Highland Park’s new mayor Joel Williams took office Wednesday afternoon. Less than a day later, he presided over a council worksession that essentially fired the general contractor for the town’s DPS/town hall renovation.
A busy 16 hours.
After proposed costs for the project came in nearly 25 percent over budget two weeks ago, councilmembers rejected the submitted bids, and called for a worksession to determine how to lower the cost. During Thursday’s session, Williams asked Von Gallagher, of Gallagher Construction, and architects Robert Garza and Larry Boerder to leave the room. For the next three hours, councilmembers brainstormed and pitched ways to bring down the cost.
In the end, they came up with one solution: fire Gallagher. Though the council couldn’t vote — that would have to wait for a formal council meeting — nearly all members expressed dissatisfaction with Gallagher, who was in charge of the bids.
“I’d just have more confidence in a new team,” Williams said. “And that’s meant with absolutely no disrespect to the professionals we’ve worked with to date.”
On Tuesday, councilmembers will meet again, to put into the record more concrete plans for cost reduction. Check out next week’s Park Cities People for more, up-to-date info.