submitted by Martha Rose Woodward
Construction Manager, Sandy Loy, a long-time opponent of the way the local Public Building Authority managed the construction of Hardin Valley Academy, recently responded to the partial audit conducted on the building that had been requested by Commissioner Jeff Ownby. Loy said that when officials announced the limited scope the audit would include, he felt the “fix was in” and said that they were not looking deeply enough and not searching all data to find the errors he thinks were as “plain as day.”
In an e mail, Loy wrote to Richard Walls, he listed his main complaints.
1. First, the “reissued report” were words out of Carcello’s mouth not mine. He said he got an initial report and didn’t read it because he knew another version was coming. You yourself said, “There was a lot of give and take with PBA during the audit”. Sounds like a negotiation to me. What was removed from the initial report? I am requesting to see that initial report under the Tennessee Open Records Request act.
2. You, Richard Walls, admitted during the meeting yesterday that you did not reconcile the workers compensation rates charged against the workers comp audit which every general contractor has done every year by their insurance carrier as a matter of standard procedures. The 9% rate was initially explained as high rates for carpenters, then Merit admitted they did not hire any carpenters, but PBA still paid them on a rate based upon carpenters being hired by Merit directly. That makes no sense. Yet you say the costs were “verifiable”?
3. When no payroll records were available to verify the hourly rate of $69/hr for the project manager, you accepted a letter from the CM charging the rate as certification of that payroll cost as accurate? Yet you say the costs were “verifiable”? I have never participated in an audit in which I could answer an auditor’s concern with a self written letter! That is ridiculous.
4. You didn’t even address in the report the change orders being written for 18 months after the project was finished…if you accepted an explanation for that as acceptable practices I would like to see it as well as a request under the Open Records Act!
5. You didn’t address change orders written with no back up other than “additional services”, also written 18 months after the project was completed….if you got an explanation for that which you accepted I would like to see it as a request under the Open Records Act!
6. You found $600 in mark-up charged by the Architect which was not contractually correct but you recommended they NOT try to collect it as it was insignificant? Then you say the contracts were followed?
7. I would also like to request under the TORR Act to see the confirmation by the State Comptroller of the Law Director’s opinion. I have previously shared with you an email from the State Legislative attorney; which does NOT agree with the LD’s opinion.
8. Commissioner Broyles shared her input from County Purchasing that redirection of funds over $1,000 should have been, per County Code, revisited by the funding body. Why did your audit at least question that? If the LD’s opinion satisfied you this was legal you should have included that in the report so it could be better understood by the commission.
9. I am extremely disappointed that you so clearly were manipulated with half truths involved in explanations about the processes used on HVA. You had assured me you would review the processes and then you either didn’t or you were snowed into believing the processes were ok.
10. My question to you is this: IF THE PROCESSES WERE SO ADEQUATE HOW DID THE AMOUNTS OF EVERY CONTRACT WRITTEN WITH TBD IN THE AMOUNT LINE GO UP!!! BY 24-32%???? Does that sound like good project control methods? How can an audit exclude mentioning that fundamental fact especially when I handed you the documents and all you had to do was confirm them? They were there…they were accurate….they were valid…WHAT HAPPENED?
11. Your third party assistant either didn’t understand what I said and the documents I provided or was already predisposed to the party line of this all being a personal vendetta. Either way this “audit” is a travesty and an absolute shameless performance by your department. To not even address the state statute and the effect it has on the PBA”s practices is even more shameless and irresponsible.
Loy ended his statement with, “I am very dismayed to say the least.”