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Meridien, CT Mayor Breaks 6-6 Tie, Votes in Favor of $220 Million Project Labor Agreement

In Meriden, Connecticut, the months-long debate about whether or not to use a Project Labor Agreement on the proposed $220 million renovations of Maloney and Platt High Schools has finally come to an end. Mayor Michael S. Rohde was thrust into the unusual role of tie-breaker on Monday night nudging a deadlocked Meridien City Council to a 7-6 decision in favor of the PLA.

Last week, Rohde pledged to support the PLA, which will set wage, safety, diversity and local hiring standards, if put in such a position.

The Record-Journal supplies background on the internal council wrangling:

Councilor Brian P. Daniels has been a firm supporter of the PLA for the projects, but his proposal drew heavy criticism. Brunet was the first to speak against it, noting that this version of the amendment had been reviewed earlier neither by the full council nor by Kendzior. Daniels was critical of Brunet earlier this month for proposing amendments at a City Council meeting that had not been discussed before.

Councilor Kevin Scarpati followed with an amendment to Daniels’ amendment. His proposal was to put the pieces of the high school projects out to bid both through the PLA and without the PLA. The results, Scarpati said, would show which method would be cheaper for the city.

Daniels responded that Scarpati’s amendment made “no sense,” before Councilor Steven J. Iovanna made a case in favor of it.

“What Councilor Scarpati proposed is actually done quite often on federal projects,” he said. “It would basically bid the project both ways.”

Iovanna added that the city has already hired construction managers at risk, architects and engineers to oversee the projects to ensure that they come in on time and on budget. The construction managers would be at fault if the provisions were not met. One of the highlights of the PLA would be to ensure that the projects are finished on time and on budget. The city is also set to hire program managers to oversee the projects.

The Daniels amendment eventually won the day.


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