October 21, 2016 Sandy Robson
This post is a follow-up to my October 12, 2016 article posted on the Noisy Waters blog. In the article, I mentioned an April 15, 2016 email and letter from Project Manager Craig Lenhart of CH2M Hill, the consultant preparing the presently-suspended EIS for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) project, and Parametrix’s Jenifer Young, sent to Whatcom County Deputy Executive Tyler Schroeder.
The communication referenced the then-unbilled costs incurred on the GPT project as of the EIS contract suspension date (April 1, 2016). It was stated in the letter that an accounting of project expenditures through April 1st shows that the Amendment 5 budget had been exceeded by approximately $307,411, and that based on discussions with Whatcom County and the applicants, CH2M Hill was expecting to recover this overage when Amendment 6 would be executed. Amendment 6 was never executed.
Also, mentioned in my October 12th article was an August 26, 2016 email communication from CH2M Hill’s Craig Lenhart, sent to Deputy Executive Schroeder, that included an invoice for $313,000 that its company asserts it is owed by GPT applicant Pacific International Terminals (PIT), for work done on the EIS.
I had sent Tyler Schroeder an October 10th email, asking him five questions relating to the issue of the outstanding balance due of $313,000 which CH2M Hill says is owed its company by PIT, and also about PIT’s request to Whatcom County that it require CH2M Hill have an “independent audit of the hours and costs to prepare the EIS to date performed at no cost to Whatcom County or the project proponents.” That request was in a May 3, 2016 email from PIT’s Bob Watters, to Deputy Executive Schroeder.
One of the things I wanted to know from Schroeder was whether the issue of the outstanding balance of $313,000 was resolved or not at the time County Council was voting on September 13th on whether to approve the GPT EIS 6-month contract suspension Amendment 5.1.
I finally received a reply to my October 10th email from Schroeder on October 19th, and his answer to that question was: “CH2M had informed the company, PIT, of the additional expenditures, and the company had not agreed to pay them.”
[Below is a copy of Sandy’s October 10, 2016 email to Whatcom County Deputy Executive Tyler Schroeder with his answers to her questions indicated in red]
It seems questionable, at the very least, that Deputy Executive Schroeder, during his presentation and question and answer time with Council at the September 13th Council Finance and Admin. Services Committee meeting, did not inform Council members about what appears to be a contract dispute between CH2M Hill and PIT, prior to Council’s vote on the then-proposed contract Amendment 5.1.
Adding severity to the questionable nature of Schroeder’s failure to disclose that pertinent information to Council and to the public, is the fact that there were specific questions from Council member Ken Mann, asking Schroeder why CH2M Hill had not provided to the County, the writings, programs, data, etc., for the eleven EIS reports that they’ve completed thus far; and asked him if there had been any indication from CH2M Hill that they didn’t want to provide any of that information. Schroeder’s answers to Mann’s questions were vague, as he did not really answer those directly and specifically.
Also, in Schroeder’s answers he provided me, he responded to my request once again (in my October 10th email), that the County post all 2016 GPT correspondence on its GPT webpage, since, to date, this has not been done fully after multiple requests by multiple people since late July 2016. His response:
“Thank you for your request, the County will consider it.”
–Attached, are screenshot photos of my recent email communications with Whatcom County Deputy Executive Tyler Schroeder. I had to take two separate screenshots of the email which contained Schroeder’s responses (in red) to my questions in my October 10th email, as I couldn’t fit it into one screenshot.
In case you missed my article from last week, the link to it is: https://noisywatersnw.com/…/gpt-eis-contract-q-a-between-…/…