This week, a change order request brought before the Shawnee City Commission had the board very concerned.

This week, a change order request brought before the Shawnee City Commission had the board very concerned.

Fire Chief Dru Tischer requested approval for a change order regarding the Fire Station No. 2 Rehab Project, which brought to light some fees and charges the board believed to be excessive.

The initial reason behind the change order was unforeseen and added cost to repair deficiencies discovered once the metal frame structure was laid bare— issues that were not visible until the building was recently dismantled.

City Commissioner James Harrod — who has many years of experience around construction — said though he was fine with subcontractor John Higginbotham's estimates for the new repairs, other charges tacked onto the change order by Jim Cooley Construction appeared to Harrod to be unnecessary.

He said he would feel much better about the issue if the city manager and fire chief could negotiate some of the costs out.

“I don't want to be petty, but I don't want to be ripped off,” he said. “And that's what this amounts to.”

For example, on the itemized change order, the company is charging the city $375 for use of a dumpster for a month.

Harrod said a dumpster hasn't been on the premises for months — ever since the initial demolition was done.

“They want to charge us for a month's rent on a dumpster and there won't be a wheelbarrow full of stuff that will need to go in a dumpster from this part of the project,” he said.

The problem Harrod said he has is being charged for a whole month over what may take only a week of work.

“He's billing us for a month of field office, fence and everything else and I have a lot of problem with that stuff,” Harrod said.

He said he talked to two general contractors who concurred that some of the fees were not usual.

“Both 10 percent overhead and a 10 percent fee and that they charge you for office people; and they did the same thing on this one out at the expo, that's what really concerns me,” he said.

Another issue is that any delay adds costs.

City Manager Justin Erickson said the challenge is that every day it's delayed the more costs are incurred.

Harrod said he had been to the site twice last week and nothing had been done.

“If they are considering this a delay, it shouldn't be a delay,” Harrod said. “They've got other work they could be doing — like plumbing, outside electric and site work.”

He said, “there hasn't been any work hardly out there in about two weeks, so if they are going to bill us back for that, we're really going to have some difficulties because there's a lot of things that could be underway — this isn't holding that stuff up.”

City Commissioners Darren Rutherford and Lesa Shaw mirrored Harrod's concern.

Rutherford voiced his unease that no one from the company was present to offer an explanation of charges or to provide answers to commissioners' questions.

Commissioners made it clear they wanted their discontent on the record regarding the charges.

The board tasked Erickson and Tischer with trying to renegotiate costs regarding the items Harrod said were “out of line.”