The Oxnard City Council has delayed approving an $82,000 contract with a Los Angeles firm to inspect construction of the Colonia Gymnasium.
Council members made the decision at a meeting this week, after a retired Oxnard contractor questioned whether the firm was partly responsible for $277,810 in cost overruns at the new Oxnard library.
The contractor, Curt Davison, claimed that the Smith-Emery Co. was one of a number of consultants that failed to catch mistakes in the contract specifications for the library. Smith-Emery had a contract to inspect materials for the new library similar to the contract it is seeking for the gymnasium.
The main library contract was won by the J.R. Roberts Corp. with a low bid of $10.2 million, while other bids ranged as high as $11.9 million.
Waving a sheaf of change orders he had obtained from the city, Davison said that most of the changes could have been avoided with better supervision. As it was, the city paid over $1 million for plans and specifications, he said.
And if changes were still needed after a thorough review, he said, "the contractor and the architect should be forced to eat it."
But City Manager Vernon Hazen rejected the complaint, saying that the overruns were small for a project the size of the library.
The council, however, voted to delay awarding another contract to Smith-Emery until city staff could evaluate Davison's charges.