Hammond School Board Releases Contracts Passed “Without Forethought or Deliberation”

Architect to be paid $4M or more based on cost of construction and construction manager to be paid nearly $2M under contracts approved without discussion via consent agenda at March 20, 2018 School City of Hammond Board Meeting.  Additional contracts for Gavit construction and bond issuer were also approved without discussion or disclosure.

Skilman to be paid $1,998,000 in referendum funds to act as construction manager at new Hammond High School
Skilman to be paid $1,998,000 in referendum funds to act as construction manager at new Hammond High School

July 27, 2018-The Gazette has received two of the contracts approved by the School City of Hammond Board of School Trustees via a consent agenda on March 20, 2018. A consent agenda involves the practice of listing items with no additional information and then passing them, en masse. For example, the March 20, 2018 consent agenda included items A through Q. Included among the consent agenda items were contracts for construction manager, architect and bond issuer for the proposed demolition and reconstruction of Hammond High School.

Voters approved a $110M referendum to finance the construction and other school improvements in November, 2017. Since the March 20 meeting, the Gazette has been working to get copies of contracts and correspondence related to the awarding of the contracts. In a filing with the Indiana Public Access Counselor, Emma Jay, attorney for the school board, described the contracts as “routine” and stated “no requirement that delibaration occur before final action being taken.” The Board argued that the use of a consent agenda was appropriate because the task of selecting the contractors was delegated to staff and Board members did not meet or interview prospective contract recipients:

The Gazette has now obtained copies of the contracts with Skilman Corp, the construction manager for the Hammond High School construction and Schmidt Associates, the architect for the Hammond High School construction. The cost of these contracts are $1,998,000.00 for the Skilman Contract (see page 21 of the Skilman contract, below) and a fee based on construction cost of at least $4,000,000.00 for Schmidt Associates to act as architect (see page 52 of the Schmidt Contract below). It should be noted that the Schmidt Associates contract is dated February 7, 2018-over a month before the approval of the contracts-and it lists Skilman Corp. as the construction manager for the project. Thus, it appears that Schmidt was fairly confident that Skilman Corp. would be given the no-bid $2M contract long before the Board took action.

The Gazette is awaiting responses to public record requests seeking correspondence relating to the contracts as well as the contract for the bond issuer which were approved at the March 20, 2018 meeting.

Final Skillman Contract
20180314_B132_pb_hammond - Final complete ns

1 Comment

  1. A shell game. If you want transparency and accountability, you need to vote in 3 new members on the school board this year.

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  1. Hammond School Board Refuses to Release Information Regarding Awarding of No Bid Contracts - The Northwest Indiana Gazette

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