Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Proposed Manager Offers Assurances to MAPS Board

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Proposed Manager Offers Assurances to MAPS Board

Article excerpt

The Dallas firm negotiating for the right to oversee MAPS offered its assurances Thursday that it would not practice "voodoo construction management," but would ensure Oklahoma City gets the most possible out of the $311 million projects.

Officials with Huber, Hunt & Nichols told members of the Metropolitan Area Projects Oversight Board that it hoped to conclude its contract talks within 30 days, promising a "detailed, hands-on approach" to managing MAPS.

"When we get involved, it will be our job to make sure that every dollar that is spent is spent appropriately," said Monte Thurmond, the Huber official tapped to oversee MAPS for the firm, "and we will get in the middle of things to make sure timely decisions are made, the budgets are correct and we will be your eyes and ears." Thurmond, under questioning from several MAPS board members, said the company would expect to have "management authority," but couldn't pin down exactly what kind of authority that would be. "We can't overstep the law or the other boundaries that have been set down by this board or the council and staff," he said, "but we will not be just another consultant. We will maintain our independence." Another Huber official, Vice President Mark LaVoy, offered his own reassurances that the firm's participation will increase the "cost efficiency" of MAPS. He said Huber officials will keep everyone informed of MAPS progress, or the lack of it. "These people are pros," LaVoy said of his staff. "And we are very big on communications. But the key word in all of this is `management.' We're here to be accountable, but we're here to take the ball and run with it and get these projects built." Huber, Hunt & Nichols was selected in July to become the city's construction manager, a move made necessary by a recent report from City Manager Don Bown admitting his MAPS management structure had gone "awry." Bown spread the blame for the mismanagement among the mayor, the Oklahoma City Council and almost everyone else participating in MAPS, including the media. "Bickering among the participants, either publicly or privately, ultimately caused indecision and the appearance that MAPS was adrift," Bown wrote. …

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