’s role.

Atlanta responded with a memo listing its managers since 2001. None was Haywood.

Indianapolis’ former public-works director sent CH2M an email saying Haywood was project manager during the early, design portion of the project. A different manager was brought in to see the development of the project through.

Al Dotson, a lawyer and lobbyist for CH2M, said the county should disqualify AECOM. He also indicated that awarding the contract to AECOM could result in a lawsuit from CH2M.

“We respectfully submit that if this process continues based on false allegations, and false representations to you and your committees, then the ultimate award will become further delayed in protests to correct the injustice that continues,” he wrote.

AECOM’s own legal and lobbying team, Miguel De Grandy and Alfredo Gonzalez, countered by saying Haywood worked in Atlanta until 2000, so he would not be on CH2M’s list. It attached technical memos written by Haywood as part of the Atlanta project.

As for Indianapolis, AECOM said it is “blatantly false” to suggest Haywood and his firm were “terminated.” His firm’s contract ended, AECOM said, attaching minutes from the 2005 Indianapolis meeting where the decision was made.

“Respectfully, it seems like CH2M is intent on setting the bar at a new low in regard to obtaining a contract award in Miami-Dade County through violations of clearly established procurement rules and misleading representations,” De Grandy and Gonzalez wrote.

They suggested if anyone was to be investigated, it should be CH2M.

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