The following letter is from Mayor Mary Ann Lutz:
We were informed by City Staff during the Council meeting last night that approximately $650,000 in change orders for construction work on Station Square was somehow authorized and went forward last year without first getting City Council approval.
All of the changes had been discussed with the Council in general terms and had received the Council's okay, but were never brought back for approval of the actual expenditures. The $650,000 is covered in the project's budget, with another $751,445 remaining in unallocated funds.
That this happened during a time of major staff cutbacks and changes in management is no excuse. The Council will be meeting again Friday in a special session to receive a report from Staff on how this unacceptable oversight occurred.
As this is the last week before the Mayoral and City Council elections, we can expect a good deal of political rhetoric surrounding this situation. Please do not rush to judgment.
I am the Mayor. This happened on my watch, and I accept my share of the responsibility. My opponent Council Member Adams, who has direct oversight responsibility for Public Works, was also surprised by this disclosure. We share both the blame and the responsibility to find out exactly what happened and to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Mayor Mary Ann Lutz
- Brad Haugaard