Several Hoboken elected officials criticized T&M Associates, the Washington Street redevelopment contractor, for billing the city an additional $230,000 to complete the large-scale project at last night’s city council meeting.
In addition, the rehabilitation will not be completed until the first quarter of 2019, rather than the originally projected date of late August.
Hoboken 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo was particularly irate at T&M Associates, going as far as to say that the company “is insane” to expect that the city will have to pay additional money for them to complete the work.
“You have failed to this point. Do you honestly think that the city of Hoboken and the taxpayers should be on the hook for that money?,” Russo asked Don Dizuzio, the operations manager for T&M Associates.
Dizuzio tried to provide an answer, but Russo immediately cut him off.
“You received to date $2.4 million [for the project] and you think that the city of Hoboken should give you an additional $230,000 for what you did to this point. I think you are insane. I think you should put your head between your tails and walk out that door, and take the roughly $2.1 million and be thankful for it,” Russo exclaimed.
Then Russo, followed by Councilmembers Tiffanie Fisher and Peter Cunningham, asked Dizuzio and his colleague, Peter Bondar, the principal engineer and project manager for the Washington Street project, why didn’t the company inform the council about the latest perils with the paving.
At first Dizuzio seemed content to sidestep the question, but Cunningham pressed him for a clear cut answer.
“Did we know that the contractor [Underground Utilities Corporation] wasn’t going to finish on time, based on his performance, yes we did know,” Dizuzio admitted.
Russo quickly responded, “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“Again, we don’t dictate the contractor’s schedule,” Dizuzio responded.
Russo suggested removing the resolution to award an additional $230,000 to T&M Associates from the agenda, but eventually the council voted to approve the latest bill, with 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco (who voted by phone), Cunningham and Russo voting no.
Dizuzio and Bondar declined to be interviewed by Hudson County View after the vote, claiming they had an agreement with Business Administrator Stephen Marks not to take questions from the media.
The over 40-minute discussion on Washington Street, which streamed live on our Facebook page, can be seen below: