The III FFC hosted a news conference in Moline on August 29 to shed light on the consequences of hiring non-responsible contractors on public works projects.
In early June, several residents near the intersection of 47th Street and 28th Avenue were affected by sewage back-ups caused by a pipe burst. According to an investigation by the city of Moline, the back-ups were caused by the actions of a contractor, Legacy Corporation of IL, who was contracted to reconstruct 47th Street. The contractor has a history that is checkered with actions that question their commitment to quality and best practices within the construction industry.
Affected residents attempted to file insurance claims through the contractor’s insurance, only to be met with denials. The dire situation forced one resident, Jasmine Lee, to spend nearly $26,000 in repairs. Jasmine spoke on her experience as a homeowner at the news conference, revealing that she became ill with two strains of E. coli after sewage filled her basement up to her shins. Many homeowners in the neighborhood had to replace carpet, doorframes, walls, and more.
During the news conference, III FFC’s Regional Manager, Andy Waeyaert, spoke on the importance of hiring responsible contractors from the get-go: “It’s unfortunate that residents must be impacted firsthand for the city to reconsider working with a non-responsible contractor. We are calling on Legacy Corporation to do the right thing and take responsibility for their actions.”
Informing public bodies of the importance of hiring responsible contractors is one of our main objectives at the III FFC. Public bodies undertaking a public works project should retain some discretion to award the project to the lowest “responsible bidder.” There are companies out there willing to do the work for bargain-basement prices, but they may not always deliver what they promise and may let your community down and cost more taxpayer dollars in the end.
The news conference yielded highly favorable results. The voices of impacted residents were heard and the public became aware of the incident. We hope the city of Moline will take this incident into consideration when awarding bids in the future, and that they will hire responsible contractors going forward.