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September 12, 2010


Who was the mayor talking about?

by Deena Winter

I found the mayor’s recent guest column in the Journal Star to be more intriguing than enlightening. Mayor Chris Beutler wrote about how he is resisting pressure to put representatives of certain “constituent groups” and “citizens without expertise” on the selection committee that will help select the arena construction manager. He basically wrote that he won’t do it. But the column raises more questions than answers: Who are these groups and citizens? (Although I’d wager we could all figure it out.) The selection committee was named a long time ago, so how could they presume to have the power to be added now? Although I question the “expertise” of some of the people on the committee (a mayoral aide? a City Council member? Really?). And what the mayor didn’t mention is that he has the ultimate say in which company wins the bid to build the $168 million arena. And how much expertise does he have in such matters? Just sayin.

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Ed Patterson
    Sep 16 2010

    No comment? It’s not that management and oversight of the largest public works project ever undertaken by the City of Lincoln does not deserve public scrutiny, rather:
    • It is a complex, market driven process that people are for good reason used to leaving to the discipline of the market. Spend too much, or too little, or in the wrong place, and you lose money, your money and that of your investors, not that of the taxpayers.
    • The general public attempting to formulate a prediction of the performance of an individual selection for this committee is at least one very big step further removed from the audited action than a seat on the committee itself. Imagine if you will sitting at a meeting of the committee. Summary reports of design options, and bids for completion of the options, each of which may involved the work of several dozen subcontractors, are placed before you, minus the details. With an hour or two a month to spend on these duties, how can you even begin to comprehend the universe of possible contingencies, like for example, the vendor for the six hundred ground coupling wells on the HVAC for the new Lancaster County jail going bankrupt, mid construction?


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