County Commissioners want a say in future construction projects

Shelby County Commissioners are discussing ways to protect you and your money on future construction projects.

Wednesday's talks stem from the FedExForum project which was shadowed by controversy from groundbreaking to grand opening.

Some County Commissioners say they were left out of the loop during the construction of the FedEx Forum and other public projects in the county.

They spent the day putting together a plan to keep that from happening again.

The FedExForum Ad hoc Committee wants the full County Commission to adopt policies that would ensure that someone like an architect or a contract attorney would have to report back to them regularly throughout the construction of any publicly funded facility.

Commissioners say when the FedExForum was under construction there was very little communication between the parties involved and the County Commission.

They say this was also a problem during the construction of the Pyramid and the Cook Convention Center.

In the future, they want to be able to prevent general contractors from bullying the local subcontractors and in some cases withhold pay from local companies.

And they want any risk associated with delays or cost overruns to fall squarely on the professionals and not on the taxpayers.

"They expect accountability out of their government and its really hard to have it when you don't have a procedure in place to do things like this when you're talking about projects that are $250-$300 million projects. That's a ton of money in anyone's book," says Shelby County Commissioner Wyatt Bunker.

Part of the plan is to assign an oversight committee to keep a closer eye on the progress of future projects.

Bunker hopes that the city council will consider similar policies so that the two government bodies can work together to make sure future public projects aren't such a burden on the public that's been paying for them.


to email Anna Marie Hartman.