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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Press Release: Wage violations at MaxPac?



Governor Deval Patrick &
Mayor Joe Curtatone
at Maxwell's Green
  Local jobs and union advocates raise questions regarding payment of state prevailing wages and lack of required documentation for site work at MaxPac.

For more info contact: Rand Wilson at (617) 803-0799 or Thomas McIntyre at (617) 650-4246

MaxPac's developers -- KSS Realty Partners and Gate Residential -- are relying on funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the construction of an essential ramp from the rental housing site out to the Lowell Street Bridge.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation awarded the City of Somerville the $490,000
Transit-Oriented Development in order to build the ramp and construct a large retaining wall. The City of Somerville chose Argus Construction of Woburn, MA to perform the work as it was the low bidder.

Contractors on state-funded projects are required by law to pay a "prevailing wage" to employees. Prevailing wages are published by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Labor and a prevailing wage sheet was provided to the contractor after the contract was awarded.

The contractor is also mandated to provide proof of the payment of prevailing wages to employees by providing the City of Somerville (the awarding authority for this project) what are known as "certified payroll records." To date, the City of Somerville claims it has not received any such documents.

Below is a timeline showing the process for the award of the contract and our efforts to determine the contractor's compliance with state law.

MaxPac Access Improvements (IFB #11-38)

Timeline
August 19, 2010
• Massachusetts Department of Transportation awards $490,000 for Transit-Oriented Development Funding for the MaxPac Community Path Connection Project. (Document)

August 30, 2010
• Governor Patrick's office issues a press release regarding the state award to the City of Somerville for the $490,000 Transit-Oriented Development. In the release, Mayor Curtatone is quoted: "What we have here are two fantastic projects coming together thanks to the leadership and vision of the Patrick-Murray Administration. The Community Path is an immensely popular bicycle and pedestrian corridor through our city that links to the millennium Path west of Somerville. This grant money will bring it right to the doorstep of

the planned Green Line extension through Somerville…"

Many people who have followed the MaxPac project look to this statement as evidence that the DOT grant award was intended to improve the proposed community path that runs along the MaxPac site. However, it appears that the money was redirected to benefit the developers for construction of the ramp onto the property and a retaining wall between the MaxPac property and the existing railroad tracks.

December 22, 2010
• Request for bids on "MaxPac Access Improvements" is published in the Somerville News. A pre-bid conference and site visit is scheduled for January 5, 2011. Included in the notice is the following language, "State Prevailing wages are required for this project. The applicable wage rates will be included with the bid documents."

January 11, 2011
• Sealed bids must be received by Purchasing Department by 11:00 a.m.
• Argus Construction is low bidder for the "MaxPac Access Improvements" IFB #11-38

March 25, 2011
• Bricklayers union sends a NOTICE OF INTENT TO MONITOR to the City of Somerville, (the contracting agency) and Argus Construction. The letter spells out that the Bricklayers union will be monitoring the wage rates paid on the project.

March 31, 2011
• The Bricklayers sends out the first request pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law(M. G. L. Chapter 66, Section 10) for copies of the certified payroll records of the "MaxPac Access Improvements." Certified payroll records are required by the State of Massachusetts from awarding authorities (the City of Somerville) that receive them from the contractor(s) performing the work.

April 28, 2011
Second request pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law for copies of the certified payroll records of the "MaxPac Access Improvements."

The City of Somerville's Purchasing Department claims that the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning and Development did not have certified payroll records as of that date. They promise to forward certified payroll records as soon as they are submitted to that office.

July 12, 2011
• No payroll records received as of this date.

3 comments:

John Cole said...

I refuse to believe that there could possibly be any improprieties involving this wonderful project! I'm sure that it's all just a simple misunderstanding. Argus probably thought the state meant "prevailing wave" which would account for the salutations from the workers as people pass by. Something like that.

Anonymous said...

bull shit hand over the records

Anonymous said...

this administration does not hold contractors accountable so why start now.
The trash contractor got caught by the AG for wage violations and the city called it a bookeeping error. (the safety violations at said contractor is another story).
The street sweeping contractor could not get the streets clean by noon so the city changed all the signs to say 2pm.
Who knows what is going on with the school custodian contractor or at the East Somerville Commmunity School project.

So what if Argus has not followed through with its responsibility to pass in wage sheets. It is state money not local tax revenue.