Linear Park bid selected |

Linear Park bid selected

Michael Schneider

Amid controversy and allegations of willful underpaying of employees, a contract to construct the U.S. Highway 50 Linear Park Project has been awarded.

G.B. Construction, of South Lake Tahoe, will build the park that will front U.S. Highway 50’s lake side between the Park Avenue area Shell Gas Station and the Ski Run McDonald’s.

G.B’s bid of $613,000 was approximately $25,000 less than the next bid offered by C.B. Ebright Co., Inc.

Ebright’s legal representative, South Lake Tahoe attorney Dale Sare, told the council his client was not protesting the staff recommendation to accept G.B.’s bid without cause.

Sare quoted an audit performed on G.B. by Steve Kooyman, associate civil engineer for the city, which stated G.B. failed to pay six of its 10 workers prevailing wages for a recent Ski Run project. To obtain a governmental contract in California, contractors must pay a certain wage – termed a prevailing wage – to their firm’s employees.

According to Mike Atwell, El Dorado County deputy district attorney, the county is considering legal action against G.B.

“We’re investigating the matter and trying to make a decision,” Atwell said. “Right now, we don’t know when we’ll make that decision.”

Furthermore, Kooyman stated in his audit that the actions were willful on the part of G.B. According to staff reports, Kooyman brought the shortcomings to G.B.’s attention and the firm paid what was owed to its employees.

“It’s hard to compete when the other competitors are not playing by the rules,” Sare said, informing the council G.B. receives city projects because the construction firm cheats.

Dave Galicia, general partner for G.B., said he was not at the council meeting and did not want to respond to Sare’s allegations because he did not understand the full context of the allegations.

“I’ll take responsibility for the success and failures of my business,” he said. “Whether it’s my fault or a mistake of my employees.”

Total costs for the project are estimated at just under $800,000.

The funds for the project will come predominantly from a grant from the California Tahoe Conservancy. The remaining $50,000 will come from the South Tahoe Public Utility District for a water line serving the park.

According to Chuck Taylor, associate civil engineer, construction will be divided into two phases.

The first phase is scheduled this fall and will include new fencing along Tahoe Meadows as well as the driveway to the subdivision.

The remainder of the project includes a bike and pedestrian path, historical plaque and other park amenities that are slated for construction next May.

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