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Sea Wall Change Order At TR Park Questioned

When is a change order not a change order nor a sea wall a wall?

The Town of Oyster Bay is in Phase I of the process of renovating the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park although it recently jumped the gun and proceeded to do a project planned for Phase II, without going to bid. According to Town Councilman Anthony Macagnone, the $600,000 change order for work done on the Sea Wall recently, should have been sent out to bid. Phase II was expected to be included in the town budget in October and then sent out to bid and paid for with the funds for the project available in 2013.

At the May 15 Oyster Bay Town Board meeting Paul Leo, a representative of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters questioned the town on a change order for Resolution 471 as the board was preparing to vote on it. Resolution 471 states, “Resolution pertaining to Changer Order No. 1. for Contract No. DP11-059, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park Seawall Rehabilitation – Construction Phase.” Mr. Leo said it was for more than half a million — $600,000. He said the contractor was the low bidder and he asked because of the magnitude of the change amount, “Did they miss something in the bid specifications?” He said that change orders of $30,000 or $40,000 was one thing but $600,000 was not a change order.

The town press office said later in relation to when they have to go out to bid, that any project/service over $20,000 has to go out to bid.

The change order for the Sea Wall was for $600,000 but did not go out to bid.

At the meeting, Deputy Supervisor Len Gennaro said the decision on the change order was made in a committee meeting with the consulting engineer in the town attorney’s office. He said he was very confident that it was correctly submitted as a resolution for a change order and said the company that did the work was entitled to payment – Woodstock Contracting.

Councilman Macagnone commented on Resolution 741 saying that he had received no paperwork on the resolution although he had requested it. Town board positions are considered part time and Mr. Macagnone is the team leader of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters.

Supervisor Venditto interrupted and said, “I want to be sure he earned the money.” Mr. Venditto slammed his hand down on the table hard, and added, “The resolution is tabled so that Anthony Macagnone gets a satisfactory change order.” He said it would be on the calendar for the next board meeting, and that Mr. Macagnone was his friend and he respected his judgment.

Mr. Leo responded by saying he wanted to be sure there were no improprieties.

Mr. Venditto answered that Mr. Macagnone would fairly decide on the merits of the change order and that it would be on the calendar for the next board meeting.

The resolution was actually on the July 10 meeting [skipping June 5 and 19]. At that meeting the resolution passed with six votes with Mr. Macagnone voting “No.” Although at first request, Mr. Macagnone said “No comment,” after pursuing the matter with him in a telephone interview on Friday, July 13, he said, “In my opinion it should have gone out for bid.”

The town for its part claimed that doing the work as they had saved the town $50,000 although since there was no bid on the work, it is hard to understand how that number could be arrived at.

Town Responds

The town responded to several questions about change orders saying that any project/service over $20,000 has to go out to bid.

The town spokesperson said there was no maximum or minimum amount of money when it comes to adding change-order work. She added, “All change-order work must be proposed by the contractor and consultant and approved by the town board.”

The town spokesperson said there were 11 other bidders on the Sea Wall contract. The specifications were done by LiRo Engineering, Inc.

The town spokesperson said the pavers were part of the original plan, but they were going to be installed under Phase II, not under the contract for the sea wall. When it came time to restore the area behind the wall to its original state (which was an asphalt walkway), the town was left with a choice. “We could either put back an asphalt walkway only to rip it out three months later upon the design completion of the Phase II of the project or we could complete a portion of Phase II early and not waste money putting down something temporary,” she said.

She added that, “ Phase II involves putting pavers in the place of the asphalt walkways throughout the memorial area of the park, including the walkway following the seawall. By doing this as a change-order, the town was able to open up the sea wall area to the public early, save money by not putting down asphalt that would have to be ripped up in a few short months, and complete a portion of Phase II early.”

When asked when is a change order is not a change order she answered that, “Sometimes, instead of a change-order, there may be what is known as an ‘increase in quantities.’ These increases aren’t seen as change-orders because the work being performed has already been itemized and its price has been set by the original contract that was awarded. For instance, if there is an item in the original contract for the contractor to lay pipe and the quantity during construction has been exceeded, an “increase in quantity” would be issued as opposed to a change-order. Change-orders are reserved for instances when no such item exists in the original contract that the contractor can work off.”

Sea Wall Shrinks

On a visit to TR Park to see the sea wall, it appears to have shrunk. The sea wall – a safety barrier – is now half its original height. On seeing a photograph of the new Sea Wall Councilman Macagnone said, “That looks low. Here is the NY State guidelines for deck railings.

“§RR316.1 Guards required. Porches, balconies or raised floor surfaces located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 36 inches(914 mm) in height.”

Mr. Macagnone said he will look into the issue.

The sea wall project was built by Andrew Woodstock Construction Company. The original contract was for $1.4 million.

Refurbishing The Park

The Town of Oyster Bay has been working on the refurbishing of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park for several years. The plan was revealed to the general public at the Oyster Bay Civic Association (OBCA) meeting on March 22. They are the group that brought up the desperate state of the park and championed its renovation, for many years.

Rob Brusca, OBCA counsel made the presentation to the club members. His report was about a meeting held by the town for officers of stakeholder groups in the hamlet including the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce; the Main Street Association; the Oyster Bay Historical Society; Friends of the Bay, the East Norwich Civic Association and OBCA representatives and others including the companies who did the work, as well as several town staff members.

The town has its TR Park project all planned – with Phase I, the sports area renovation completed; the representatives were told that next they will be proceeding to the memorial areas in the park. The TR Memorial stone garden will be renovated – with plaques for identification. The stones come from each place TR lived, and/or worked. The fountain area with the eagles will also be restored. More trees will be added to form a link to the allee of trees at the current Maxwell Avenue entrance, from a proposed new entrance to the park, located at the end of Audrey Avenue in the area of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. [See the story on moving the entrance of the park in this issue.]

Mr. Brusca had a map of the park indicating the areas where work is proposed. The town is adding a second floor to an existing building by the marina for the Department of Public Safety. They are adding a park manager’s office and storage area building to the left of the Larrabee Avenue entrance. They are putting a rest room facility where the former maintenance building was located by the marina (it burned down); and a storage facility at the northeast corner of the boat basin parking lot, adjacent to the Sagamore Yacht Club.

Earlier this year the town sent the Enterprise Pilot a rundown of the work at TR Park. There is a new timeline of the work which was not available as we went to press.

Phase I was the renovation of the new parking areas and the sports area of the park that are accessible through the Larrabee Avenue entrance.

The original time line for Phase II – Included improvements to the memorial area, [which is accessed at the Maxwell Avenue spur entrance] which has several components:

 • The sea wall (In April-May 2011, minor repairs were performed on the sea wall to shore up one section. It was not in danger of collapse, but was done as a precaution. In the fall of 2011, a bid for major rebuilding of the seawall was awarded [to Woodstock Construction] and work began the early fall so it would not be in progress during the busy summer season. The stones in the seawall that came from the excavation for the New York City subway will be incorporated into the new seawall façade. Work was completed during spring 2012.

• The site work, which will include walkways, landscaping, new façades for the restroom buildings, lifeguard station, the concession and the building that will serve as the park office – with spring 2012 as the target date for that project to start. [This site work appears to be stalled.]

The original time line set Phase III as work on Fireman’s Field; no start date has been determined, as yet, although it is being targeted for 2013.