Letter: Building committee should heed audit warnings

To the Editor:

I just read the Forensic Audit (the Audit) of the Trumbull High School Like New Renovation dated March 31, 2014. The audit is available on the town website.

The Audit contains many recommendations that apply to new construction like the construction of a new senior/community center building that is now being planned. I urge all Trumbull Town Council and Senior/Community Center & Library Study and Building Committee members to read the audit to ensure that the recommendations are applied.

According to the Audit, the first step taken in the high school renovation was a

feasibility study to examine the options of renovating the high school versus building a new one. Why wasn’t a similar study done to compare renovating the existing Senior Center versus building a new one?

Problems cited in the Audit that are potential problems for the current building

committee include:

  • Turnover of the building committee membership, which caused gaps and losses in knowledge transference, resulting in delays, communication problems, and possible cost overruns. The current committee is being called a “study and planning committee” with claims that a “building committee” will be formed later. This would be a mistake, and the Audit specifically warns against doing that.

  • Ineffective communication between the building committee and the Town Council, even though some Council members also sat on the building committee. The Council was often in the dark on design and construction issues. The current building committee, which also includes Town Council members, has not made required quarterly reports to the Council, so it is not off to a good start and things could only get worse as the project progresses. The Audit recommended determining why the communication problems existed, but it appears that they are happening again.

  • Lack of construction background of building committee members. The Audit recommends that members without a construction background be given educational sessions to alleviate the significant learning curve. The current building committee members are beginning to experience the steep learning curve, as they had many questions about the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for architectural services. Questions included why the proposed RFQ was for “on call” services rather than for a specific task as well as the process

involved in preparing and issuing the RFQ. The educational sessions recommended in the Audit appear not to have taken place, and the current building committee members are at a disadvantage in understanding the process and what needs to be done now.  

Cindy Katske