The municipality is considering using Carson Dorn, Inc. for oversight during the construction of Water Well #4 despite recent fractures in their relationship.
Last year, the municipality declined to use Carson Dorn, Inc. in this capacity after the engineering firm had signed a contract with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority despite ongoing tensions over the contamination in the ore basin.
“I still do have an issue with them putting themselves into a conflict with us, and I think there should be some very strong language put into any agreement we make with them to make it very clear that [they] don’t start working for someone else that we’re adversarial with,” Mayor Mark Schaefer said. “That’s just wrong.”
Despite any misgivings over the apparent conflict of interest, Skagway Borough Manager Scott Hahn felt the best course of action would be to move forward with Carson Dorn, Inc.
“It seems to me that we’ve either backed off or at least softened on that position,” Hahn said. “However there is a huge value to having Carson Dorn help us with this certain project because they designed it all prior to this perceived conflict of interest.”
The municipality hired the engineering firm to plan and design the water well back in 2014. While they are currently still engaged in a contract with the municipality, it expires once the project goes to bid for the construction of the well.
“Having an engineer available during the actual construction is very important and we do not have that lined out,” Hahn said.
Hahn argued that finding a new engineering firm to oversee the construction would be counter-intuitive, especially when Carson Dorn, Inc. has been involved with the project from the beginning.
“They’re uniquely qualified to do this because they designed the thing and I’d hate to go out and get another engineer who comes in and doesn’t understand the issue,” Hahn said. “It would be very difficult to get the project done.”