BY JIM DOOLEY
The state’s public housing agency has failed again in its efforts to fix the hot water shortage at Mayor Wright Homes.
For the third time in two weeks, the state procurement office has denied a request from the Hawaii Public Housing Authority for expedited repairs at the low income housing project.
Some residents have been complaining for years that their units are without hot water for extended periods of time.
The housing agency said it was working on a long-term overhaul of the solar heating system and electrical back-up equipment that provides hot water during cloudy weather. The HPHA also said it didn’t have the money for an immediate fix-up.
But when residents staged public protests and threatened lawsuits in recent weeks, the agency said it was deferring repairs at other projects to finance nearly $1 million in emergency work at the 35-building project off Pua Lane in the Liliha area of Honolulu.
Chief procurement officer Aaron Fujioka then disapproved the agency’s “emergency” procurement request for a $798,000 non-bid contract award to The Gas Company.
“The emergency procurement process is not to be used to rectify a situation that was preventable and caused by bad management,” Fujioka ruled last week.
HPHA has “long been aware of” deteriorated solar panels and water tanks at Mayor Wright but failed to fix the problem, Fujioka said.
“This situation is a consequence of poor management and lack of proper timely response,” said Fujoka.
He advised the agency to seek an expedited exemption from normal procurement procedures, but warned that HPHA needed to demonstrate that it wasn’t overpaying for the work.
Housing officials then submitted a new request that Fujioka promptly disapproved, ruling that the agency hadn’t shown that it had sought competing price quotes from other firms.
An amended request was prepared, but Fujioka rejected it Wednesday, saying that HPHA did not provide “any additional information on whether other prospective vendors were contacted.”
HPHA also failed to show “whether the Gas Company is the only vendor” capable of doing the work or whether the company would be subcontracting repair work to other companies.
Finally a public servant with the cajones to make a stand against percieved corruption. I laud Mr Fujoka for drawing a line in the sand. those who are used to gaming the system must be surprised…in fact i know they are, what an inept attempt at making a second pass at getting such a ridiculous contract for these repairs. I appreciate the reporter getting a second look at this mess and encourage him to stay on it. I would need to see the specifications of the bid, but if the goal is to get hot water to 50 or 60 units on a short term fix basis i can guarantee you it can be done for less, a lot less. put it out to bid, advertise it well and in this down economy you will have plumbers from all islands scrambling for the work.
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