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Stringer won’t O.K. East Side coastal resiliency work contract, citing M/WBE hiring violation

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Return to sender — from Stringer.

Comptroller Scott Stringer thinks a nearly $1.3 billion contract from IPC Resiliency Partners for work on East River Park needs work — so he has sent it back to the Department of Design and Construction.

Hazel Crampton-Hays, the comptroller’s press secretary, said the contract has been returned due to “outstanding issues.”

“As is the case with every contract,” she said, “the Comptroller’s Office has conducted a thorough review and engaged with the City through a series of questions and answers to determine compliance with all applicable rules and regulations pertaining to this $1.2 billion contract. Since we were unable to resolve all of our questions within the 30-day review period, our office has returned the contract to D.D.C. to allow them additional time to address the outstanding issues.”

IPC was the lower of two bidders for the East River Park part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, which is backed by Mayor de Blasio and the City Council.

The Village Sun has learned that Stringer had two specific issues with the contract.

First, D.D.C. reportedly has not ensured that all of the companies comprising IPC, which is a joint venture, have filed all of the required disclosures in the city’s PASSPort system, as required by the Procurement Policy Board rules and the New York City Administrative Code.

Second, D.D.C. reportedly set a 16 percent Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) utilization goal for the $1.27 billion contract — despite the city’s publicly stated goal of 30 percent M/WBE utilization for city procurement under Local Law 1 — with D.D.C. stating that this was the maximum percentage of the contract that could be subcontracted. However, IPC itself reportedly indicated that 32 percent of the total work could be subcontracted. The Comptroller’s Office is asking why D.D.C. has not adjusted the M/WBE goal to be higher.

Christopher Marte called on Scott Stringer to “throw away the pen and save the trees, save the people.” (Photo by Kirsten Theodos)

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, park activists rallied outside the Municipal Building, hard by the Brooklyn Bridge, hoping Stringer would hear their plea. They called on him not to sign off on the contract for the resiliency megaproject, which would bury the beloved East Side park under tons of landfill to raise it up to 10 feet and close it in sections for a few years, if not longer.

“Don’t sign it, Scott! Why not? It’s murder!” they chanted, and “Don’t kill the trees!”

Christopher Marte, the Democratic nominee for Lower Manhattan’s City Council District 1, urged Stringer, “Throw away the pen! Save the trees, save the planet and save the people!”

Did Stringer hear them? It’s not immediately clear. However, he did, in fact, do what they asked — refrain from signing the contract.

If Stringer eventually does O.K. the document and a “notice to proceed” is then issued, IPC could begin prep work for the demolition of East River Park — including cutting down almost 1,000 mature trees — in order to build a giant levee over the 46-acre site.

Tommy Loeb, a member of East River Park ACTION, said it’s great that the comptroller held off, for now, on approving the contract but that, clearly, it’s not necessarily the end of the story.

“We’re just happy now that we got to this point and there’s a delay,” he said.

Loeb noted that D.D.C. recently released another couple hundred pages that were previously redacted of the Value Engineering Study, which compared the current E.S.C.R. project to an earlier design. The earlier version, which had community buy-in, would not bury and raise the park.

Loeb said the E.S.C.R. opponents are now busy sifting through these newly released pages for any evidence to help their case. Speaking of which, the opponents have a court date in September for their legal appeal against the resiliency project.

6 Comments

  1. Frances Frances July 29, 2021

    The problem with the MWBE program at City Hall is it’s currently run by Magalie Austin. With no prior experience in anything, but her hubby donated $ to de Blasio, she got herself a job at DDC and since nobody else wanted the job working for de Blasio’s MWBE division, she got the gig.

  2. Andreww Andreww July 29, 2021

    Now is the time to get specific on the actual hourly pay for jobs utilized on these projects. Here’s what I mean: How much an hour do the operators of the pile drivers get? Gross and net. How many are from the community? Do you know the next question I’m going to ask?
    Hint: I know a few minority folks in the community and I bet that I — me, personally — could teach them to run a pile driver, especially if at the end of the day they stood to make $120 per hour, +/-.

  3. elizabeth gaynor elizabeth gaynor July 29, 2021

    1,000 trees are important to save. most enviro-savvy urban centers are madly planting trees for CO2 absorption, shade/cooler temp & aiming to become “sponge cities” where large swaths of land will absorb storm surges. NYC is doing the opposite = planning to downsize our park, as well as tearing out grass plots in playgrounds & playing fields & replacing w/ synthetic turf all over town.

    East River Park has about 10 ball fields that are grass, plus multiple gardens & planted areas. these are essential to all ages in our community for recreation & outdoor Covid-avoidance AND they act as natural sponges for storm surges. (NYC has recently redone our soccer pitch in synthetic grass – at great expense – so it’s no longer absorbent!).

    can’t we put our city on the right side of accommodating & ameliorating climate change, instead of making life worse in multiple ways for those adjacent to our 58-acre park: financial district, LES, NYCHA houses, alphabet city, east village, stuytown & peter cooper village?

    • JS JS July 29, 2021

      It is shameful that Councilmember Rivera refuses to listen to her constituents in the community and is supporting the total destruction of the East River Park when there are alternative methods to save the park from storm surges.

  4. Deborah Deborah July 30, 2021

    Almost never mentioned is the fact, pointed out in the Deltares Report commissioned be Gale Brewer and Carlina Rivera, that ESCR will almost certainly need a “re-do” after only a few decades. Yes, once the new trees actually reach a size to provide shade, projected (and accelerating) sea level rises would mean more height is necessary and the whole “new” park will need to be bulldozed AGAIN. This is beyond insane. There are environmentally responsible alternatives to to ESCR. ESCR is a pure boondoggle that will inflict health, equity and environmental harms for generations to come!

  5. Terry Katz Terry Katz August 2, 2021

    Rivera puts bridge and tunnel people first, her constituents, second. Years of reviews and approvals created a storm plan that would have preserved the trees for Rivera’s constituents who live in New York but would have inconvenienced bridge and tunnel addicts zipping along the FDR Drive. Bridge and tunnel trash de Blasio, who hates New York, favors the addicts, and Rivera, a party hack, followed along. So years of work spent on planning has been thrown out and the trees will be chopped down.

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