By Megan Hopps
SUN PRESS Newspapers
The Dayton City Council met for the first time in the 2014 year to address the city’s contract with Stantec Engineering and make appointments to oversee actions of various city departments.
Councilors Scott Salonek and Rick Shermer pressed for further discussion regarding the language in a contract with Stantec Engineering concerning future developments.
Salonek voiced his concerns regarding inspections in the engineer’s contract with the city. In the past, the city was not pleased with how various developers tracked the progress of certain projects, so the council wanted to ensure that the same issue would not be encountered in future projects.
Shermer shared Salonek’s concerns and asked City Attorney George Hoff, “When a builder is hired and there’s a problem after the project has been completed, who’s responsibility is it? And is that responsibility reflected in the language of the contract?”
Attorney Hoff was asked, prior to the meeting, to review the language in Stantec’s contract. He assured the council that inspections were included in the language. However, it was noted that, generally, in an engineer’s contract the engineer does not guarantee the performance of the contractor and has no responsibility for the acts of any contractor.
Shermer was displeased with this language and asked, “Where’s the responsibility in that?”
Interim City Administrator Bob Derus responded saying the engineer who designed the project couldn’t be responsible for the builder’s actions. And even then, many times the builder can not be held responsible because designing a building on paper is much easier than when you begin to move dirt. That’s when a lot of the issues arise, he said.
To clarify, Mayor Tim McNeil directed another question to Hoff asking, “For inspections, where do we get the assurance that proper inspections have been done when the project is completed? As a city, we are putting in a product and we want to make sure that product works.”
McNeil added, should the city have two engineers overseeing the same project and both are under contract, the council wants to make sure they know who to go if something is completed in a way that violates contract.
Attorney Hoff responded, “The contractor. Now if there was a problem with inspections, the party responsible for that oversight is the party with that language in their contract.”
To conclude this conversation, a representative from Stantec said, “I am in charge of overseeing what our folks do on this project. It is very important to me that we serve you well. I am going to do everything I can do to make sure that this project goes as well as possible. There’s a lot of things out there that are beyond anyone in this room’s control, but we are going to work very hard to do our best.”
In other news, the city is required to appoint council members and staff to oversee the actions of various city departments and state committees.
It was recommended that the following city staff be appointed to the suggested positions for the 2014 year: Eric Lucero for Acting Mayor, Rick Shermer for Planning Commission, Anne Zeibel for Parks Commission, Eric Lucero for Public Safety, Doug Banes for Elm Creek Water Shed and Mayor McNeil as the alternate, Mayor McNeil for League of Minnesota Cities, Tim McNeil for Northwest League of Municipalities and Eric Lucero as an alternate, Mayor McNeil to the I-94 Corridor board with Eric Lucero as an alternate, Mayor McNeil to I-94 Chamber with Anne Zeibel as an alternate.
Contact Megan Hopps at email@example.com