Port to pay SEED consultant $30,000; Kincer praises Port’s efforts at transparency

The Port of Bremerton will pay a Seattle company “not more than” $30,000 to identify ways to save money during the construction of an incubator building for its Sustainable Energy and Economic Development(SEED) project.

Interim port Chief Executive Officer Tim Thomson told the port’s Board of Commissioners Tuesday night that he and Dana Warren had agreed upon a contract that would pay The Warren Company up to $30,000 for 60 days of work.

At previous meetings, Thomson said the consultant’s role will be to “assist the staff in its efforts to find cost effective re-design changes to the project that would bring the cost of the (incubator) building (down) ... without losing building functionality and preserve the highest LEED certification.”

Thomson said staff had identified The Warren Company as the ideal candidate, explaining that the Seattle-based company was involved in constructing Bainbridge Island’s IslandWood, which Thomson said was the state’s first building to be certified LEED gold.

When the choice was announced last month, Bremerton resident Louis Soriano said he was concerned that the port board was not asking how much the consultants were to be paid, how long they were to work or what they were expected to achieve.

“You are spending tax dollars on speculation,” Soriano said.

On the board’s request, Thomson explained that the board was merely approving the staff’s selection of the most qualified candidate, and that he would be negotiating those details.

When asked Wednesday if the contract stipulated a specific dollar amount the company was expected to reduce the cost of the project by, Thomson said it did not.

“It is not defined that way,” he said, explaining that the companies interviewed were aware that the port hopes to shave $1.5 million overall from the cost of the small business incubator building project, which includes site work surrounding the building.

When asked what tasks the company was expected to perform, Thomson said the contractor would be “re-evaluating the construction budget” and determining if less expensive materials could be used, certain steps or design aspects could be eliminated or the schedule could be tightened.

When asked if any of these tasks had specific dollar amounts of expected savings attached to them, Thomson said they did not.

• Also at the March 24 meeting, Soriano expressed concern about Thomson mentioning board action being taken during a study session.

“I am concerned about stating that you took action in a study session, when the public has no opportunity to comment ” he said, adding that he hoped the port’s goal would be to move away from that, “if the goal is to be as transparent as possible.”

Board President Cheryl Kincer responded by saying she wanted to address Soriano’s comments at the end of the meeting.

“In regards to transparency at the port, in the last year and a half since Stokes was elected handsomely, I feel the port has done the best job we could have done to bring the utmost transparency to the port’s processes,” Kincer said. “The port has been under a microscope the past few months, and I am very proud of the work we have done.”

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